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Local beer to help the environment as German environmental group Ecosia and the Highland’s Black Isle Brewery team up to give fresh life to the decades-old hope of a pioneering American scientist Rachel Carson


By Scott Maclennan

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The launch of the Black Isle Brewery’s new beer called Silent Spring, inspired by the pioneering work by American scientist Rachel Carson.
The launch of the Black Isle Brewery’s new beer called Silent Spring, inspired by the pioneering work by American scientist Rachel Carson.

German environmental group Ecosia and the Highland’s Black Isle Brewery have teamed up to give fresh life to the decades-old hope of a pioneering American scientist through a tasty pale ale.

The new beer is called Silent Spring after the pioneering work published almost exactly six decades ago by marine biologist Rachel Carson. In it, she revealed the devastating impact of pesticides on the environment that contaminated the food chain and subsequent disinformation by the chemical industry of the day.

Its impact could hardly have been greater as it was credited as being a decisive factor in US President Richard Nixon’s creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 – but Ms Carson never lived to see it because she died of cancer in 1964.

The launch of the Black Isle Brewery's new beer called Silent Spring with Lawrie Wotherpoon and Sophie Dembinski.
The launch of the Black Isle Brewery's new beer called Silent Spring with Lawrie Wotherpoon and Sophie Dembinski.

Now, the brewery was inspired by Ms Carson to not just issue the beer but make sure Ms Carson’s legacy lives on by donating half of all profits to Ecosia – which uses search engine ad revenue to plant trees and restore agricultural land.

Launched at an event at the Black Isle Bar in Inverness and attended by dozens of fellow environmentalists, the new organic pale ale proved a hit and was cheerfully chugged by all – which did not distract from the underlying message.

Business development manager Lawrie Wotherspoon explained the importance of buying organic produce – including beer, saying: “We have this problem where, for most people you have beer on one hand and then you have sustainability and environmental issues and organics and the two things exist in separate spheres. So you have lots of people who go into a supermarket and fill their trolley with organic fruit and veg but by the time they get to the beer aisle, they’re just not thinking about that any more.

“That really leads me on to the partnership with Ecosia and trying to get our message out there and get people thinking about the whole spectrum of food and drink.”

Sophie Dembinski, Ecosia’s head of policy UK, said: “We were thrilled to support this project and from my side, one of the things I loved about this project was that it was about Silent Spring.

“I really loved the message not only about what they are doing with the farm itself but also the message and that breakthrough they had 60 years ago and the need to really slow down. What she’s saying, apart from the kind of need to advocate on a global level and the policy level and so on, is actually to really slow down and listen to the warning signs – so to really be aware of what we all still have to lose and what else we need to still really be fighting for, so thank you very much for your idea for this beer which is also incredibly tasty.”


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