Findhorn Initiatives Scoop Green Awards

5 December 2007

Three separate initiatives based at the Park, Findhorn won awards in the first Moray Recycling and Environment Awards, held on 19 November at Moray College. Additionally, Park resident Michael Mitton won a gold medal at the recent Young Scotland Programme event in Stranraer to become one of Scotland’s Young Thinkers of the Year.

At the Moray Recycling and Environment awards, Big Sky Environmental Design and Print (also known as Posthouse Printing) won the overall Community and Environmental Initiatives Moray (CEIM) Green Business Recycling Award as well as coming first in the category for businesses with less than ten staff. The Moray Art Centre and NFD’s The Living Machine were also on the roll of honour for the Moray Environment Awards.

Inside the Living Machine
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The awards, promoted by Community and Environmental Initiatives Moray and Moray Community Planning Partnership, were set up to promote good practice and encourage organisations to recycle and become more environmentally efficient. Isobell Tesch, marketing officer for Community and Environmental Initiatives Moray said, “Recycling and Environmental issues have never been more topical or more important than they are today ” given that more and more emphasis is placed on businesses to reduce, reuse and recycle we thought the time was right to reward local businesses for the work they are currently undertaking in becoming more environmentally friendly.”

Richard Lochhead, local MSP for Moray and Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment who presented the awards commented, “The Scottish Government is continuing to look at ways to further improve our performance on waste, to work towards reaching a zero-waste society.”

The award for Big Sky comes close on the heels of their achieving ISO14001:2004 status earlier this year. The company have invested in greener technologies in their printing processes, have reduced usage of harsh chemicals for cleaning the presses and increased their use of recycled and Forest Stewardship Council approved paper which is produced using sustainable methods.

The newly constructed Moray Art Centre gained recognition for its innovative design and build. Its low environmental impact has been achieved through the use of benign materials, locally sourced wherever possible. Geothermal energy heats the Centre and other sources of renewable energy utilised include both solar photovoltaic roof tiles and passive solar as well as electricity from the four wind generators less than one kilometre away from the Art Centre.

The Living Machine is a well established yet still novel natural sewage treatment facility dealing with human waste from various sites at The Park, including the new Moray Art Centre. Constructed in 1995, the Living Machine breaks down sewage using bacteria that live on plants contained in large, deep water barrels. The resulting effluent is of a standard far higher than that of traditional chemical treatment and has obvious environmental benefits.

On a different note, the Young Scotland Programme brings together young people from a cross-section of Scottish society for a week long marathon of stimulating debate and discussion, presenting arguments on diverse issues affecting the nation today. The programme aims to stretch minds, stir the consciences and broaden the horizons of the participants, and eventually proclaim one as Scotland’s Young Thinker of the Year.

Michael Mitton
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Michael Mitton, who was brought up in the Findhorn Foundation community and works in the Foundation’s Communications and Maintenance departments, came through strong competition from 36 other participants representing the fields of academia, finance, healthcare, government, power companies, and the not-for-profit sector. Michael’s gold medal winning presentation addressed the topic of climate change by highlighting the disastrous effects of rising temperatures worldwide and arguing that resistance to the provision of clean, green energy in Scotland on the grounds of a conventional view that such technology is ugly in the landscape, is unfounded and counterproductive.

Michael said in his presentation, “I live in a community that provides itself with a surplus of energy from windmills. They dominate the landscape, they can be seen from miles around and they are beautiful.” Michael emphasised the huge potential in Scotland for utilising both wind and tidal power in the race to stop global warming, and that these technologies need to replace CO2 emitting technologies very soon, or there will not even be a Scottish landscape to protect.

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