On Friday 20 October, SIF chair Camille Dressler presented the case study of Eigg’s community energy at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik. As Eigg is her home, she was especially delighted that Gillian Martin MSP, Minister for Energy and the Environment, introduced the session, praising the island’s achievement. The session compared the challenges of the Nunuvut region in Arctic Canada which is at the very beginning of its transition journey and the good practices that Scotland’s communities such as Eigg and Findhorn can offer. The session brought together REMIROCAN project officers Jess Puddister and Carsen Bannister and Cameron Johnstone of Srtrathclyde university alongside Camille and Ann Barker as moderator.
On this 10th anniversary of the Arctic Circle Assembly, ensuring the transition from fossil fuel is carried out appears more urgent than ever, as alarm calls were sounded about the state of the Arctic. Melting permafrost releasing poisonous mercury, melting glaciers affecting the circulation of marine currents and sea levels show the state of the Arctic should be at the forefront of climate policies: keeping the Arctic in a stable state is crucial for the state of the planet. That Scotland is actively participating in such high level discussions is very encouraging, and it would be great if the future leaders of the Arctic indigenous people could come and see what community energy can achieve. The presence of the various Arctic people was very strong at the assembly and their message was very clear: the time for action is now – the Arctic is truly global. And it looks like Scotland and its communities can play their part.