I was at a Sustainable Tourism event in Inverness the other week which attracted a number of local businesses interested in hearing about energy, waste, water and community engagement. It was part of a tour organised by Visit Scotland which I have been helping with by speaking about waste.
As well as the regular speakers, each event also features local business case studies who really bring the sessions alive with details of locally relevant experiences.
Yesterday we were treated to a talk by Bill and Sukie Barber, owners of Bluebell Croft, who discussed some of the issues they have faced in creating a sustainable 5 star self catering business, which has also been awarded the coveted Green Tourism Business Scheme Gold Award.
As well as providing the option of 100% home-grown food (including all meat) during a visitor’s stay, they can also provide lessons on home smoking and basket making. As a nice touch they brought along a basket full of eggs laid by their own fowl, from chickens to geese. I sat next to the basket of eggs on the train back to Edinburgh and it certainly made a good talking point.
Anyway, one of the points made by Bill during his presentation was that they use the principle of Resist alongside Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Whilst “Resist” may, technically, be part of “Reduce” it is still useful to see how we might come to achieve a reduction in our waste by avoiding unnecessary purchases.
For Bill and Sukie, resisting is one of the key elements of sustainable living. If we can resist the lure of the new then we are much better placed to enjoy the things we already have. It makes for a richer life and saves us money. We don’t need to upgrade to the next new handset when our phone contract expires. We don’t need to buy new clothes each and every time we head to the shops. Businesses don’t need to upgrade their board room every six months.
It makes sense. Certainly some of the things I treasure most are old and well-worn. I may enjoy the thrill of a new item but it doesn’t give me the same sense of satisfaction as trying to make things last.
As Bill pointed out: in Scotland we currently live as if we had three planets worth of resources available. Unless we can find another two Earth type planets somewhere and haul them in for plundering, we’d better scale back what we use and enjoy the things we have.