Skye Climate Action column

Night planet Earth with precise detailed relief and city lights illuminated by moonlight. The United Kingdom and the North Sea. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

The West Highland Free Press will be publishing monthly information from the group Skye Climate Action about what is going on in Skye and ideas about how everyone could be part of the action.

Various aspects of climate action on Skye will be featured each month.

Background to Skye Climate Action

We came together following the Scottish Government’s Big Climate Conversation in Portree in August 2019. Our aim is to work to reduce Skye’s carbon footprint and prepare for the changes happening to our climate. Together we share information, spread climate awareness and map out the climate-friendly activities that are already happening around Skye.

Working with other bodies such as the Highland Council, ZeroWaste Scotland and Scottish Communities Climate Action we share information and find solutions. We encourage individuals to take action and our members are working together on a range of issues such as transport, re-purposing waste, plastics, construction, food, composting and growing locally. Where possible we have been working with the schools to ensure the future generation has a real voice. Our emphasis is on practical solutions and action. There is a lot we can do even if we are confined to our homes at the moment.

We have a growing number of people on our mailing list with sub-groups in north and south Skye. The full Skye Climate Action meets every two months (now on Zoom) to report back on various projects and plan ahead.

Climate change need not be another catastrophe. We know enough to work together now to find solutions. We may even make some positive discoveries.

Eye opener

Has the climate changed on Skye? Well yes! The weather may not have, still the same rain and wind. But just more of it! And that’s what climate change is. A change over a longer period of time, decades and centuries. This February in Tyndrum, 944mm of rain was recorded, over half its annual rainfall. Winds in January and February, sustained and prolonged.

Thirty years ago this was just what the scientists predicted: more frequent and heavier rain during the winter and warmer over the whole year. This increase in temperature is more pronounced since the 1970s. Most climate scientists will tell you that the rise in temperature is a direct result of human activity.

There are few who disagree.

This rise in temperature shadows the rapid increase in greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. And that’s where the Industrial Revolution comes in as these gases have been released in increasing quantities since it started and we first began to burn fossils such as coal, oil and gas. Since then our demand for energy has become greater and greater. More of these gases have built up in the atmosphere and the planet has heated.

From 1960 to now there was an average rise of 0.7 degrees C and the rise is accelerating. If average global temperature rises more than 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels climate impacts will go from destructive to catastrophic.

The heating is not even. Some parts of the earth, like northern Europe, are heating faster than others. The effects on the local climate are complicated and variable.

There are predictions of drought and extreme heat for some areas. Not all areas will get warmer.

Here in the Highlands it is predicted to get wetter if that is at all possible. Surely that in itself should make us want to take action!

Carbon tip

Toilet rolls have become an issue recently. Many of us could halve our usage with a bit of thought, and help reduce our carbon footprint. At 1.1g of carbon per recycled sheet, it’s an easy and worthwhile carbon saving.

NEXT TIME: Reducing food miles. Growing your own.

To find out more about Skye Climate Action you can visit the group’s website by clicking here – or email