Working together for a sustainable future

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In a week that Greta Thunberg was sailing across the Atlantic to draw attention to reducing carbon emissions, the future of the planet was also under discussion at a more local level in Tayvallich.

The Sustainability Jam, on Saturday and Sunday August 17 and 18, was organised by Time for Change – an Argyll environmental conservation group formed by young people who want to make a difference in the face of climate change – and Make+Do design studio, also Argyll based, run by Keira Anderson and Nils Aksnes.

The purpose? To identify ways in which the community can become more sustainable.

To be successful, sustainability has to work environmentally, economically and socially, and this triangle was to the fore throughout the jam.

The programme included umbrella themes such as food, transport, waste, biodiversity, fashion, energy and tourism and identified common threads. Affordability, the ‘three Fs’ (fishing, farming, and forestry), public and private transport, and recycling were singled out as areas in which action could be taken. Tayvallich Village Hall was papered with a layer of colourful post-it notes as a few dozen eco-minded jammers from a wide age group expressed their thoughts.

Abigail Haworth of the Tayvallich Shop and Café gave an update on how her business is reducing its carbon footprint, such as by cutting down on single-use plastic, offering free refills of drinking water, selling loose fruit and vegetables and refilling customers’ containers with washing-up liquid and detergent.

Follow-up sessions on Sunday worked out solutions to some of the challenges identified. Through fun activities, including body-storming (a design technique that uses improvised artifacts and physical activities), model making and drawing, the participants came up with prototypes for sharing expertise on renewable energy, local food production and helping consumers choose sustainable products.

‘We were really pleased with the quality of thought, discussion and ideas that developed over the weekend’, said organisers Keira and Nils.

‘Beyond the ideas that were developed, it was our intention that people would feel they are not alone in trying to tackle these complex issues, that they might sharpen their skills in critical problem solving and that they feel ready to use skills practised at the jam to make a real difference in the future.’