|Dark green fritillary taken a couple of years ago|
Friday, 17 June 2011
Monday, 13 June 2011
Work has taken over somewhat from my schedule of training so as some people have been asking me why the John Muir Trust not some other “more deserving” charity such as sick children, cancer research etc I will explain.
The Trust drew on the inspiration of John Muir born in Scotland but who emigrated, at the age of 10, to America where he went on to become America’s most influential naturalist and conservationist. He wrote extensively and beautifully about wildnerness areas.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.“
- The Yosemite (1912), page 256.
We all know someone who has suffered or died from cancer (last year 3 people I knew died one a particularly close friend). This raises lots of emotion and our natural instinct is that we want to do something to stop this happening in the future. We do not like to see our friends and loved ones suffer. The same can be said of many other illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurones Disease, and Alzheimer’s. We give readily and rapidly to the associated charities. So I have no doubt that if I had chosen one of these deserving causes I would have reached my target no bother. I am more than happy to donate to these through other people’s challenges but I feel that we cannot sit back whilst our environment is trashed in the name of progress, economics, sustainability or whatever the latest buzz word is . The adjective has changed over the years but the result is depressingly the same... .a reduction in what is termed the core wild land of Scotland (None of our land is truly wild, the land and vegetation we see now is the result of human modification over centuries) However in recent years there has been a rapid growth of “built” structures in the form of bulldozed tracks, wind farms (and their associated tracks and infrastructure) pylons, large hydro schemes such as the one at Glendoe. SNH (Scottish Natural Heritage) has published figures showing a decline in total wild land from 41% to 31% in the period 2002-2008 i.e. 25% in 6 years. By 2009 the wild land area had further decreased to 28% meaning in 1 year an area 14 times the size of Glasgow had been lost. The John Muir Trust is campaigning to reverse this damaging trend through its Wild Land Campaign. http://www.jmt.org/wild-land-campaign.asp
I joined the John Muir Trust as I was concerned about my own impact on the hills. I was part of the exponential rise in the numbers of people heading for the hills to bag their Munros, escape the pressures of daily life, commune with nature, bird watch, or all of above. I saw the effect of this in eroded and scarred hill paths. So when I came across the John Muir Trust at a RSPB event at Vane Farm I joined and immediately felt that I had come home. I get the chance to repair some of this damage through John Muir Trust work parties. I am also part of the bio diversity work of the Trust, monitoring the habitat on one of our properties on Skye. Work parties are a great mix of people with an amazing amount of knowledge, interests, skills and backgrounds. There is always lots of laughter and new things to learn. Work parties also go to some of the Trusts partnership organisations and through them I have built up friendships on Knoydart and Harris.
I learnt gradually about the work of the John Muir award in bringing 100,000 people in contact with wildness and learning about wild places and how to look after them. The John Muir Award is an amazing educational tool bringing awareness to people of all ages, abilities and background coupled with a real sense of achievement on the way. http://www.jmt.org/jmaward-home.asp
I love the wild places of Scotland and these places are fundamental for the well-being of the health of both our country in the wider sense and ourselves. To quote from the 2020VISION http://www.2020v.org/index.asp “healthy ecosystems mean healthy people”.
Thursday, 2 June 2011