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The parish churches in Buchlyvie and Gartmore have registered as Eco-Congregations, recognising that, for Christians, caring for the Earth is a proper response to a loving creating God. Eco-Congregation Scotland provides a variety of helpful resources and ideas. Just before Lockdown we had put out a survey, enquiring about measures to reduce home energy use, to start to gauge interest and build a bank of people who would share their experiences, good or bad, with others considering similar measures.
As conditions allow we would hope to arrange community events or workshops on such topics as upcycling, growing food, repairing and altering clothes, home composting, reducing your carbon footprint, cooking with leftovers or maybe even toolshare schemes or swapshops. To do this we need a small team of people concerned about environmental issues, from any church or none. Events would be for the whole community so the wider the representation the better. If you would be happy to be involved in any way please get in touch by using the church email address.
You can avoid buying plastic pots if you make your own. Use strips of newspaper wrapped round a jar, fold and tuck in the bottom then slip it off the jar, to make a pot. ‘Paper Potters’ are a good investment, and children quickly become adept at turning out pots by the dozen!
If, like some of us, you are using ‘Who Gives A Crap’ toilet rolls (look online), the cardboard inner tube is very sturdy and makes a great safe planter for baby leeks. Just pop the leek inside, water carefully and as the leek grows, the pot will hold it securely and help to blanch the stem.
If you have been saving old CDs and DVDs, now is the time to hang them on your fruit trees to protect them from birds. If a flock of bullfinches comes along, you could lose every bud in minutes!
Talk to friends and neighbours about sharing seedlings or taking cuttings.
And finally, do buy peat-free compost. We need to halt the scraping of land for peat, to minimise the huge release of carbon dioxide.
Eco-Congregation Scotland has lots of information, events, discussion opportunities and ideas for participation in COP 26. Well-worth looking on the website: https://www.ecocongregation.org
Think twice about buying plants from supermarkets. It’s better to go to your local garden centre, where you can ask where the plant comes from and check they haven’t been sprayed with neo-nicotinoids. Neo-nicotinoids are the bee-killing chemicals present in the pesticides commonly used in industrial plant nurseries.
Also, on the subject of insect decline, Dave Goulson, the bee specialist, who was at Stirling University until 2014, is launching a new book this summer - ‘Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse’. The name says it all.
Here is another useful discovery. In previous years, I would spray our gooseberry bush with pesticide to stop the gooseberry sawfly from defoliating it (and ruining the crop). With Gardeners’ World advice and the extra time I had available in 2020, I was able to check the bush every day and remove all the caterpillars by hand. The result is that there is no caterpillar damage at all this year (or, at least, not yet!). Hopefully I have stopped the cycle - sawfly caterpillars pupate in the soil under the bush, so by destroying last year’s caterpillars, there were no pupae and hence no new sawflies this year. On the other hand, these good results are possibly because May has been so cold that last year’s pupae have not yet turned into flies!. Time will tell!