Recent and Upcoming Events and Campaigns Can Make a Difference
A number of groups at local and national level are making efforts to help address global challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation and global poverty. This week we look at some recent and upcoming events both locally and nationally at which groups are highlighting these issues or undertaking practical actions.
CLOGHER DIOCESAN EARTH DAY EVENT
This Saturday sees the first Clogher Diocesan Earth Day being marked at an event in St Joseph’s Pastoral Centre, Monaghan. The event from 2pm to 3.30pm is being held to mark the first anniversary of the Pope Francis’s landmark encyclical Laudato Si. ‘Caring for our Common Home’ is the theme of the encyclical and of the Monaghan event. The focus of the event will be on the issues of climate change, biodiversity loss and poverty. Short presentations will be given by Bishop Liam MacDaid, ecologist Billy Flynn and author Sr Nellie McLaughlin and will conclude with a tree planting ceremony at St Macartan’s Cathedral. All are welcome to the event which is being organised by Clogher Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation Group (JPIC). For further details tel 086 8130296.
OTHER LAUDATO SI ANNIVERSARY EVENTS
The Laudato Si encyclical was the focus of a recent seminar that I attended in Trinity College which was organised by the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. Speakers from Trocaire at the event said that the Pope’s encyclical has had a positive effect outside the Church on the discussion on climate change and it influenced the securing of the recent Paris Climate Agreement. Liam Lysaght of the National Biodiversity Centre described the decline in Ireland’s biodiversity of birds, bees, plants etc in Ireland and the loss of habitats such as our unique raised bogs. He said that reports alone won’t solve the problem – we need to reconnect more closely with the natural world. John Barry of Queen’s University Belfast said that facts on climate change and biodiversity loss are not convincing politicians and the public to treat them as urgent issues and so they don’t seek to reduce the consumption of goods and services that are causing the problem. He said that the arts have a role to play – stories, songs and film can touch people more emotionally than facts.
‘Laudato Si is the also the theme of the SMA Summer School that takes place in Dromantine Retreat and Conference Centre, Newry, from Saturday, 25 to Monday, 27 June. See http://www.cori.ie/sma-summer-school-2016 for details.
CASTLEBLAYNEY SUPPORT FOR COMMUNITY AFFECTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE
Most drinking water sources in East Pokot, Kenya have dried up due to drought. (Photo: Bóthar Appeal)
Poverty is widespread worldwide but in some place the problems are added to by climate change and people’s lives are at serious risk. A range of groups based in Ireland undertake aid work or raise money for projects in these countries. Here in County Monaghan, groups like Blayney Blades in Castleblayney organise regular events to raise funds. The proceeds of the Castleblayney group’s June coffee morning of €1,100 went to the national charity Bóthar for their work in East Pokot in Kenya. The community of East Pokot is experiencing drought for almost three years, and this donation will allow them to develop a borehole to access clean water in order to survive.
ACTIONS TO MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE
Having buildings and homes that are nearly zero energy or ‘passive’ is one way of helping to reduce emissions that are causing climate change. Owners of such buildings have the added benefit of very low monthly energy bills.
On Friday, 24 June, from 9am to 1pm the Centre for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technologies (CREST) in Enniskillen will host a Passive House Open Day in the CREST Centre. This building is one of the most energy efficient buildings in the UK and Ireland as it is Certified Passive House. For details see http://www.thecrestproject.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 048 6634 2301.
CREST’S ‘passive’ building in Enniskillen
A broader international initiative on climate change is called CapGlobalCarbon. It is a proposal for non-governmental groups to create a new global system to (a) make sure the necessary reductions in total global carbon emissions are achieved and (b) do so in a way that reduces poverty and inequality. The system would operate as a back-up to the inter-governmental negotiations. This idea has been developed by members of international think tank Feasta including some from Ireland.
Our global climate is on course for disaster. Feasta say that this is because the atmosphere is being treated as a dumping-ground for greenhouse gas emissions and there is no global regulator for keeping the vast majority of the world’s remaining fossil fuels in the ground.
Feasta recently held CapGlobalCarbon seminars in Dublin and Tipperary. They explained that to minimise the risks of irreversible climate change, CapGlobalCarbon aims to ensure that the aggregate global emissions from fossil fuels steadily decrease to zero. This would be achieved by a progressively tightening cap on fossil fuel extraction. Furthermore, revenues from the auction of extraction permits would benefit the lowest consumers of fossil fuels. This compensation could substantially alleviate poverty and reduce global inequality. By steadily and predictably reducing the global dependence on fossil fuels the process proposed by CapGlobalCarbon would also hasten a smooth transition to a zero-carbon economy.
The CapGlobalCarbon proposal is welcome but it needs political support at national and international level. For more details on CapGlobalCarbon see http://www.capglobalcarbon.org.
A list of June events can be found here