Launch of the ‘Galloway Footsteps’ Initiative: How to reduce your Environmental Impact

Are you concerned by our impact on our planet? Not sure where to start in measuring and reducing your carbon footprint? Join the ‘Galloway Footsteps’ initiative as we set out on a journey to measure our personal footprints and make small, manageable changes that result in a real environmental benefit and carbon reduction.

The Galloway Footsteps initiative is a series of four online events, one a month on a Wednesday evening, from May to August 2021, where we explore the impact we have on the environment and we are inspired to make changes by a variety of speakers. Then, using Giki Zero (https://zero.giki.earth/), a free online sustainability calculator, we can track the impact of these changes we make.

The programme covers four discrete sectors of our lives: What we buy, What we eat, Inside the home and Outside the home. Each online session will seek to inspire participants with a key speaker, then provide data and information about the difference an individual can make. The online Giki Zero tool then asks you a series of questions to initially assess your footprint and suggest a series of changes you could make, measuring the carbon reduction that would result. Participants are encouraged to track their own progress on Giki, reaching an overall ‘Galloway Footsteps team’ score upon completion.

The aim of the initiative is to highlight how the decisions we make as consumers can make a genuine difference to the carbon footprint we all leave on the planet, as well as embedding changes in our lives.

The events are being delivered by the Galloway Glens Scheme, in partnership with Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Environment Team, the Crichton Carbon Centre and Giki. The initiative is free to attend and open to anyone irrespective of where you live.

The first event is on 5th May, at 7.30pm, and is entitled ‘What we buy’. This event will introduce the series of events, the Giki platform and will include a presentation from Anna Pitt from Zero Waste Week. Anna made headlines following her efforts to produce only one bag of rubbish in a year and is the author of ‘101 ways to live cleaner and greener for free’.

To book your free ticket, click here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/galloway-footsteps-what-we-buy-tickets-149176832923, or search Eventbrite for ‘Galloway Footsteps’. Once you have signed up, full joining instructions and prep beforehand will be sent to you.

Each subsequent month will include some time on the broader sectors and speakers to inspire us on our journey. The intention is that attendees will sign up for the whole programme but are welcome for individual sessions if you prefer.

Leading the events is Helen Keron, from the Galloway Glens Team. Looking ahead to the ‘Galloway Footprints’ initiative, Helen said:
Sometimes its easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the carbon problem, but the reality is that we can all help, in small but important ways that really do add up. These events are designed to both inspire you and to give you the concrete information you need to make the choices that work for you and for our environment.
As Edmund Burke said nearly 300 years ago, ‘No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little’…”
A member of the Giki team will attend each event to support users and answer any queries. Jo Hand, co-founder at Giki said:
“Our mission at Giki is to help people live more sustainably and find their path to a Net Zero lifestyle, by providing easy to use, evidence based tools that allow everyone to make the decisions which are right for them, their lifestyle and their budget. We believe that if everyone can build their own personal plan for what they can do to protect their world, then we can all play a crucial role to preserve the environment on which we all depend.”

The first event is on 5th May, focussing on the purchasing choices we face and how we can make a difference with what we buy. Headline speaker Anna Pitt, from Zero Waste Week, said:
“More and more people these days are realising that we have to reconsider the way we use resources. People are realising that the model we’ve become used to of TAKE, MAKE, DISPOSE doesn’t work. So, we need change, and we need it now. We can do things differently and the more of us asking for things to be different, the sooner we’ll have the solutions for sustainable living.”

McNabb Laurie, Galloway Glens Team leader, added:
“This is basically ‘Weight Watchers’ for Carbon. Join us as we learn more about how the decisions, we make influence our carbon footprints and track your progress as we reduce our environmental impact. Many thanks to everyone involved, particularly the Council’s Environment Team and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
November’s COP26 conference in Glasgow is an opportunity for us to challenge decisions we make in our lives, and the ability to measure the impact of these decisions on our carbon footprints is vital.”

The Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme is a suite of projects happening across the Ken/Dee catchment in South West Scotland from 2018 to 2023. £2.7million of core funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund will be matched by a variety of partners to bring over £5million of investment into the area over the 5 years. The area stretches from the uplands behind Carsphairn in the north, through the Glenkens, past Loch Ken, through Castle Douglas and out to the sea at Kirkcudbright. 35 headline projects plus more Small Grants projects all aim to connect people with their cultural, natural and built heritage, and to support sustainable modern rural communities. For more information about the scheme, visit www.gallowayglens.org.

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