Culture

‘The Scottish Beacon’

By Bernie Bell

‘The Scottish Beacon’ is a collection of, and I quote……. ‘Articles from independently published public interest journalism platforms from across Scotland’, and is produced by Greater Govanhill CIC  free community magazine in Glasgow, who can be contacted via hello@greatergovanhill.com

It’s good to see so many independent publishers coming together, and I came across the ‘Beacon’ because our own Orkney News Editor, Fiona (G) has had an item published there about ‘Orkney at a Crossroads of Change’ – where Fiona tells it like it is – as usual! 

It’s a well put together publication with a great variety of subject matter, well written and illustrated – I particularly like Alistair Quietsch’s illustration of the earth in our hands, which is on the inside of the front cover.

I was interested to see a piece about the potential for damage to the land during the construction of a wind turbine, especially on peatlands, which reminded me of when I was told by someone, repeatedly, how “entirely wrong” I was about that subject!  She maintained that turbines are entirely beneficial, and do no harm in any way.  We didn’t agree to differ – I gave up trying to discuss it with her.  That doesn’t happen often, but sometimes it’s the only thing to do.

There’s a piece by Rahela Cirpaci, a Roma lady, about how the traditional way of life in her grandmother’s village in Western Romania was, and is, very environmentally sound.  A lot of echoes of my family’s way of life in Ireland until recent times – they were not at all what would be called environmentally aware, they just  knew what worked when working with nature  and the land. https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/06/25/talking-thatch/

I appreciate the use of an African proverb – “It is only once you have carried your own water that you know the value of it” – to illustrate how many of the nations and peoples least responsible for climate change will be those most affected by it.

And again, memories of when we visited my Aunt and Uncle at my Mother’s family farm when I was a child, and I’d be sent along the road to the spring well with a bucket for drinking water.

We’re one world and used to have, mostly, one way of living.

Bringing us a bit more up to date, in the item entitled ‘Top Tips On Reducing Your Plastic Use’ we are warned about the dangers of glitter to the environment. I suppose folk have always liked to adorn themselves with ‘glitter’ of one kind or another, but previously ‘glitter’ wasn’t made of plastic. I wasn’t aware that glitter is made from tiny plastic particles which can be lethal to life in the oceans.  To be honest – I never gave it a thought, as the use of glitter doesn’t play a large part in my life!  But it is used by a lot of people – and that’s the problem – we don’t stop and think about whether every little thing we use is made from plastic, and these days we have to…need to…MUST.

Apparently there are bio-degradable glitters available, as there are environmentally friendly alternatives to many things – if we think before we buy.

All in all there’s a lot there, in a slim volume.  Very much ‘Think globally.  Act locally.”

Fiona has distributed ‘The Scottish Beacon’ to Stromness Northlink, Orkney Library and Archive, the Isles ferry waiting rooms at Houton and Kirkwall, Lidl, the Tourist Office, and Orkney College.  Why not have a look for yourself?

 If ever we needed a beacon, we need one now.