Written by Gwen Sinclair and Megan Sweeney
“Be inspired by indigenous attitudes towards stewardship, especially the Native American seventh-generation principle – that today’s decisions should be sustainable in seven generations – Many cultures have a story of planting seeds in the ground or growing trees you will never see in your lifetime.”
Philosopher and Author Roman Krznaric.
The seven-generation principle operated within Native American cultures, might for example mean planting trees where the planters may never live long enough to enjoy the fruits of their labours.
Yet they will plant them anyway, because they know that their actions will be a contribution to the world that may well help to sustain future generations, of not only the people, but the entire eco-system which may depend on those trees. This is something of the underlying principle for World Environment Day, which this year alongside thousands of other organisations and individuals from around the world who are also taking part in virtual and physical events, asks us to:
REIMAGINE. RECREATE. RESTORE.
This is our moment.
We cannot turn back time.
But we can grow trees,
Green our cities,
Re-wild our gardens,
Change our diets and
Clean up rivers and coasts.
We are the generation that can make peace with nature.
Let’s get active, not anxious.
Let’s be bold, not timid.
Let us all be #generationrestoration !
If we reverse the seven-generation principle and think back to seven generations behind us – some of us might well be back into the 19th Century, or beyond! Its fair to say that history can allow us the luxury of having some idea about what did happen next, and can show us both environmentally and politically, the impact that the lives led then had on the world we live in today – for better or for worse. Our work at Royal Dundonald Castle often means re-examining the past and looking back to lives once led, in most cases, many centuries before our own. Even though some of us may secretly wish that we could live in a castle like this in its heyday, and we’re sure if that were possible, we’d very soon begin to miss the great advancements to our quality of life which have occurred between then and now, such as healthcare, electricity and hot water on tap! However, its fair to say that the castle’s household would be hard pushed to imagine the present level of deforestation, and with it, the frightening decline in wildlife from our natural surroundings which has occurred across the world since then! The tragedy of this serves as a reminder that we can only hope to do all we can to reverse this trend by having a positive effect over the present moment choices we make today. However looking back is also about looking forward – this means that we are not only committed to the preservation, understanding and appreciation of Royal Dundonald Castle, but also to its environment as well since we recognise that we have a responsibility to those who come after us, beyond legal and regulatory requirements.
We’re so lucky to be surrounded by beautiful countryside and ancient woodlands, so it is only natural that we want to protect it! In order to do this, we have developed a Green Policy and Mission Statement where we’re committed to reducing our environmental impact, which is continually improved as an integral part of our business strategy as we incorporate environmental factors into business decisions. We also encourage customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to do the same!
For example, in our Café we use Eco-Friendly takeaway options to reduce the amount of plastic that goes to landfill, or ends up in the woodland areas and streams. Our takeaway cups, lids and cutlery are all biodegradable, and our takeaway boxes and straws are recyclable. All of our bins are clearly sign-posted as to what can go in each one, and we are always sure to tell customers how to dispose of their item properly after use. We segregate and recycle all of our garbage, including food-waste, and even the coffee grounds are recycled – eventually becoming composted via South Ayrshire Council recycling service!
We also minimise the food miles and waste from our Café menu by serving made-to-order sandwiches, paninis, and toasties from locally purchased ingredients. Our variety of hearty soups are made locally in the village. Our popular scones, cakes, pancakes, traybake and empire biscuits, as well as our ice-cream tubs are all supplied from Ayrshire businesses.
We seek to reduce the amount of energy used as much as possible, with lights and electrical equipment being switched off when not in use.
In our gift-shop we support local crafters, authors and businesses where possible to reduce CO2, as well as to providing an outlet for their products and services. We also promote and encourage walking and cycling using the route from the Visitor Centre to Troon for health and wellbeing – such as promoting The Smugglers Trail.
In 2019 we were delighted to receive the Bronze Green Business Tourism award!
We’re really proud to have been accepted as a Green Tourism accredited organisation and realise that by reducing our carbon footprint we are going some way to help mitigate the effects of climate change. This is an eco-friendly business accreditation system founded in Scotland, originally developed through a partnership between VisitScotland and Green Business UK, who continue to develop and operate the scheme. It’s now a well-recognised standard of accreditation which plays a vital role in helping Scotland to become a sustainable tourism destination.
Find out more about our commitment to reducing our environmental impact:
Rest assured that there’s no going back for us now, since we are committed to reducing our environmental impact and doing all we can to continually improving our environmental performance! We welcome any tips and ideas to let us know where we can improve- so please get in touch with any suggestions!
World Environment Day poem ‘Reimagine, Recreate, Restore’ – by Jordan Sanchez
Watch out for our blog about the Smugglers Trail coming soon!
Find out more about The Smugglers Trail:
Green Business Tourism Check https://www.green-tourism.com/greencheck/welcome
Frappé at the castle image by Megan Sweeney
Sustainable packaging at Dundonald Castle Visitor Centre Café by Megan Sweeney
Bluebell Woods at Dundonald by David Taylor