SUSTAINABILITY NEWS

Greennews.ie, which is supported by the Environment Pillar and the Irish Environment Network IEN, has regular reports on developments relating to the Irish environment and sustainability. Some of its stories relating to climate change are mentioned below along with some news from other sources.

 Climate Change

On the recent deliberation of the Citizens Assembly it has two reports. The first is,

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Elaine Nevin, the new Chair of the National Dialogue on Climate Action Advisory Group

Citizens Assembly: Irish state failing to lead in tackling climate change’ while the second is entitled, Citizens’ Message is Clear – Government must lead on climate action’. A claim that it is ‘crazy’ to subsidise peat-fired electricity, was made by the Chair of Climate Change Advisory Council, Professor John Fitzgerald at the recent Environment Ireland conference is carried by Green News. It also has an item which reports that Minister for Environment Denis Naughten has appointed Elaine Nevin as the new Chair of the National Dialogue on Climate Action Advisory Group. Ms Nevin has been the National Director of ECO-UNESCO Ireland, a leading Irish environmental education and youth organization.

The An Taisce Climate Ambassador Programme of An Taisce is continuing to seek applications from students. Finally the EPA has an upcoming lecture in Communicating Climate Change. See details of the last two items in the Noticeboard below.

Waters and Communities Top Award to Emyvale

Congratulations to Emyvale Tidy Towns for winning the overall national award for the ‘Waters and Communities’ in the 2017 National Tidy Towns Competition. The Waters and Communities Award was a new Special Category award for 2017. It aims to encourage communities to get more involved with their local waterbodies by helping to preserve, promote and fully utilise their local natural heritage. Community groups who have shown an appreciation for their water environment and water heritage in general are considered (examples include: clean ups; provision or upgrading of amenities; support to biodiversity; promotion of fishing; awareness raising; etc.). This award is sponsored by Inland Fisheries Ireland, Waterways Ireland and the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office and is open to all community groups to apply.

Noticeboard for October can be found here

Deep Ecology workshop for Castleblayney

Places available at unique and timely workshop  

Transition Monaghan are holding a Deep Ecology workshop on Saturday 21st

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Kathryn McCabe, Workshop facilitator

October from 10am – 2pm in the Lough Muckno Gate Lodge, Castleblayney. This workshop aims to bring together like minded people who actively seek to make a positive impact on the environment and in their community. It is a step towards making a change for the better in our world.





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Native Tree Seed Collecting and Sowing Demo

Pictured at a native tree seed collecting and sowing workshop in Castleblayney. John McKeon runs regular native tree seed collecting and sowing demonstrations. Get in touch with us to enquire when the next event is coming up.

 

Tolerance for Climate Change Denial is Running Out

Ireland has “failed spectacularly on climate change”, Joe Curtain of UCC summing

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Dermot McNally

up our track record to date. However, as Dermot McNally writes, on an optimistic note we’ve moved beyond debating if climate change is happening to a widespread acknowledgment of the science and the dangers.

This gradual shift in accepted opinion which culminated in Ireland’s ratification of the Paris Accord and now the inclusion of the issue in the Citizens’ Assembly is critical: it allows Irish activists and concerned citizens to tackle the problem rather than waste time debating the need for action with sceptics and vested interests in the first instance. And the same pattern is happening across the world.

 CLIMATE DENIERS BEING REFUSED PLATFORM

It’s noticeable that climate change deniers are being refused a platform on mainstream radio and in newsprint to contradict the overwhelming scientific consensus – such rhetoric is mostly confined to online debate websites and to extreme publications. Nowadays climate change denial is personified by the likes of Donald Trump and in Ireland by the likes of Danny Healy Rae. At best their opinions are lampooned and contradictory which does little for the popularity of their viewpoint. A recent example during Hurricane Irma involved the US denier Rush Limbaugh. After telling radio listeners that warnings about the storms severity were a scam to promote a climate change “agenda” and boost bottled water sales, he hypocritically took flight to a safer location to ride out the threat.

CELEBS SPEAK OUT

On the other hand high profile individuals are lining up to urge decisive action: the US withdrawal from Paris led to a stream of celebrities and business moguls to fiercely criticise the decision. Advisers appointed by Trump to committees resigned seats in protest while many Senators and Governors openly rebelled insisting they would implement the necessary measures to reduce carbon in their states. In the last few weeks Pope Francis has predicted that history would judge those who stand idly by.

Celebrities are also wading in: Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar opportunism led to one of the largest search spikes in Google ever recorded (for terms surrounding climate change). And at a recent charity telethon for the victims of the Houston flooding both Stevie Wonder and Beyoncé criticized the blindness of those who refuse to believe that the problem is real. The combined effect of such intervention and indeed of the recent hurricanes is that Republican voters in the US are growing increasingly concerned about climate change. A sign of things to come perhaps.

 LEGAL ACTION HAPPENING

Journalists and Opinion writers are calling for legal action: in the Outline, Brian Merchant writes “In the wake of Harvey, it’s time to treat science denial as gross negligence—and hold those who do the denying accountable…” He explains how Mike Talbott, former head of Houston’s flood control district refused to engage with climate science. His department allowed over 7000 homes to be built in low lying areas vulnerable to flooding. The journalist goes on to argue how the action of such representatives falls within the definition of criminal negligence within the Texas Penal Code. It’s not as far fetched as you might think: a group of 21 youths have taken the American government to court for failing to protect them from Climate Change. Similarly a coalition of flooded homeowners sued Houston in 2016 (for damages arising from earlier flood water damage), alleging negligence and its likely many more will follow.

Newspapers are highlighting the wilful ignorance of elected representatives (such as Rick Scott, Governor of Florida) who are refusing to factor climate change risks into their strategies. Scott was brought to infamy in 2015 by the Florida Centre for Investigative Reporting for discouraging state employees from using terms such as “climate change” and “global warming” in official documents.

Money Talks

And finally it’s said that money talks and so it’s noticeable that analysts are now predicting that Big Oil will face the same avalanche of lawsuits that hit Big Tobacco in the 1990’s. Their tactics are being compared: “Both knew that their products were harmful, both hired the same public relations firms, both funded the same scientists to deliver pre-determined results disguised as independent research and both lied to the public…”

So it’s clearly becoming harder and harder to be a denier and not be challenged, either directly or by the weight of public opinion and the emerging consensus. And while action far outweighs the benefits of words, this shift is a critical step in the painstakingly slow fight to protect human kind from its greatest enemy – itself.

October noticeboard can be found here

Deep Ecology Workshop – Sat 21st Oct, 10AM 2017

ecology bannerWe are hosting a Deep Ecology Workshop on Saturday the 21st of October from 10AM-2PM in Hope Castle Gate Lodge, Lough Muckno, Castleblayney.  Tickets cost €12 and include a hot meal and some snacks.  Please click here or on this link (https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/deep-ecology-workshop-tickets-38606902284?aff=efbeventtix) to register for this event.

This Workshop aims to bring together like minded people who actively seek to make a positive impact on the environment and in their community. It is a step towards making a change for the better in our world. The workshop will be facilitated by social ecologist, Kathryn Mc Cabe in collaboration with Transition Monaghan.

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Apple-Pressing Event Sep 2017

by Laura Hannon

Our apple-pressing event held last Saturday 23rd September 2017 in the Community Gardens in Castleblayney could not have gone better. There was a great turn out of people on the day and everyone contributed to getting through the tremendous amount of apples we ended up with. Between washing, pulping, pressing and bottling there were plenty of jobs to go around and everyone certainly pulled their weight.

We held the event as a part of the ECOLISE European Day of Sustainable Communities and following the success of the day we would be confident that there is certainly a network within the county of Monaghan that could really hold their own in terms of self sufficiency and sustainability. In times of such ecological uncertainty this is a reassuring determination.

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Be a climate ambassador in your school, college or community

A scheme to find a new generation of climate ambassadors from across schools, climate ambassadorcampuses and the wider community in Ireland has been launched by An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland. This is an opportunity for individuals to avail of training and then engage with others in actions that will have a positive impact locally and globally on the greatest challenge facing humanity.    

The new Climate Ambassador Programme, run by An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit, was launched last week. This exciting new programme focuses on identifying individuals in schools, campuses and the wider community who will work as ambassadors for climate change. The programme is open to everyone and its organisers hope to find “people from all walks of life” who are working to make “positive change in their communities”.  Following training, Ambassadors will be invited to undertake actions to make their school, campus or community more resilient to climate change.

12 MONTH PROGRAMME

The programme will run for 12 months, with Ambassadors receiving support from An Taisce’s Climate Action Office. There will also be opportunities to Ambassadors to meet up throughout the programme and share and learn from each other’s experiences.

According to Gary Tyrrell, An Taisce’s Climate Action Officer, the Ambassador Programme “aims to increase awareness of the causes of climate change” and inform people as to what they can do to address the problem. “Through community engagement, the new Ambassadors will play their part in building sustainable Irish communities ready to meet the challenges of a changing climate,” he added.

Commenting on the launch of the new programme, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, T.D., said that the programme will “play a significant part in how we as a country try to deal with climate change”. There is a link to a short video of the Minister’s message at http://www.greennews.ie

“Ireland is vulnerable to the effects of climate change and the impacts are serious: more storms, rising sea levels and changing weather,” he said. “A key goal for the Ambassadors is to increase awareness of the causes and outcomes of climate change. They will also undertake a number of actions to make their school, campus or community more resilient to climate change by improving their local environment.” To find out more about the programme, how to apply and what actions you can take, please visit: http://www.climateambassador.ie. Also see http://www.facebook.com/ClimateAmbassador.

The new programme is one of four initiatives being funded by Mr Naughten’s department in partnership with An Taisce’s Green Schools National Climate Action and Awareness Programme. The other three are: Climate-change teacher training, a Climate Action Week and a schools Climate Expo, and are also scheduled to take place over the next year.

October noticeboard can be found here