The Story So Far...

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We are all watching with increasing concern as the Arctic, Amazon, Alaska and Siberia are burning out of control, adding even more pressure to our planet, on top of species decline and temperature increases globally. Not only is nature responding to changing climate conditions but powerful, commercial interests are driving the devastation which will have international, long term implications for us all. We are only 2 people, but we are committed to doing everything we can to do to help, everyday. After 2 years of planning, we are finally at the point of launching our own Extinction Rebellion!

Our first step has been to buy a croft tenancy, which we will run as a long term, carbon neutral “small batch” farming business, with a heavy dose of conservation and biodiversity fighback. Over the next few years we will match our farming activity with tree planting, peat preservation and these biodiversity plans which will strengthen the produce output and the wildlife in our area.

In order to fund our biodiversity plans, we will be using a mixture of social enterprise and other funding models; from selling our sustainably made produce, using government grant funding, crowdfunding and aiming to bring in an income from a GreenExchange Platform.

This platform is being set up to help other small producers connect with resources, funding, expertise and volunteers; which we hope to launch with the additional funds raised here, to speed up our work and as a sustainable business model.

We have already begun work on our croft on our biodiversity fightback, but your contributions will accelerate our plans, enable our GreenExchange business to launch and allow us to succeed more quickly and help you to feel you are contributing to investing your #CarbonGuilt into our real world actions.

In addition to planting trees, sustaining bumblebees, restoring the peat and hedges on our own croft which makes our own business stronger and meets a biodiversity action plan in Scotland, we will also match trees planted here with equal numbers of trees planted in Brazil, through Plant for the Planet.

Invest in saving your future.

We have croftland, time & expertise, and with your pledges, we can accelerate tree, bee & hedge biodiversity on our croft. If we are successful in achieving our own croft target, we have a stretch goal which will help us to launch a green marketplace, a web platform for us and other small producers to access funders, volunteers, support and resources as well as to sell our produce.

This will generate income for us, other small producers and enable small projects like ours to be more sustainably, commercially successful whilst protecting the planet. It will do this through a small percentage charged on each project joining, as well as through event fees and carbon neutral product sales.

Who we are.

I am a digital storyteller, artist and filmmaker, who along with my husband Nat, (an editor, web designer and all round great guy), have upended our entire lives to build a biodiverse croft and start a digital green marketplace.

We are using our crofting experiments, biodiversity plans, reforestation and place-making activities to help us to launch a grassroots green movement marketplace social enterprise which links small projects, like ours, to resources, volunteers, finance and social support. Starting with our own land we aim to connect

You can follow us on Twitter – I’m @gabysslave and Nat is @exsanguinator!

What is Carbon Guilt?

The Urban Dictionary defines it as:

The horrible guilt a generally green-minded person feels when they have no choice, but to do something entirely unsustainable.

“I am so racked with carbon guilt– my company is making me fly halfway across the world for a 2 hour meeting!”

In a 2009 article The Stanford Social Innovation review was already asking the question about this and pondering whether “Voluntary carbon offsets allow people to invest in projects that allegedly counteract their greenhouse gas emissions. But can voluntary offsets help slow global warming? Or are offsets simply a way for guilt-ridden consumers to buy their way out of bad feelings?”

We believe carbon offset is only the beginning and alone it won’t make enough difference but as we have already lost 10 years since these words, so there is literally only time lost and every action, no matter how small is critical. So start your journey to accelerating your efforts to combat your Carbon Guilt by supporting this project.

Why we need to act.

Climate change, whether man made or inevitable, represents the single most important threat to us, our families and future generations as well as wildlife. The worst effects may not be immediately felt in the UK but even here we experienced the devastating fallout when communities are flooded, droughts have hit and wildlife has failed to sustain itself.

We have a short window of opportunity to do everything in our power to mitigate these effects and this project represents the next phase of our personal efforts to do this.

Nat and I are privileged enough to be able to completely change life directions and commit to making this our mission. Starting with my Croft tenancy in the Outer Hebrides, the Carbon Guilt blog and plans to build an online community marketplace that connects small projects around the UK to Supporters, Volunteers, Resources and Finance through crowdfunding, new green business models and third sector funding.

Whilst we will still be running our business in Birmingham, it has been redesigned to be more flexible, project based and allow for an amount of remote working. Nothing about our lives is the same as it was 23 months ago when we started this journey and we want to share how we did it whilst making a significant difference in solving the problem.

What we will be doing?

Initially we are raising funds for the biodiversity plans we have on my croft.

These plans include planting 1000 trees this autumn, fixing fences and beginning hedge planting, working with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust on the island to enhance habitats for bees and other insects.

In addition we will be doing shoreline and peat restoration where appropriate and we are using any additional funds raised to launch a digital version of the GreenExchange, experimenting with how small projects can connect with each other to share skills, know how and pool resources, to find volunteers, expertise and funding, whether that is through crowdfunding, community funding or government/3rd sector funding.

Where will we be doing this?

I have recently been approved by the Crofting Commision as a Crofting Tenant and we set out on this journey to live there, as we launch the Crowdfunder campaign.

The Isle of Lewis has presented us with an affordable way of accelerating our own personal efforts and enabled us to take on doing more to help others to get green action higher up the priority list and you can find our croft at 22 Kirkibost, Great Bernera, Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

The activities we have planned all meet strategic outcomes from the Scottish Government’s plan for Climate Action and particularly projects which are designed to leave a long-standing legacy of low-carbon behaviour.

Our actions include:

  • Providing energy efficiency and carbonguilt advice through our blog
  • Encouraging reduction or eliminating carbon emissions through ‘greener’ travel with our sustainable Eco Tourism/Volunteering scheme
  • Tips on reducing waste, increasing recycling and most importantly consumption reduction
  • Growing food locally and in tune with the seasons, sustainably and with zero carbon emissions
  • Planting trees, establishing Bumblebee habitats, restoring the peat and shoreline preservation.
  • Connecting other small producers and lobbying for greater decision making power to be in the hands of small, sustainable communities across the UK.

Support Us

We were recently successful in our first round of Crowdfunding which has enabled us to kickstart this season's planting with 1000 trees, willow beds and making a real dent in the hedgerow work. More on our story here...

Our goal is to plant 20,000 trees on our first piece of land as well as continuing the willow planting to help keep the ground in the best state for peat restoration, hedgerows and wildflower planting to enable habitat crossing and biodiversity as well as a good source of pollen for our bees. In order to keep up the momentum we still need your help.

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If you would like to find out more about us and what we are up to, click the image above to go to our Substack Emailer and subscribe to get a monthly update, behind the scenes happenings as well as hints and tips on how to positively impact your personal Carbon Footprint. We’re looking forward to having you on board 😉

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