A SEVERE THREAT TO BIODIVERSITY AT A CRITICAL TIME
In recent weeks in County Monaghan, there have been reports of a number of wildlife crimes being committed – examples include the dredging of stretches of river where there are nesting birds, spawning fish and otters have been seen, and the cutting/removal of non-obscuring hedgerows with mature trees. The public is advised to report wildlife crimes to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) but the organisation is in disarray and County Monaghan has not been allocated a Wildlife Ranger. With no straightforward and immediate way to bring perpetrators to justice, they are currently having the last laugh at the expense of our wildlife. The biodiversity crisis is at a critical point and this cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.
In this article, John Gibbons discusses the biodiversity crisis that is currently unfolding as species after species is lost to extinction due to global warming. Based in Dublin, John has been writing and speaking about environmental and climate-related issues for the last decade and a half. He regularly contributes to Today FM, the Guardian, the Business Post, is the person behind the http://www.climatechange.ie website and maintains a blog at http://www.thinkorswim.ie.
…a crumbled tyre is still a tyre and remains toxic, regardless of where you put it…
What is crumb rubber? Crumb rubber is made from recycled tyres – they are quite literally ground up into crumbs. These rubber crumbs are then used for a number of purposes including as the infill in artificial turf systems for sports fields. Artificial or synthetic turf has been used since the 1960s – older fields were generally comprised of hard mats of nylon grass and many athletes using these fields complained that the surface was harder than grass and caused more injuries. Newer synthetic turf fields were developed to simulate natural grass fields by using infill material to make the fields softer and by adding plastic grass on the surface. Increasingly, the infill material of choice is crumb rubber, and it can be found in the playing fields of many schools and GAA football pitches across Ireland. A FIFA report in 2017 found that in the period from 2006 to the completion of the report, 3,437 pitches had been certified with the world governing body in 149 countries. [Sam Wallace, http://www.pitchcare.com]
As part of their Transition Year programme, students from St Louis Secondary School brought their focus to a waste issue within the school – the excessive use of plastic. Using Design Thinking, they hoped to find a way to encourage other students and other people in the wider community to change their habits through achievable actions, and this fantastic calendar was the outcome. Here they tell us a bit more about the process they went through in getting to it.
Scientists have found an invasive species of alpine newt in three counties in Ireland. The amphibian has been found in five different locations in Co Offaly, Co Tipperary and Co Down. The alpine newt has the potential to have a detrimental impact on local biodiversity by acting as competition to native species, and by transmitting a disease called chytrid to native amphibian species such as the Common Frog, Smooth Newt and Natterjack toad. Chytrid has driven many species of species to extinction in the tropics.
Members of Transition Monaghan took a trip to Lough Muckno to hear from “Friends of Lough Muckno” who shared their concerns about Monaghan County Councils Vision for developing the area. The Vision created by external consultants would result in a huge impact on the landscape and risk damage to already weakened habitats and water quality.
Eat, sleep, poop, repeat – the life of a new-born baby. Babies bring with them lots of joy and sleepless nights but also what can be a fairly hefty environmental impact. It is estimated that from birth to potty training a child can go through between 4,000 and 6,000 disposable nappies which, along with the packaging they come in, generally end up in landfill or incinerators. A disposable nappy can take up to 500 years to decompose and even with improvements in materials some of the so-called biodegradable nappies can take 50 years to break down in landfill. Aside from the environmental cost, there is the financial impact of buying and disposing of nappies which can run to thousands of euro per child by the time they are toilet trained. So what’s the alternative? Sorcha McPhillips gives us an overview of some other options.
Renewable power, hidden lakes and tropical fruit! Many readers will be familiar with the fantastic playground, wooden giants and scenic walkways to be discovered in Rossmore Park. However, there’s even more to learn about this historic landscape if you have a closer look. Exploring and enjoying our own localities is an important aspect of the journey towards environmental sustainability: once we understand and are aware of what’s around us, we are more inclined to protect and preserve it. As an added bonus, you might be able to motivate the kids to go exploring (beyond the playground) if you promise hot chocolate to whoever can find the most points of interest, of which there are many. Dermot McNally takes us on a tour.
READ THIS EXAMPLE OF “AN EASIER WAY TO DO THINGS”!
On a visit to Clive Bright’s farm in Sligo in 2016, as part of a group learning about organic farming, I recall him declaring with a grin that he “considers himself a lazy farmer”. Clive clarified this viewpoint by adding: “I’m always looking for an easier way to do things”. Clive’s statement belies a true passion for farming smarter, and his approach is reaping rewards. By paying close attention to every detail, and questioning the necessity of each step in the farming process, Clive has carved out a viable market for his 100% grass-fed beef. So how does he do it? Dermot McNally shares some insights.
Could real time analysis of the Nutritional Density of the food we eat become the next great leap for food production? Clive Bright of the Organic Trust and Dermot McNally of Transition Monaghan take a look at this exciting area of science.