COP 27 is happening this weekend and it got me thinking about ways to help, in my own small way to look after the great outdoors that we all love.
We work with some great brands like Paramo, Peak UK, Palm Equipment, Thule etc all of which are becoming more conscious of reducing waste, recycling and being ethical in their day to day business.
In our shop, we try to work along the same lines, so when kayaks arrive and are wrapped in bubble wrap and plastic, we reuse the bubble wrap for the shop which helps keep delivery costs down, cardboard boxes are also reused and then when they're done, they go in the Recycle Bin. Plastic etc can be reused locally in polytunnels and green houses.
When out on the water, like many of us, I keep an eye out for rubbish.
Years ago, I remember rescuing a gull which had got caught up in a plastic bag. Every time it tried to take off, it got pulled back by the weight of the water in the bag. If we hadn't noticed it, it would have died a slow, horrible death. Since then, I've always been passionate about keeping the waters clear of rubbish.
Making a difference, is a good feeling!
We also take part in organised beach cleans too.
It's amazing just how much rubbish ends up in the sea. We try and bring back what we can and dispose of it in the best way. The red plastic bucket I recently collected is now living a second life as a garden weed collector!
Sometimes, we find items that are just too big to retrieve in a kayak. In these cases, we can drag them above the waterline and then, Dougie, a local diver can collect them in his boat and bring them back to shore. A recent find of his along the coastline of the Sound of Jura was a huge fishing net, probably washed off the deck of a boat. How he managed to get such a huge find safely back to shore is mind boggling!
The net was shared amongst the locals and can be seen in many gardens supporting plants, one lady made a hammock and we even have some in the shop as part of our displays.
The Sound of Jura is right on my doorstep.
A stunning place to explore and enjoy the wildlife. It's a pretty special place, being designated one of only 140 Hope Spots which are ecologically unique areas of the ocean designated for protection under a global conservation campaign overseen by Mission Blue, a non-profit organization founded by marine biologist Sylvia Earle.
The Sound of Jura is home to a critically endangered species- the Flapper Skate, a large flat fish which can grow up to 3m long and weigh 200kg. Very little is known about the life of this creature and scientists are working hard to understand its life cycle and then be in a better position to protect it.
Skate eggs are known as “mermaids’ purses”. They are large, with a golden/black shell and four pointed ends. They often hide unnoticed within the plastic, but if people know to look for them, it can help to collect evidence of the species’ presence in different areas. So if you find a skate egg case aka Mermaid's Purse, if you can take a photo and note its whereabouts, then submit it on the Shark Trust website www.sharktrust.org this will help with the understanding of this elusive creature.
So this has been a bit of a ramble brought on by the impending COP27 meeting of world leaders but maybe the thing is, if we all do our own wee bit, to protect what we love, things will improve.
You have to start somewhere! :)