Last year there were several major announcements about large sectors of the tourism industry joining the movement to Declare a Climate Emergency.
Kintaline is just one single self catering vacation home, with just 6 adults coming to visit and enjoy the local North Argyll area and it can be easy to say there is little contribution one site can make, but with a bit of thought it becomes clear how positive a role we each can play. This is a journey, there are always improvements to be made.
Kintaline house is part of Kintaline farm, a very small, 24 acre, regeneratively run land holding, using permaculture ethics, where soil building, habitat diversity, perennnial foods and tree planting are an existing part of the day to day. So it is very easy to agree to add Kintaline to the Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency initiative.
Here is the start of the plan that describes the actions taken to date and the aspirations to continue to reduce the carbon footprint here, whilst continuing to improve the guests holiday experience.
And at Kintaline House there is a commitment to reduce our carbon footprint by at least 6% every year.
Kintaline Declares a Climate EmergencySigning up to Tourism Declares is so inspiring. This is an initiative that supports the tourism sector in declaring a climate emergency and taking purposeful action to reduce our carbon emissions as we so need to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030 to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming at the IPCC advice.Kintaline commits to develop a "climate emergency plan" for the house alongside the regenerative work begun already on the farm to reduce the impact we have on our environment whilst welcoming with open arms all the responsible travellers who want to enjoy the wonderful natural, cultural and built heritage all around us.This is just a first statement that will be expanded and updated as steps are taken to improve. A small farm and single self catering home is only a minute part of this global movement but we each have our place to play in making these changes.It will be so good to continue to work with our local community : attractions, producers, and partners towards the same aims and look forward to seeing many more making the same declaration.And will wholeheartedly support the need to advocate towards zero carbon travel.
What are we doing already?
The self catering house is on Kintaline Farm, which is a regeneratively run small farm, where the aim is to grow soils and increase habitat diversity, which, in turn, provides improved environment to grow food. The income from hosting our lovely guests is a major contribution to supporting the continued regeneration, habitat diversification, tree planting and general care of the land day to day.
Soils are the most powerful carbon sequestrators, so every action that improves our soils is a big step in the right direction. Every day is about adding to that aim.
The land is not ploughed, which is one of the worst ways of destroying the soil biosphere and releasing carbon; and that constant vegetation is rich in diversity, supporting pollinators, pest control, herbal health enhancers, and hence reduces the use of veterinary and human health drugs. There has been no weedkillers or such chemicals for years. These are all manufactured from fossil fuels.. one of the main aspects of modern life we need to wean ourselves from.
There is no tractor working the land, but there is still a few mechanical aids. The need for these is gradually being reduced.
There have been several thousands young trees planted in separate copses around the farm, which are establishing nicely. When available wood chip, or fleece, or cardboard is taken in, preventing it from going to waste and landfill, and used to mulch the young trees, giving them a best start and building more soil carbon. There are still plans for more hedgerow planting, also creating greater diversity of under planting of the copses, that will in time become resources for fruit, nuts, herbs, perennial vegetables, so continuing to offset the carbon footprint of encouraging guests to travel to our area.
The garden at the House is a mature cottage garden with large lawn complete with generous table and 6 chairs of recycled plastic for you to enjoy an al fresco feast, as well as several loungers to chill out with the birdsong. There is a charcoal BBQ, and a complementary bag of environmentally friendly charcoal to get you started. In amongst the flowering perennials are increasing variety of fruit bushes, perennial herbs & vegetables, wild edibles as well as some annual varieties that you are welcome to sample, being careful to practise “fair shares” and leave some for future guests.
To protect the soils of the garden from constant chemically treated water there is no hot tub, (although it is possible for guests to hire one from a local company)
The house itself is a Scandiahus bespoke design with triple glazing, superinsulated walls, heat extraction system. It is perfectly situated for solar panels but, currently they are beyond my budget.
The gorgeous large conservatory acts as a heat source for the rest of the open plan double height space, and means that the central heating is often unnecessary. Changing the electricity system from the dual tariff at some point will mean the costs may increase, but the options to find a more ecologically friendly supplier will open up. There is a wood burning stove for the cosyness, supplied by our own timber, supplemented by locally sourced wood. The firelighters are hand made from waste egg boxes, sawdust, and waste wax candles.
We recycle, compost and use up paper and cardboard around the farm so have set up facilities inside and outside the house so guests can contribute to this.
Guest house and local information is shared with a Hostfully digital guidebook (another Tourism declares signatory), which means we can include so much more information, and update it as necessary, without being wasteful of paper. Guest booking and communication is mostly digital and by phone so everyone has records without paper.
Kintaline’s welcome pack is made up of local food goodies, and lovely local hand made soaps are left for each guest in the bedrooms. There is a local food hub that guests are encouraged to order from, collections can be arranged. It is always heartening to realise that guests have bought more from these and other local producers, artists and suppliers. Buying from our local creative artists rewards their talents, provides a unique gift for a loved one, and cuts the global shipment of plastic tat souvenirs. The house online map has many of our local food producers, farm gate sales, and excellent places to eat who use the wonderful local supplies - Thank you, your support means everything to each of us.
There are plenty of supplies left for guests – this includes WhoGivesACrap toilet paper, and tissues; recycled kitchen paper; environmentally friendly laundry and cleaning materials; compostable bin bags. Anything that is left over after a stay is carefully recycled and not wasted.
The lights have all been changed to LED to reduce electrical consumption. A simple ask is that the windows are not left open when the heating is on, and the lights turned off when guests are out and about.
The house is furnished with quality upholstered furniture, that has been in the family for years, supplemented by further additions of similar standards where it fits the self catering needs better. Where pieces have been replaced, they are sold or donated on, not put into land fill.
The appliances are high quality and will hopefully last some time to come, they are not being replaced needlessly. As this becomes necessary, then the best eco efficient models will be brought in.
I live next door, so there is no cost to my servicing the house, and shopping is combined with other necessities. Careful planning ahead aims to avoid the emergency excursions.
As we go forward, there are improvements I would like to make for our guests, and replacements that are necessary each year to comply with the safety requirements. It will be imperative that none of these incur any more additional land fill - new homes, reuse, and recycling will be the priority.
Where work needs to be done, it is always local trades who are used. Our local economy relies on each of us to support each other.
Reducing our footprint in the tourist industry involves SLOWING ourselves down – not rushing from one place to the next, using more fuels, incurring more cleaning, chemicals, energy etc. Kintaline is a PERFECT base for spending time with a huge range of experiences, activities and adventures to enjoy whilst you are here. All our stays are a week or more – and the house is the perfect place to bring family and friends together. Home stays are a very much lower carbon burden than the hotels and resorts, that have a high electricity load from large public spaces lit and heated 24 hours a day, linen washed daily, air conditioning, constant housekeeping, as well as very high wastage of food, packaging and more.
The house sleeps 6 adults – it would have been easily possible to make it more by adding beds in to rooms and the balcony .. but that creates a bigger burden on all aspects of our environment.
Guests are encouraged to enjoy the environment, the experiences and adventures of the local area, making memories, leaving nothing but footprints. There are several electric car charging points locally for guests to use.
The Kintaline house website is hosted with Krystal, who used 100% renewable energy for their electricity servers, have a green mindset and staff awareness throughout the company.
Tourism makes a very positive contribution to our local economy, and that means supporting our finances to repair roads, provide public services, support the island communities. Managed well, we can play our part in ensuring that our guests are not adding to the local or climate burden.