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.
At this time of year, we pour so much of our energy, both physical and mental, into trying to ensure a ‘perfect Christmas’ where we buy the right presents for everyone, we have the house beautifully decorated (and tidied!) and have wonderful food and drinks available for friends and family. It can be exhausting. Christmas has become “the biggest annual festival of consumption around the globe”, and has reached the point where this excessive consumption is “not just normal, it’s positively encouraged” [Jen Gale]. So, how can we reduce our impact without losing any of the spirit and joy of this special time of year? Niamh Brannigan and Candice Moen ‘unwrap’ the situation.
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.
Transition Monaghan are involved in a Water Quality awareness video project on Monaghan water quality. The project is led by Siolta Chroi, supported by Transition Monaghan and funded by LAWPRO). At this stage in late 2021, a lot of the footage has been taken and a few interviews have been done. There are a few more interviews to do before the footage can be edited to make the final video.
Transition Monaghan members converged on Síolta Chroí outside Carrickmacross to see how the regenerative farm is progressing. We were blessed with a cool dry day to take the tour and chat to the owners, Karen and Gareth (also Transition Monaghan members).
Transition Monaghan members went on a tour of growers in Cavan – one at CAMCAS, a social enterprise with Community Garden and learning space in Ballyconnell: Barry Kavanagh grower, tutor and landscape gardener welcomed members. The second destination was The Patch near Kilnaleck where visitors helped planting windbreaks and fruits trees. The article below (published in the Northern Standard) looks specicifically at the commercial grower Tirloch O’Brien.
Teagasc in association with the Organic Trust occasionally run open days at selected farms throughout Ireland to showcase best practice. It also allows prospective organic farmers to network and learn from those who are “walking the walk”. Two Transition Members went along on the day and the following article (printed in the Northern Standard) gives a flavour of what they saw on the farm tour.
Monaghan newest start-up: the Irish Organic Mill
Few farmers have escaped the endless challenge of rising costs, falling prices and increased regulation. However in an effort to increase viability, two innovative Monaghan Farmers are teaming up to launch a new venture under the brand name, Irish Organic Mill. The Irish Organic Mill will serve the niche but growing market for stoneground baking flour. They hope to launch in 2021. Dermot McNally spoke to one of the two farming entrepreneurs to find out more.
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.
As Spring approaches and our hedgerows are about to burst forth into growth, experienced hedge layer John McKeon considers the value of our hedgerows and how we should look after them. John is a committee member of the Hedge Laying Association of Ireland and he will be running a one day training course on hedge laying in Castleblayney on Saturday 8th February. Tel 087 1462790 for details.
Eamon Mc Loughlin of the Hedge Laying Association of Ireland secures a newly laid hedge with traditional wooden gabhlógs at a hedge laying demonstration.
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.