Living Sustainably

After the recent extreme weather events experienced here and in Britain there is now a lot of focus on the need for all of us to live more sustainably so that we don’t have runaway climate change and other ecological and social catastrophes. Sustainable living involves finding the right balance between utilising resources and protecting the planet. Some of the key elements of sustainable living involves reducing our carbon footprint and this has implications for many aspects of our lives including   what we eat, the energy we use to heat our homes, our means of travel etc.  There are many training course and initiatives in which we can participate that will give us skills to live more sustainably. This week we look at some of these in Ireland.

Participants getting hands-on practice in the polytunnel while on an organic gardening course at the Organic Centre, Co Leitrim

Participants getting hands-on practice in the polytunnel while on an organic gardening course at the Organic Centre, Co Leitrim

The area of growing and marketing local food has some local initiatives such as GIY, farmers markets,  community gardens  and allotments and from time to time various training courses supported by agencies such as VECs/new Education and Training Boards.  An Taisce’s ‘Green Schools’ initiative has been very successful initiative in promoting sustainability among young people in schools. ‘Transition Town’ initiatives promote sustainability at a community level.  There are a number of other organisations throughout Ireland that deliver a range of courses on sustainable living topics.

The Organic Centre is a non profit organisation set up in 1995, with the aim of providing public education, training and information about organic growing and sustainable living. The Centre is located on a 19 acre site in Rossinver, Co Leitrim, Ireland, and it has outreach centres in Co. Clare and Co. Wicklow. As well as a selling organic seeds it the Centre runs courses on organic horticulture and gardening, green building, alternative energy, and artisan food production. Its 2014 programme of courses begins on 22nd February. See http://www.theorganiccentre.ie

Sonairte, Laytown, Co Meath also known as the Ecology Centre is an interactive visitor centre promoting ecological awareness and sustainable living as well as running course in topics ranging from beekeeping to foraging for wild food and organic gardening. See www.sonairte.ie

Cultivate is a practical sustainability organisation focused on active education and has  facilities in Dublin and Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary.  The centre  aims to “equip people torespond to the twin issues of energy vulnerability and climate change by providing access to the knowledge and tools that cultivate sustainable lifestyles and resilient communities. respond to the twin issues of energy vulnerability and climate change by providing access to knowledge that cultivate sustainable lifestyles and resilient communities”. Cultivate programmes include courses on green building and community resilience.  It also runs courses on permaculture. Permaculture has been defined by its founder Bill Mollison  as  “a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.“ See http://www.cultivate.ie respond to the twin issues of energy vulnerability and climate change by providing access to the knowledge and tools that cultivate sustainable lifestyles and resilient communities.

… respond to the twin issues of energy vulnerability and climate change by providing access to the knowledge and tools that cultivate sustainable lifestyles and resilient communities.

Cultivate programmes include:

… respond to the twin issues of energy vulnerability and climate change by providing access to the knowledge and tools that cultivate sustainable lifestyles and resilient communities.

Cultivate programmes include:

ECO-UNESCO is Ireland’s Environmental Education and Youth Organisation. It is a non-profit organisation providing practical environmental education services to young people, youth groups, schools and interested individuals. Its courses are delivered at its premises which are in the Greenhouse, St Andrew’s Street, Dublin. ECO-UNESCO’s Young Environmentalist Awards is an all-Ireland environmental awards programme that recognises and rewards young people who raise environmental awareness and improve the environment, be it in their school, community or even further afiel. See http://www.ecounesco.ie.

Other centres that run courses on sustainable living include:

–          CELT Centre for Environmental Living, Co Clare (www.celtnet.org)

–          The Hollies (Co Cork) http://www.the hollies.ie

–          Irish Seedsavers (Co Clare) www.irishseedsavers.ie

For a listing of other environmental organisations, see the membership listing of the Irish Environmental Network at http://www.ien.ie

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