On the eve of the UN Summit on climate change in Paris (COP21), hundreds of thousands of people marched to demand action on climate change in cities across the globe. Among the estimated crowd of 5,000 in Dublin, was a number of people who made the journey on a bus organised by Transition Monaghan, despite adverse weather conditions.
Climate campaigners from Monaghan pictured outside the Custom House at the start of last Sunday’s Climate March in Dublin.
The Dublin march began at the Custom House and meandered its way across the Liffey towards Molesworth Street, outside the Dáil. The atmosphere was light – hearted, despite the seriousness of what is at stake. Appropriately there was a good mix of all ages in attendance, highlighting that everyone has a role to play and a different perspective to bring to action on climate change. The fact that so many people turned out, not only in Dublin, but in Cork, Belfast and Galway, highlights that ordinary citizens care about the future of the climate and want strong leadership on this issue.
Once at Molesworth Street, the crowd filled the streets, where intermittent chants, cheers and sometimes jeers were heard. A number of speakers addressed the group, and gave rousing and at times emotional calls to the Irish government and world leaders to listen to the people and take strong action at these very important talks in Paris. We believe that marches like this send a very clear signal that there is an appetite for leadership. However, as Duncan Stewart remarked, despite the fact that on current trends we are headed for 5 or 6 degrees of warming, action is not happening fast enough. Lorna Gold, Policy Director for Trócaire noted that this is just the beginning. While it is expected that some progress will be made in Paris, it is not likely to be enough to stabilise emissions below the critical 2 degree level.
It is vital that the people powered momentum which has been building around the globe in recent years continues apace, and that people from all backgrounds are included in the most important movement in the history of the planet. As Oisín Coughlan, Director of Friends of the Earth, put it, this is our civil rights struggle, our suffragette movement, our anti – slavery and anti – apartheid movements all rolled into one. This is the defining issue of our generation, and how we and importantly our political and business leaders respond to this will define the future of our civilisation. While the big decisions will ultimately be made by political leaders, everyone has the power to shine a spotlight on the need for action and hold our leaders to account.
As the climate change summit continues why not write to, call or tweet our TDs reminding them of their duty to act for the millions who are being and who will be adversely affected by climate change in the future. To keep up to date with events happening locally to promote climate action and positive community based alternatives to a fossil fuel economy keep an eye on this column, visit transitionmonaghan.org or ‘like’ Transition Monaghan on Facebook.
FUNDING TO MAKE COMMUNITY-OWNED PREMISES MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT
This year Monaghan County Council arranged for funding that resulted in energy-saving work being carried out on 15 community-owned premises around the county. The project is being extended into 2016. A free energy audit of the community owned building, with no obligation will be carried out and then a grant application can be submitted to SEAI to support the cost of the works identified. For details contact Carol Lambe on firstname.lastname@example.org
MARBLE ARCH CAVES DESIGNATED AS UNESCO SITE
A recent vote at the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) General Conference in Paris has meant that three of Ireland’s world famous landscapes have been designated as UNESCO sites. Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark, Copper Coast Geopark and Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark are now all UNESCO Global Geoparks and can be regarded alongside other designations such as World Heritage Sites. The Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark was the first cross-border Global Geopark in the world. The rich geological heritage area extends across parts of Counties Cavan and Fermanagh. See http://www.marblearchcavesgeopark.com
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