A report on Lomond and Helensburgh Network’s Arrochar Beachwatch Event – 14 Sep 2018
From what I understand there were 60 volunteers signed up and around 50 turned up, which our organiser (Helen Downie) was very proud of.
Together 20 of us carried out a beach survey for Marine Conservation Society (MCS) in a 100 yard stretch of Arrochar beach towards the river mouth whilst the others went for pure litter picking. After an hour of picking and gathering the litter data, our team went back to a nearby picnic table and recorded our results. At that point there were a fair number of bags collected. Our record sheets were collected and collated by Helen and people broke into smaller groups to pick more, have lunch or head back to their offices.
After a little break for lunch and getting to know some of the volunteers I paired up with a lady (Mari Cowan) and we headed further round the beach to collect more litter. We were surprised how much plastic was about in various sizes with the most abundant being small squares that had broken off a larger sheet or container.
Another disturbing realisation was how ingrained some of the debris was into the soil, vegetation, sand and water. We were told that Marine Scotland had had a volunteer day in May when they brought in huge diggers to scoop up a section of the beach in hopes of removing these harmful micro plastics from the sediment. It was sad to hear that it was almost as bad if not worse on the day I was up helping out.
I know this probably sounds bad, but due to the geography of Arrochar and the currents around the mouth of the Loch, it naturally acts like a giant sink; pulling huge amounts of marine litter and debris in from the Irish Sea and open oceans. Basically they need people to volunteer their time to keep the monumental piles of rubbish away. That’s why Marine Scotland and Marine Conservation Society are interested not just in cleaning up Arrochar but trying to document what gets washed up on the shores. Their hope is that with the evidence they collect, the findings will support policy and influence change on higher levels. For example how the word spread about plastic straws and cotton buds. Thanks to Blue Planet 2 it appears as though people are starting to take notice of the world around them and from what I see with some of the groups I’m connected to is that more and more people are getting interested and trying to help in whatever way they can.
That’s why I wanted to help out on the beach clean and why I am very excited for the community woodland litter pick up at our church on Sunday 30th September. Marjory, I think you and the Eco team are doing a marvellous job with the plants and clean ups and I hope I can help even if it is in a small way.
Could your church divest this Season of Creation?
As our scorching summer gradually begins to fade into autumn, Operation Noah is inviting local churches of all denominations to make divestment commitments during the Season of Creation (1 September – 4 October).
For churches without existing investments in fossil fuels, this would simply involve a pledge not to make such investments in the future.
By making a commitment to divest (disinvest) from fossil fuels, your local church can send a powerful message about the need for urgent action on climate change as well as keeping up the pressure for national Churches to divest.
If your church would like to join the divestment announcement at the end of the Season of Creation, please email email@example.com by 12 noon on Monday 1 October. We look forward to hearing from you!
Sālote is a short animated video from Operation Noah which aims to help Christians around the world recognise the human cost of climate change, and particularly its impact on women and children.
The video has been designed for Christians of all ages and developed in partnership with the World Day of Prayer, and introduces the viewer to Sālote, a seven-year-old Polynesian girl who is already experiencing the devastating effects of a changing climate in her South Pacific island home.
As Sālote witnesses the impacts of climate change on three generations of her family, she reflects aloud on what has caused this change.
The story is inspired by real-life accounts of present-day climate change impacts such as rising sea levels, which hit poor and vulnerable populations, living in sensitive parts of the world like low-lying islands, the hardest.
The full video can be watched on the Operation Noah website, with an activity pack and factsheet for church/home group: http://operationnoah.org/resources/salote/
Have you ever considered becoming an assessor for our new eco-awards? Perhaps you would like to join our volunteer team. Volunteer assessors work in pairs to read award applications, then visit a congregation to discuss the application in a friendly and supportive way. It’s a great way to find out what other eco-congregations are up to.
If you are interested, why not come along to a no-commitment award assessor training workshop to find out what is involved? The next workshop has been arranged for Wednesday 4th September, 7 – 9pm, in the Robertson Room, St. Anne’s Parish Church, Corstorphine, Edinburgh.
Places limited, so booking essential – please contact David Bethune, firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place.
Thinking of applying for an award?
Make sure you have the most up-to-date version of the application forms and supporting documents, uploaded to the website today.
We have made a few minor changes to the award criteria, to make them a little clearer for everyone.
Who will be next to apply for an award?