WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL AND WHY MUST WE STOP CUTTING IT?
The recent move by Eamon Ryan to ban the harvesting of peat in Ireland caused an uproar. Peat has been used for heating and cooking in Ireland for centuries. Turbary rights, which are part of Ireland’s intangible cultural heritage, have meant that people living in homesteads in rural areas have inherited a right to cut and remove turf from specific plots of peatland linked to these dwelling houses. In more recent times, peat has been used commercially in horticulture and former peatlands have been used for afforestation and in agriculture. But, when we look at peat extraction, and the damage it is doing to what is left of our wetlands, against the backdrop of climate change, biodiversity loss and carbon sequestration, it is inescapably evident that extraction practices cannot continue. The growing impact of smoky fuels on human health also cannot be ignored.
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.
Despite internal disagreement, the EU recently announced that it is proposing to classify energy from nuclear power as green. If a majority of member states back it, it will become EU law in 2023. Dermot McNally takes a look at the arguments involved and the effect this might might have on Ireland.
CURRENTLY OPEN FOR PUBLIC CONSULTATION – HAVE YOUR SAY!
Ireland’s third River Basin Management Plan is currently under development and is open for public consultation. River Basin Management Plans are pivotal tools for the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive. The Water Framework Directive is European legislation that requires our rivers, lakes, groundwater and coastal water to achieve a healthy state, or what’s known as ‘good ecological status’.Ireland’s first RBMP was published in 2009, the second was published in 2018, and the third RBMP due to cover the period 2022-2027 is in the process of being finalised. But what does all of this mean?
It’s well understood that the ever increasing demand for goods and services is fueling climate breakdown. Yet despite this advertisers go to extreme expense to convince us to spend more and more. That’s why activists and campaigners of all kinds are heaping pressure on the advertising industry (and the biggest polluters) to clean up their act. Dermot McNally investigates.
WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT AND WHAT’S HAPPENING TO THEM?
Greenland (near the North Pole) and Antarctica (South Pole) are home to most of the world’s glacial ice, including its only two ice sheets. Glaciers and ice sheets have been appearing in the news quite frequently in the past few years as they are increasingly unstable due to global warming. Just before Christmas it was reported that the Thwaites Glacier in the Antarctic, which is the widest glacier in the world and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Doomsday Glacier’, could collapse in as little as five years. Candice Moen has a closer look at our earth’s ice.
THE HISTORY OF ICE ON EARTH
There have been many ice ages on earth, most of them long before humans made their first appearance. These ice ages would have ranged from “comparatively mild” to “so severe that the entire Earth froze over for tens or even hundreds of millions of years”. Looking back over the history of these ice ages, the planet seems to have three main settings: ‘greenhouse’, when tropical temperatures extend to the poles and there are no ice sheets at all; ‘icehouse’, when there is some permanent ice, although its extent varies greatly; and ‘snowball’, in which the planet’s entire surface is frozen over. During the different greenhouse, icehouse and snowball there was ice present in various different locations across the earth’s surface.
WILL WE BE LEADERS OR LAGGARDS IN IMPLEMENTING IT?
Ireland has been described in recent years as a ‘climate laggard’ because of our country’s failure to meet commitments on EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. Recently the Irish Government launched its new Climate Action Plan. It sets out how all of us in this country will play our part in the global effort to keep global warming to less than 1.5°C.Scientists say that warming above this level will increase the risk of climate chaos and significant suffering for humanity. Liam Murtagh sets out the key elements of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan and considers what is needed to ensure that the plan is implemented successfully.
On the 6th January, 1839, 175 years ago, Co Monaghan and the rest of Ireland experienced a hurricane. The 1993 book ‘The Big Wind’ by Peter Carr describes in detail the devastation caused. The Northern Standard carried reports in its first edition which was just published just four days later. Our recent storms have not been quite as severe as the one in 1839. Nevertheless it has focused our attention on the type of weather that climate scientists are predicting that we will experience in the coming years.
MEG member and novice beekeeper Liam Murtagh says that our ecosystem including many farm crops are at risk due to the decline in the number of bees, so he is encouraging more people to consider keeping honeybees.
Top bar beehive with a removable viewing window cover
Have you seen many bees so far this year? Most likely you will have seen only a few bumble bees, as the weather has not been favourable for the honeybee. In fact many colonies of honeybees have not survived the winter and in my own case I lost one of my two colonies. Many fellow beekeepers in Ireland have had significant losses as have beekeepers throughout Europe.
On Tuesday 12th October 2019 local activists from Transition Monaghan and other groups staged a “die in” at The Diamond as a local action during Rebellion Week. A “die in” is a peaceful protest where participants lie on the ground for a period of time symbolizing humanity’s future fate if we don’t act on the climate crisis asap.