October 1, 2022

IT was Twitter, a platform crammed with hatred and hypocrisy, that put me again within the Man Mane orbit. I first got here throughout it two years in the past whereas engaged on an article concerning the scallop wars raging on the west coast of Scotland. It is an uphill battle during which the kreelers, who’ve been diving for shellfish, are up in opposition to the massive dredgers that the kreelers say are allowed to devastate our coastal setting by digging up the seabed and turning it right into a plowed subject.

Collectively together with his ex-wife and two sons, Grieve owned and operated the Moral Shellfish Firm, which provides regionally produced merchandise to markets and eating places all through Europe. He grew to become some of the vocal and vocal advocates of sustainable fisheries, a job that introduced him to the forefront of a battle during which the Scottish authorities, posing as defenders of our coastal waters, pursued the pursuits of commercial predation on a grand scale.

Covid-19 and relentless Brexit have pressured it to close down what was as soon as a thriving enterprise, however for now, these considerations needs to be put apart. A brand new environmental problem has actually landed on his doorstep, this time involving a younger Syrian household from Aleppo in search of asylum and a few form of future in Edinburgh.

“I’m as soon as once more working as a handyman for the outdated Edinburgh development agency TT Development, the place I used to be a pupil 30 years in the past. After my firm collapsed, I wanted to work—onerous work—earlier than making long-term plans.

“Whereas clearing the container, a Syrian lady with two kids, one in every of whom was translating, approached me and requested if there was something in it that she might use to furnish her dwelling.

“She invited me inside and there was nothing however a damaged sofa. It was heartbreaking. I instantly tweeted out a request for assist refurbishing this household’s dwelling.”

What adopted impressed him and confirmed how social media can be utilized as a drive for decency. Upon seeing his tweet, a whole bunch of individuals provided objects and volunteered to ship them. “Do not suppose I am going to ever recover from the unbelievable generosity and kindness of those who was showcased on Twitter final week,” he later wrote. Unforgettable and galvanizing. I wish to see extra of this. I actually, actually wish to see politicians unite our nice nation and produce out the very best in Britain. Twitter should not simply be a battle.”

Later, he gave the household a letter written in Arabic telling them what providers, together with English classes, might assist them. “It was my method of giving them some leeway whereas sustaining their dignity, which was maybe the one useful resource they might nonetheless name their very own,” he mentioned.

When the time period “adventurer” is used, you’re tempted so as to add the phrases “at lunchtime.” Nonetheless, when contemplating the lifetime of Man Mane, some other description appears half-baked. If you take heed to him discuss his journey, it appears to you that you simply lived most of your journey within the salon.

I first met him in his e-book Name of the Wild, an exquisite 2006 journal during which he spent a 12 months within the subarctic wilderness of Alaska constructing a log cabin 300 miles from the closest highway in temperatures as little as minus 60.

Journalists wish to suppose that they’ve a literary basic ready to seem on the proper time and in the suitable place. And so it was somewhat embarrassing to seek out {that a} e-book like this one, so brightly designed and elegantly written, was written by a junior advertising supervisor at The Scotsman once we had been telling our tall tales in small sighs.

“I simply reached the stage the place I felt trapped in a job that I didn’t get pleasure from very a lot, barely existed and danced to the calls for of different folks and the established norms of society. I noticed little of my household and felt that if we had been to outlive as a unit, I wanted to go away to heal.

“Juliet, my spouse, understood this, and once I returned, we started to dwell extra freely. I wished my two sons to produce other futures, and within the years main as much as the closure of the corporate, they labored alongside me.

NOW I lastly acquired to fulfill Grieve on a Wednesday evening in Glasgow. He does not appear to know what to do subsequent in his life. I inform him he at all times has choices. This man constructed a redoubt on the earth’s abyss and survived capsizing within the mountainous seas between Eire and Scotland earlier than deciding to dwell in a treehouse among the many tribes of West Africa. There have been TV applications about meals and journey on channels 4 and 5, however not sufficient to make up the earnings from the misplaced enterprise. “Ought to I climb a tiny Himalayan peak?” I ask him half in jest.

The closure of his Moral Shellfish Firm hit him onerous, and the breakup of his marriage on prime of all that could not be simple both. Nonetheless, he’s pleased with his divorce. “Juliet stays an important pal,” he says. “We divorced for £120 with out attorneys and easily requested a stranger on the road of Edinburgh to testify and signal our divorce settlement. Our Buddies Underlying [they’d known each other for several years before marrying] was too robust for bitterness or recriminations.

No matter course his life takes, Mane’s dedication to releasing the Scottish shoreline from the tyranny of the Nice Dredgers will stay unrelenting.

“Sadly, as a scallop diver for 12 years, I witnessed the destruction of coastal habitats on the seafloor day-after-day and the destruction of all 3D life related to it. Every thing has been torn down and full ecosystems decreased to the marine equal of a desert.

“I might maintain silent about the truth that our final nice wilderness is being destroyed endlessly. I’m a patriot, however not within the contaminated Americanized sense. Why ought to an entrenched minority have such a devastating impact on your complete ecosystem?”

“I am speaking about folks right here too: our life probabilities and alternatives are as linked to the shore as destroyed crab nests and torn seaweed. So long as there’s a zoo and phytoplankton, we now have hope. If the habitat is protected, the plankton will settle and the shore will heal. Complexity will return, life will overlap once more.”

Like many different nationwide and worldwide activists, he believes that Scotland’s treasured coastal setting has been sacrificed to the predatory whims of a dredging trade supported by highly effective political lobbies that dominate the Scottish authorities, selling class lies.

“By talking out, you threat being damned as a mediocre middle-class eco-warrior. This class card is their solely protection within the face of pure science and onerous financial info. Individuals in distant communities can’t communicate out, apart from a number of daredevils. And the Creelers cannot both; in the event that they did, their creels could be towed away at evening to be handed off as a “sort out battle”.

“Fergus Ewing, the previous Secretary of Agriculture, for causes one can solely guess, took the aspect of a damaging and really highly effective minority, such because the Tories, hiding in SNP clothes. He set us again years, undoing all of the progress made beneath Richard Lochhead, who was actually patriotic and actually noticed the sociological management that the dredging lobbies have.”

Maybe that is what makes him take into consideration the long run in politics. He not too long ago wrote to Anas Sarvar asking for recommendation on tips on how to proceed. “My pure dwelling needs to be the Scottish Greens, however since they began supporting the SNP all their purple traces have vanished into increased wages, greater vehicles and elevated standing. They can’t be trusted.”

There has not but been a response from the Scottish Labor chief, and I inform him that in my expertise, the principle politicians in Scotland do not likely deal with impartial thinkers very effectively.

He’s a person who appears to hunt solace and goal within the wilderness and on the sting of the abnormal. However he’s not a lone wolf. “With out the friendship that blossomed within the darkest moments of my life, I might by no means have survived.”


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