- Volunteering with KSB and loving every minute
- We are all accountable for our actions
- Hillhead students talk keeping Kelvingrove Park beautiful
- Making it easy to choose a reusable cup for takeaway drinks
- Get to know...John MacLennan
- Get to know...Sandy Scott
- How Eco-Schools benefits pupils, teachers and communities
- Community gardening for climate, nature and heritage in Cumbernauld
- Tackling the litter emergency to protect our wild isles
- Get to know... Green Flag Award Judges
- Collaboration and innovation to tackle marine litter
- An introduction to Kinnesswood in Bloom...
- The litter emergency
- Our charity faces the environmental challenges ahead with optimism
- Wrapping up 2022
- Biodiversity - Reflections on COP15
- Small steps to protect biodiversity
- Why Mountains Matter
- It’s not just bees and butterflies on your flowers
- Wet Wipes - What's the Issue?
- Young Reporters on the Route: The Launch of Running Out of Time
- Getting to know... Tom Brock OBE
- Getting to know...Kyle Usher
- A busy day for Upstream Battle education
- Planning a Wedding with the Planet in Mind
- 'Disposable' vapes and the damage they cause
- Climate Emergency Training provides positive opportunities for young people
- Making climate action possible for everyone
- Reasons to be positive
- Shotts is ACTing NOW on climate change
- Hope is a Garden
- Do we need the word 'pests' anymore?
- Beautiful Scotland judging - the truth
- Supporting Scotland to be the very greenest destination it can be
- Arbroath - working together, inspiring local climate action and improving lives
- Reflections of a beach manager
- I do like to be beside the seaside
- Climate Action Schools - helping young people take action
- Inspiring and empowering young people
- Climate Ready Classrooms at George Heriot's
- Data drives decisions
- Litter, fines and doing time
- Why our Web Developer Cameron loves being part of Team KSB
- It's only one
- Why join the family of It’s Your Neighbourhood?
- YoungScot Legacy Event
- Why it is the sea and SDG 14 for me
- Litter picking - a surprisingly fun group activity
- Climate Action Skills and positive action for all
- Seeing community groups thrive with Beautiful Scotland and It's Your Neighbourhood
- (What to do on) a dreich morning on the Firth of Clyde
- West Lothian Litter Pickers – How I got involved
- Scotland’s Climate Festival – Seed funding for community action
- Climate Ready Classrooms at St. Paul’s RC High School
- Scottish Book Trust representative joins Pocket Garden judging panel
- Have #YourSayOnLitter - we plan to...
- Everyone has something to say about litter – time to make it count
- Who ya gonna call?
- Why I pick up other people's garbage.
- Getting to Know...Colin
- Creative Careers: Spotlight on Heritage #NoWrongPath
- Celebrating Scotland’s best managed green and blue spaces
- Taking small steps towards a more sustainable future
- Caring for our planet
- Football’s Power to Combat Climate Change
- Our work on the COP26 Youth Climate Programme
- What’s litter got to do with climate change?
- Scotland’s Climate Festival kicks off in Falkirk
- Responsible Tourism – an opportunity not to be missed
- Climate Change Vlog by Dalry Primary School
- Failing our future?
- Our Week of Climate Action
- #ScotClimateWeek - our impacts and actions
- Protecting the sand and sea
- Another fine mess – part one
- Designing a lower carbon Scotland
- Getting to know... Lisa Snedden
- Combating climate change with information, education and training
- Litter picking 500 miles was always Gonna Be easy
- 7K for 7 Flags Challenge
- Littering less at St Joseph's Primary School in Glasgow
- Smashing litter picking targets during an unexpected stay in Scotland
- Keeping our communities beautiful
- Celebrating our brilliant volunteers
- Designing a pocket garden
- Getting to know... Nicola Smith
- East Haven Together
- It’s time to litter-ly turn anger into action
- Working in partnership to give communities a helping hand to clean up Scotland
- Why Beautiful Scotland is important to Lauder in Bloom
- We can all be climate ready
- Climate Ready Classrooms at Speyside High School
- Taking part in It's Your Neighbourhood
- Bags of opportunity for good
- Getting to know... Eve Keepax
- Lucky to live here
- A year of opportunity ahead
With the 2023 Spring Clean Scotland campaign launching on 17 March, Laura Watson, our Campaigns Officer, shares why she left a career studying and protecting marine mammals to join Keep Scotland Beautiful and how much getting involved in Spring Clean matters.
Prior to joining Keep Scotland Beautiful in 2022 I spent the better part of the last decade travelling to various location across Britain and Europe for work. I spent my days on cliffs or boats with a pair of binoculars around my neck and an iPad in my hand. I was literally paid to spend the day at the beach or on the water looking for and studying marine life. It was the kind of life and work that many dream of but never live. So why did I leave?
Well, wherever I went the impact of humans was never far and for me litter is one of the most pervasive impacts of humans. It’s on our streets, our beaches and in our parks. If you climb a Munro, paddleboard a river or take a walk in the woods you will find it. For some they just need to look out their window. Each piece of litter is a sign that we are failing our country, our nature and ourselves by not looking after the place we call home. These days, despite the stunning views across our country, the fact is Scotland isn’t looking so beautiful. It pains me to admit that. I love this country. I love our cities and I love our wild places but the truth is we have a problem of our own making.
If you watched Planet Earth 2 or even the most recent episode of David Attenborough's Wild Isles then you witnessed the destruction that litter has had on nature. However, as a marine scientist my experience of the deadly consequences of litter hasn’t just been through a screen. I have witnessed the autopsy of giant whales washed up on a beach, their stomach full of plastic bags. I have seen animals lucky enough to be saved from entanglement and the bodies of those who weren’t. The impact of litter on nature has been devastating. Our impact.
That Orca who became entangled and washed up in Shetland - I had seen that very Orca with his pod just a few months before. In fact, his pod was the first wild Orca that I had ever seen. All these experiences, both first hand and through a screen, resulted in me stepping away from a life lived on the ocean towards a role where I could join a team whose one goal is to tackle this issue that can only be described as an emergency for both our society and nature.
I now find myself in a position to support and join the amazing individuals and groups across Scotland who all share one goal: to clean up Scotland. Many of these people will be taking part in Spring Clean Scotland which is a time where we ask people to do their part and tackle litter.
Naysayers will argue that one campaign and one month isn’t going to solve the issue and they are regrettably right. We didn’t wake up one day and suddenly have a litter emergency. Scotland has had this problem for a long time and it will take time to fix. Not just cleaning up the mess we are now in but also encouraging and maintaining behaviour change so that we keep moving forward toward a cleaner and healthier environment for everyone.
For some they won’t see this issue as their issue. They will point at groups, organisations, businesses and even individuals as the cause. They will point out the failures of systems and may even list all the things they do that excuses them from getting involved. But this chat or even outright blame game doesn’t address the problem. The thousands of litter picking volunteers across Scotland are the ones addressing the problem. The innovative campaigns and trials run by numerous organisations and the scientists and data crunchers working hard to understand trends and impacts are the ones addressing the problem.
Spring Clean Scotland is not just a call to arms to collect litter. Spring Clean Scotland is about creating a sense of empowered ownership of our wild places and our not so wild places. If our current problem is the consequence of millions of individuals' acts of carelessness or even selfishness, then we can counter it will individual and collective acts of care.
I genuinely believe that if we work together and keep momentum we can turn the tide and save ourselves and nature from the emergency we caused.
You can get involved by joining an event in your local area. If you’re not sure where to look our Clean Up Scotland map is a good start. If nothing is happening near you then you could consider creating an event and our campaigns team can support with guidance. By litter picking and participating in our LitterLotto partnership you could even win some money.
However, I should note that I have learned in this job never to underestimate the solo picker. The difference one person can make would surprise you. I am almost one year into my time with #TeamKSBScot and I still am blown away by those solo pickers from across Scotland. Also, you don’t have to dedicate hours or set aside time specifically for litter picking. You could combine it with one of your regular outdoor activities such walking the dog or give plogging a try. Even 15 minutes of micro volunteering can have a huge impact. If everyone gave even 15 minutes of their time in Scotland this Spring Clean, then imagine the difference. Just 15 minutes each! So, what are you waiting for?
Spring Clean Scotland is happening now. Join us.