Bord na Móna search for ‘Sustainability Heroes’

Bord na Móna is searching for Sustainability Heroes around Ireland who are doing their bit to live sustainably, in a variety of different ways. It can be something small, like recycling or composting at home, or making a community or business wide effort to lead the change. Four winning entrants will be invited to a special Today FM Dermot & Dave Show broadcast live from the Bord na Móna Naturally Driven Café. To enter: 1. Like the Bord na Móna Facebook page. 2. Describe what you or your community is doing to live more sustainably or nominate someone you know who is making a special effort.  For more details of the competition check the Bord na Móna Facebook page.

While this Bord na Móna initiative might on the one hand be welcomed, in that it promotes sustainability, there are on the other hand, concerns which have been raised in relation to the unsustainability of Bord na Móna’s core activity – the extraction of peat from Ireland’s landscape. Peat is a carbon rich and biodiversity rich material. Last year the climate campaigner John Gibbons published an article entitled Bord na Móna: of strip-mining and greenwashing’ on his blog ‘www.thinkorswim.ie’. In it he criticised Bord na Mona’s the company’s ‘Naturally Driven’ campaign. He said: “Bord na Móna’s corporate rebranding as ‘Naturally Driven’ is an exercise in cynicism. It pedals empty PR slogans in place of genuine reform of what could well be Ireland’s single dirtiest, most polluting and ecologically damaging organisation

Carrickmacross Art Festival sustainability event Aug 2017

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Pictured above are some of those who attended a workshop on global justice issues as part of the Carrick Arts festival. Transition Monaghan linked in with the organisation Development Perspectives to run the event. The workshop is part of the Sustainable Development Goals Challenge (#sdgchallenge). For more information on this and other workshops check us out http://www.developmentperspectives.ie or on Facebook or Twitter.

Environmental Protection in our Constitution?

the citizen assemblyThe Citizens’ Assembly must call for a referendum to give a constitutional right toenvironmental protection to the people of Ireland, says the country’s leading environmental coalition. The Environmental Pillar – a coalition of 26 national environmental organisations – outlined its view in a submission for the Assembly’s upcoming session on ‘How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change.’

 environmental pillarAccording to the Environmental Pillar the Citizen’s Assembly now has an unparalleled opportunity to use its unique position to propose amendments to the constitution and fill the gap left by Government inaction on climate change. The statement from the Groups says that giving the people the constitutionally protected right to live in a healthy environment would encourage politicians to take real long-term actions and ensure that those actions are not diluted with the change of guard at Dáil Éireann every five years. They claim that a constitutional amendment “is the only way to ensure we drop our embarrassing moniker of climate laggard and move up the international leaderboard.”

A number of spokespeople for the Environmental Pillar have indicated their backing for the call for a referendum. Donna Mullen, spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar, and a former cardiac physiologist for 25 years said: “This constitutional approach will yield benefits to our economy, society, and most importantly, health. Already 1,200 people are dying prematurely from air pollution in Ireland each year, with over 150,000 deaths across the globe already attributed to climate change every year.

John Sweeney, Emeritus Professor at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and a

John sweeny

John Sweeney, NUI Maynooth

spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar added his voice: “Every Irish government since 1990 has endorsed the findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the serious implications of climate change. Yet the State has failed to deliver a meaningful response. This shift is needed now more than ever. Without action today, Ireland will soon suffer the impacts of climate change such as increased flooding, sea level rise, increased storm intensity, and summer drought.”

Attracta Uí Bhroin, Facilitator of the Environmental Law Implementation Group at the Irish Environmental Network also voiced her support: “Yes, there are some specific climate actions across key sectors which are needed, but the task before us as a nation with our assembly of citizens calls for a paradigm shift in Ireland’s approach to climate change. Let’s use tools which have proven themselves as effective mechanisms to guide our courts and our legislature across many issues – let’s use the Constitution to set the bar for environmental protection essential to climate action.”

On the weekends of 30th September & 4th November, the Citizens’ Assembly will deliberate on the topic of ‘How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change. The Assembly’s recently call for submissions from the public on the climate issue closed on Friday last. The submissions can be viewed http://www.citizensassembly.ie

Events on in August and September can be found here