WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT AND WHAT’S HAPPENING TO THEM?
Greenland (near the North Pole) and Antarctica (South Pole) are home to most of the world’s glacial ice, including its only two ice sheets. Glaciers and ice sheets have been appearing in the news quite frequently in the past few years as they are increasingly unstable due to global warming. Just before Christmas it was reported that the Thwaites Glacier in the Antarctic, which is the widest glacier in the world and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Doomsday Glacier’, could collapse in as little as five years. Candice Moen has a closer look at our earth’s ice.
THE HISTORY OF ICE ON EARTH
There have been many ice ages on earth, most of them long before humans made their first appearance. These ice ages would have ranged from “comparatively mild” to “so severe that the entire Earth froze over for tens or even hundreds of millions of years”. Looking back over the history of these ice ages, the planet seems to have three main settings: ‘greenhouse’, when tropical temperatures extend to the poles and there are no ice sheets at all; ‘icehouse’, when there is some permanent ice, although its extent varies greatly; and ‘snowball’, in which the planet’s entire surface is frozen over. During the different greenhouse, icehouse and snowball there was ice present in various different locations across the earth’s surface.
At this time of year, we pour so much of our energy, both physical and mental, into trying to ensure a ‘perfect Christmas’ where we buy the right presents for everyone, we have the house beautifully decorated (and tidied!) and have wonderful food and drinks available for friends and family. It can be exhausting. Christmas has become “the biggest annual festival of consumption around the globe”, and has reached the point where this excessive consumption is “not just normal, it’s positively encouraged” [Jen Gale]. So, how can we reduce our impact without losing any of the spirit and joy of this special time of year? Niamh Brannigan and Candice Moen ‘unwrap’ the situation.
WILL WE BE LEADERS OR LAGGARDS IN IMPLEMENTING IT?
Ireland has been described in recent years as a ‘climate laggard’ because of our country’s failure to meet commitments on EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. Recently the Irish Government launched its new Climate Action Plan. It sets out how all of us in this country will play our part in the global effort to keep global warming to less than 1.5°C.Scientists say that warming above this level will increase the risk of climate chaos and significant suffering for humanity. Liam Murtagh sets out the key elements of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan and considers what is needed to ensure that the plan is implemented successfully.
For almost a decade, Transition Monaghan have been creating the “Sustainability Matters” column. The column has been printed on a weekly basis in the Northern Standard newspaper which circulates in Monaghan and surrounding counties. The aim of the column has always been to increase awareness and education on a range of environmental and sustainability issues of local, national and international interest. The vast archive of articles on the website are a testament to the effort involved over the years.
The Barker home place near Derryvalley, Co Monaghan is enjoying a wonderful renaissance under the thoughtful stewardship of owner (and well known Toastmaster) Charlie Barker. A few intrepid members of Transition Monaghan took a visit to see and learn how diversification and respect for nature are paying dividends. Dermot McNally explains all.
Transition Monaghan are involved in a Water Quality awareness video project on Monaghan water quality. The project is led by Siolta Chroi, supported by Transition Monaghan and funded by LAWPRO). At this stage in late 2021, a lot of the footage has been taken and a few interviews have been done. There are a few more interviews to do before the footage can be edited to make the final video.
Transition Monaghan members converged on Síolta Chroí outside Carrickmacross to see how the regenerative farm is progressing. We were blessed with a cool dry day to take the tour and chat to the owners, Karen and Gareth (also Transition Monaghan members).