This week we look at events concerning the climate change issue and the need to be prepared for the challenges it poses for this and future generations. We report on our activities at the recent Taste of Monaghan festival and look ahead to the U3A (University of the Third Age) Climate Change conference in Monaghan on Friday, 23 October and to the ‘Convergence 2015’ events around Ireland on the theme of co-operatives and sustainable livelihoods. Finally we consider the response of major NGOs to the recent ‘climate’ legislation in Ireland in the context of the upcoming and crucial Climate Talks in Paris.
The Transition Monaghan stall at the recent Taste of Monaghan Festival
Transition at ‘Taste of Monaghan’
At our stall at the Taste of Monaghan Festival we used the opportunity to talk to many different people and display information about our group and other local initiatives like GIY (Grow it Yourself). In a changing world there is a need for more community and skill-sharing and one of our main aims as a local sustainability group is to support and facilitate such initiatives.
We also showed some traditional skills and products like knitting socks and squares and examples of handmade bags and scarves from recycled materials. On the food side we invited visitors to sample our locally made sour-dough wholemeal bread, quince jam, spelt cookies and courgette cake. These hand made products were so popular that quite a few visitors asked where to buy them or wanted the recipes. A huge success was the hand operated grain mill which over the course of the day produced 600 gr of wholemeal flour that could be used for two breads the next day. We also did a survey on what people think or feel when they hear the term ‘Climate Change’. The survey results will publish here in the near future.
Our ‘skills box’, which was a collection point for local skills on offer/sought after, acted as a starting point for developing skill-sharing events, courses, networks and/or online-projects. It generated a lot of interest and we now have a great range of skills offered by members of the local community that are available to be shared among us. They range from green wood-working to beauty and make-up and from foreign languages to knitting / crochet.
Inter – generational climate conference in Monaghan
In Monaghan, a major conference on climate change is being organised for Friday, 23 October in the Four Seasons Hotel. The organisers – U3A (University of the Third Age) – have a great line up of speakers. These include Fr Seán McDonagh (theologian and author on climate change), Oisín Coughlan (Director, Friends of the Earth), Lorna Gold (Policy Director, Trócaire). There will also be activists of all ages, with representation from older and younger people’s environmental groups. It is open to members of the public, for a fee of €20, which includes a light lunch and tea / coffee. For further details and registration visit monaghanu3a.com
‘Convergence’ Festival of co – operatives and collaboration
‘Convergence 2015’ events will focus on providing ‘sustainable livelihoods’. They will take place across the island of Ireland between Tuesday, 19 & Saturday, 31 October The events vary in format and cover topics such as community ownership; co-housing; community share options; renewable energy co-operatives; co-working; community owned pubs and shops; buyers’ clubs; artist and food co-ops and the emerging collaborative economy. For details see http://www.cultivate.ie
Reaction to ‘Climate Bill’
Last week the Climate Action and Low Carbon Bill 2015 passed Dáil Éireann. This is the culmination of many years of campaigning by Irish environmental groups. It received a cautious welcome from environmental NGOs, who had called for stricter targets in legislation. The Environmental Pillar, an advocacy coalition of 28 Irish Environmental NGOs, is now calling on the Government to put in place a solid plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions across Ireland’s economy. The transition and mitigation plan, which will set out emissions reductions, is not due to be revealed for 18 months after the bill is passed. This is a long delay, and takes some of the political attention away from climate change in the upcoming election.
Trocaire, while welcoming the legislation, is calling on the Government to adhere to the principle of climate justice and to make a strong climate finance commitment to support vulnerable communities in the developing world who are already disproportionately impacted by climate change.
Preparing for Paris ClimateSummit
We need to ensure that our politicians take the climate issue seriously at national, EU and UN level especially in the run up to the all-important Climate Change summit in Paris, this December. On Sunday, 29 November, the eve of the Paris summit, you can show your concern by joining a peaceful march in Dublin being organised by the ‘Stop Climate Chaos’ network. Find out more on the ‘Dublin Climate March’ Facebook page, or keep an eye on this column. If you are interested in travelling from Monaghan to the march, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Depending on numbers interested, we may organise a bus to attend.