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Our climate heroes come in all shapes and sizes, from 94-year-old David Attenborough to 18-year-old Greta Thunberg. I have just added a new local hero to my list, a young, local musician called Jo Stark. I had the privilege of interviewing her for an upcoming podcast and was bowled over by her energy and commitment to her chosen climate project. In a nut shell, she and the orchestra she plays with, Nevis Ensemble, are running a 100 days of climate change challenge, and have each chosen a project such as going vegan/vegetarian/without cheese for 100 days. Others are raising money for various climate charities and one member is helping wounded hedgehogs, now an endangered species. Jo’s challenge is to read up about an aspect of the climate emergency and then compose a piece of music around this topic. You will be able to hear the interview and some of her songs when the episode is published on PLANT Voices podcast early next week – find it on Anchor or your favourite podcasting app.

Jo’s enthusiasm rubbed off on me and I decided to do my own, ahem, 7 days challenge. It doesn’t take a mathematician to see that, 7 is not 100, but, in my defence, I felt if I started with something ‘bite-size’, I might have a better chance of completing the challenge. So, here we go…

Monday: Easing myself into the challenge, I decided, now the weather was a wee bit warmer, I should reassess our heating in the house. I turned down a few of the radiators and decided to set the timer to go off an hour earlier in the evening. Day 1 of the challenge sorted!

Tuesday: time to think outside the house and look to the veggie patch and plan what I can grow of my own food. I decided to keep it simple with tatties, beetroot, carrots, leeks and salad leaves – a very satisfying Day 2 of the project.

Wednesday: back in the kitchen and time to finally get rid of that last bit of plastic. A simple swap of a cleaning brush – with renewable heads – instead of the deadly sponges I used to buy.

Thursday: still working towards becoming vegan, I decided on a tiny change and tried, Oaty Barista, instead of cow’s milk, in my coffee. I admit to having a wee bit to go on this one but, I’m persevering for now.

Friday: time to get crafty and finish off a crocheting plan that I’ve been working on throughout lockdown. A friend gave me some old, spare balls of wool and I made ‘Zoom cushions’ for my friends. I reckon a cushion at your back is quite useful with all the screen/Zoom time we have now. (The background to the photo of my cushions is a blanket my mother made with scrap pieces of wool; there’s a satisfying symmetry to that, don’t you think?).

Saturday: I love Tayport but I hate all the litter I find in it! I decided to go out and pick up what I could with my litter picker. Some cans I was able to recycle, so that was a plus.

Sunday: I joined an online group for a relaxed coffee and chat about what was happening in their areas of Scotland. It was a real boost to speak to like-minded folk and hear about their projects. What could we learn from each other, was the gist of the inspiring conversations? (It was hosted by SCCAN – Scottish Communities Climate Action Network).

Challenge over? Well, not 100 days, and as a pal said, you can’t really take a day off the climate emergency but I did allow myself a little pat on the back – and a bar of vegan mint chocolate. I’m a great believer in rewarding yourself!!




I grew up on a farm in the NE of Scotland so have always had a close affinity to land and growing my own food. As a family we ate only what was in season and preserved fruit and vegetables if there was a glut. I am still passionate about cutting air miles on the food I eat. I’m lucky to live close to the Tayport Community Garden and pop in regularly for advice and produce.

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