Yesterday I was out exploring in East Kilbride. Down by the Rotten Calder, everything was green, the trees were in the height of their summer colour, ferns as bright as you'll see them, raspberries nearly ripe. Out in the Glen Esk pocket park, it's already beginning to feel like harvest time. The long grass turning straw-like with the heat, the flowers not as colourful as they were a couple of weeks ago. This is Lammas or Lughnasadh (pronounced Loonasa)- or even Loaf-Mass. In Romani, August is the month of corn and Lammas is the celebration of the grain harvest. The grain providing both the seeds to plant next year, as well as sustaining us throughout the winter, as food. For a really interesting insight into seed production check out this programme on Radio 4.
In the Christian tradition, loaves of bread are baked from the new harvest, and are brought to church to be blessed. In the pagan tradition, it is the first of two harvest festivals, the second being at the Autumn equinox. It also marks the beginning of the noticeable descent of the Sun, so now is a good time to be outside. The earth has been soaking up sunshine since Spring and you can feel its warmth and energy under your bare feet. Soon the summer energy will lessen with the approach of Winter.
Celebrating the natural festivals is a wonderful way to build both additional celebrations into your life, as well as a closer connection to nature. And, as I have said million times before, people with a closer connection to nature are more likely to live in a way that looks after it.
I am writing this on 29th July, Earth Overshoot Day 2021. That's the day when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. It is also precisely 100 days until COP26 takes place right on our doorstep in Glasgow this November. With that in mind the Global Footprint Network, alongside SEPA here in Scotland have launched 100 Days of Possibility, with daily input from city and business leaders from around the world, describing a project they’ve been creating, implementing, or overseeing which demonstrably contributes to build a desirable future for the community impacted by that project, thus helping #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day. From a personal point of view it can be overwhelming to think about how our own personal Footprint contributes to global overshoot, but individual change is what is going to be needed to help halt the worsening climate crisis. Last July I completed the Keep Scotland Beautiful's Climate Emergency training. As part of that I had to commit to something I was going to do to decrease my own personal carbon footprint. During the last 12 months, I have not bought myself any new clothes. For my next trick I think I may have to give up Ebay and Depop, but it has been good to know that each of my purchases has been an alternative to landfill.
So, this Lammas, the time of harvest, celebrate all the things that nature gives us, and think about what you can do in a personal capacity to protect it. From buying less, or more locally and sustainably, to walking more and using the car less, to joining up with one of your local litter pick groups. As everything begins to open up again, there are lots more events happening that you can get involved with, we're sharing as much as possible on our social media pages, so stay tuned.