- 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
- Scotland isn't looking so beautiful. We can change that.
- 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
- 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
Jamie O, who administers our Green Flag Award and Scotland’s Beach Award, has taken time to write about his connection with nature and biodiversity. He has supported the development of a new Climate Emergency Training course with biodiversity and nature at its core. You can find out more about this by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The bracken was so thick in places I was pushing with all my weight just to wade through, their fronds wrapping around my legs and dragging me back down into the dirt. To the right of me was a bank of undulating rock and earth, to the left was a tangled wall of angry brambles, so I trudged on. Pushing and ducking and climbing and weaving my way through the dense vegetation, waterproof trousers snagging on every jaggy thorn and drifting spider silk sticking to my sweaty brow. Finally, I was spat out into a marshy clearing, pockmarked with shallow pools and strange tracks through the long grass. I was in otter territory.
I had taken a trip out near Oban to use up some annual leave and I now found myself on a small spit of land searching for one of Scotland’s most charismatic animals. It had rained heavily all morning and with a break in the cloud and light drizzle in the air I had taken a chance to get out my car, brush off the sandwich crumbs, and see if I could catch a glimpse of an animal I had hoped would be hunting along this hidden spot of Argyll.
I crept forward across the waterlogged outcrop taking note of the growing evidence of otter as I went; the sickly parma violet smell of otter spraint displayed almost ceremoniously in latrines; little collections of broken shells, crab claws and urchin remains; and very clear, well worn, trails leading across the grass and towards the sea. I turned to survey my path through the sodden obstacle -course and that’s when I heard it, the very loud crunch of a sharp toothed mammal chewing on the something very bony and very juicy right behind me.
Almost unbelievably, due to them being as elusive as a Scotland men’s team at a football World Cup, I was now face to face with an otter who had popped out of the water and was now happily filling its belly just metres away. A sight so special it really put into context the fragility of our natural world. The grassy outcrop so perfect for these little mustelids due to the dense bracken and brambles on one side and access to an all you can eat buffet of fish and invertebrates in the rich west coast seas on the other, could easily disappear with any sort of sea level rise. Then there’s the forests of kelp allowing mammals, fish, birds, and invertebrates to flourish undisturbed which would change dramatically if it wasn’t for the cool, clean, sheltered waters of this part of Scotland. Finely balanced ecosystems with many moving parts reliant on undisturbed seasonal changes which have been happening for thousands of years…until now.
This tale could be told a million times with a thousand different species in every nook and cranny of the country. From marine habitats to freshwater, from meadows to woodlands, and from mountain to glen, and that is just one small country in a very big changing world. Over exploitation and removal of key habitats has meant global biodiversity is under threat and with extreme weather events becoming more and more common due to a relentless attack on our climate, it would appear there is no hope for our amazing flora or fauna.
This is why we have just developed our Climate Emergency Training with Biodiversity and Nature, a workshop on which will pilot this week, to help you understand the links, the challenges, and the actions you can take.
We can often feel far removed from the decision makers as if our vote doesn’t really count, so what can we, as individuals, do to really make a difference? Small scale changes can actually have a huge impact on the biodiversity in your neighbourhood. Plant some wildflowers for pollinators, cut a hole in your fence (and encourage your neighbours to do the same) to allow the safe passage of hedgehogs through back gardens, or dig a pond and let nature come to you. Creating habitats for our local wildlife can makes us feel we’re actively making a difference and will be followed by visible results. There are plenty of places to get ideas but a good place to start is the Garden for Life resource pages.
Changing our habits and behaviour is a bit more difficult but can also have considerable impact. Making a conscience effort to buy sustainably sourced fish, reducing the amount of palm oil you consume, or eating locally sourced foods can often be quite expensive and difficult in practise but if we all make small changes as consumers then we can really push for change. Consider where you spend your money and try to support those businesses who are working more sustainably. Our award programmes highlight these for everyone, especially Green Key and the National Award for Environmental Excellence, but only you hold the power in your choices.
Finally, there are loads of charities and organisations out there lobbying elected representatives and policy makers so don’t feel like you can’t contribute because your voice won’t be heard. During a cost-of-living crisis it can be difficult to find extra money to support them but for just a few pounds a month you can usually support the work of some really great charities who are fighting for nature. Pick one which is supporting a plant, animal, or habitat you love. From butterflies to Scottish wildcats and peatland to seagrasses, there is a champion and voice out there for you.
It is quite difficult not to feel overwhelmed by the science and the endless list of catastrophes that face our planet if we don’t act now. But don’t forget you have power, power which makes a little bit of difference locally and even globally. That can be our legacy. They might not put up a blue plaque outside your house for planting some wildflowers, but a passing bumblebee will appreciate it and your one small action could have a lasting impact on plants and animals beyond your garden or window box.
Whilst you are alive, make tiny changes to Earth. Just try and make them positive ones. And in the meantime, go and lose yourself in nature, even just for five minutes. Look under a rock at the woodlice and millipedes, listen to the birds in your local park, or get lost in Argyll looking for otters, you won’t regret it.