An interview with Carole Monnier, Greyhope Bay’s latest addition to the team
“At the end of the day, our vision has now integrated sustainability at its core, meaning that we build responsibly, that our visitors will engage in responsible behaviour while onsite at our plastic neutral café and leave with a greater sense of their contribution to keeping our oceans and environment clean.”
How did you meet Fiona?
Fiona and I were introduced by a common friend because she felt that our interests and passion for the marine environment had lots of synergy. I founded the Mare Nostrum Global Initiative with my Canadian co-founder in 2017 and am always looking for opportunities to engage in plastic-neutral projects here and away. More than a year ago, I met Fiona for coffee on the beachfront and she shared her vision for Torry Battery with me. It seemed obvious that a visitor space and coffee point opening access to dolphin viewing should also be plastic neutral! When the time came to bring someone into the project, I was delighted to considered and invited to do so.
I was immediately attracted to the deep sense of community surrounding the project from it’s beginnings. Since joining Greyhope, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and hear from many people involved with local Torry community groups and Aberdeen based organisations that are excited to see the project come to life. The over riding feeling is that this project will deepen our sense and pride of place for this amazing natural heritage that we already appreciate, want to experience more of and share with others that may not even realise it’s here! I can’t agree more, as someone who has moved into the area from abroad and has fallen quite head-over-heels for it.
What has been a highlight so far?
There have been many amazing experiences and meetings so far. but if I had to choose one I would say that it was during my second week when Fiona and I took a road trip down the Scottish coast to North Berwick as part of a field trip to gather inspiration and momentum for the ‘Dolphins at the Battery’ re-vamp. This led us to The Drift, an amazing shipping container conversion perched on the cliffs south of the town with expansive views of the coastline and sea.
The place was clearly drawing a crowd and filled with smiling people, who very much like us, were in awe of the sheer beauty surrounding them. We were lucky enough to land on a bluebird day, but could easily imagine the comfort of coming in out of the weather to enjoying a hot belie and some chit-chat while taking in drama unfolding around us. And of course we couldn’t help but project our dreams for Torry Battery onto this aspirational place. The cake was good too!
The Drift container conversion in North Berwick
How do you think you contribute to the project?
On one level, I’m very happy to be contributing my communications and fundraising experience to the project. It’s been a very creative process working with Fiona and we’ve had lot of fun while building the new direction for Greyhope Bay.
On another level, I think that my passion for creating avenues for circularity has brought a new dimension that has impacted many facets the project, from the build to the outreach planned once our doors are open. We’ve gone back to the original design of the shipping container conversion and looked at ways that we can implement models of circular design and minimise new materials and carbon emmisions throughout the works, operations and end-of-life of our site.
This has led us to widening our network and has introduced us to brilliant people innovating solutions for zero-impact. One of those companies is Grant Water, a locally based company that will be providing us with a system capable of purifying rain water collected off of the centre’s roof to certified drinking standards. We’ve also met with the guys at Origin Plastics out of RGU who have developed a high precision 3D printing tool capable of printing new and useful objects out of discarded plastic and are excited to demo their technology at our centre once our doors open.
At the end of the day, our vision has now integrated sustainability at its core, meaning that we build responsibly, that our visitors will engage in responsible behaviour while onsite at our plastic neutral café and leave with a greater sense of their contribution to keeping our oceans and environment clean.
I encourage everyone with an interest in what we’re doing to visit our webpage and find out more about how they can get involved to help us raise the funds we need to make this dream a reality!
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