Active environmentalists in Scotland

  • The List
  • 14 May 2010
Active environmentalists in Scotland

Take inspiration from these exceptional eco-folk and their good work.

Marian MacDonald

Chief Executive, Garvald Community Enterprises Ltd, The Engine Shed

The Engine Shed is a charitable company that helps young people with learning disabilities learn skills in a real work environment, and supports their move into mainstream, paid employment. Also, at their premises there's a celebrated vegetarian café, organic bakery and an organic tofu unit.

Marian MacDonald, the Chief Executive, suggests that they couldn't be more eco-friendly. ‘We recycle all paper and cardboard from our offices and conferences including flipchart paper, all plastic cartons and containers … a pick-up is made from Leep Recycling every fortnight and our driver drops off all glass bottles to a bottle bank every week. Kitchen waste goes into our own compost heap. We even have our own garden and, where possible, try to grow our own herbs and small berries etc.

It goes without saying that the Engine Shed holds strong views about the ethical and environmental issues around sourcing their ingredients and prides itself on its Scottish-produced organic vegetables. They've had first-hand experience of the far-reaching effects that positive, informed choices have on people’s lives. For some individuals, contact with the Engine Shed might be their first experience of working with good quality ingredients and understanding why it’s important to recycle waste. ‘It helps us all transfer good practices to our own personal lives,’ says MacDonald.

Ross Burns

Campaigns Officer for Zero Waste Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland is the Scottish Government’s waste reduction delivery programme. It provides a one-stop-shop for support and advice to individuals, businesses and local authorities in order to help them reduce waste, recycle more and use natural resources more efficiently.

Ross Burns, their Campaigns Officer, leads the development of the Love Food Hate Waste campaign (, which raises awareness of the environmental and economic impact of food waste and provides practical advice to Scottish householders on how to reduce it.

‘In Scotland we throw away 566,000 tonnes of food waste every year. Of that 69% could have been avoided if we managed our food better. This is an expensive habit and costs each household an average of £430 each year. Most of this waste currently goes to landfill, where it breaks down and releases harmful gasses that damage our environment. If we stop wasting all this food, we could prevent the equivalent of 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year in Scotland. This is the same as taking one in four cars off the road.’

An iPhone application has been developed to provide consumers with an interactive tool for helping to reduce food waste. The first of its kind, the food waste app has received over 40,000 downloads since its recent launch.

In tandem with the new app, the campaign’s website has also been enhanced, and its own Facebook page and Twitter accounts launched, with both already attracting hundreds of fans and followers. A new Love Food Hate Waste blog has also been created where campaign friends and followers can interact, share recipes and pass on advice.

The campaign’s newly revamped digital elements will also be used to inform people about Love Food Hate Waste events in their local areas, as well as providing updates on initiatives from food retailers which back the wider drive to reduce food waste.

Kate Campbell

Manager of the Eco-Schools programme

Managing and running the International Eco-Schools programme for schools here in bonnie Scotland, Kate Campbell is no stranger to bringing together a big project. ‘I have been doing my job as Manager for eight years. I manage nine members of staff and our job is to promote and support the programme here in Scotland. Schools register on the programme and work through a series of awards (bronze, silver to Green Flag) – these reflect how sustainable the school is.’ Schools are marked on their eco-issues such as litter, energy, water, health, school travel, school grounds, biodiversity and global citizenship. Hopefully this will start children from the tender age of five knowing the importance of green living, and you're never too young to be responsible with waste.

For Kate, it's not just a job title. ‘I tend to try to practice what I preach in my home/personal life, too. As well as running the programme, I spend a lot of my time liaising with partner organisations, fundraising, dealing with educational policy at local/national government level and generally networking in the field of Sustainable Development Education.’

Stewart Dodd

Managing Director at Satellite Architects

Stewart Dodd is the Managing Director at Satellite Architects Limited. His project ‘Agrarian Renaissance’ centres on the Church Farm Ardeley development take place in rural Hertfordshire. This site has been set up using the Agrarian Renaissance philosophy of local sustainable food, farming, rural care and enterprise. He and his team have been designing a replicable model to bring about a renaissance to rural farms so they can provide a core activity in the rural community. The pilot project in Hertfordshire includes a fully working farm of 175 Acres, a rural hub (community facilities including a canteen, farm shop and spaces for arts and agricultural workshops), affordable housing and a rural care facility.

Dodd himself is somewhat of an expert in renewable power. ‘Our practice follows a sustainable ethos through to its core. We design our buildings with a fully environmental belief, specifying materials from sustainable sources and using renewable energy systems. We recycle everything, we travel on public transport, we get our energy from the UK's only 100% renewable provider, Good Energy, and we only work for clients who understand a sustainable standpoint in their business. We speak at many events in the construction industry on the subject of sustainability. We are part of the 10:10 campaign and work for many sustainable clients like River Cottage, Good Energy etc. These core values work through to all our employees who follow sustainable values in their personal lives.’

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