Polar Ice Caps

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.

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Sustainable Christmas

HOW CAN WE ‘DECK THE HALLS’ WITH LESS IMPACT?

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.

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‘Every Blooming Thing’

Every Blooming Thing’ was held last Saturday 4th of March, as a fringe event of the ongoing Castleblayney Drama Festival. Held in the beautifully refurbished Gate Lodge on the grounds of Hope Castle, the event went swimmingly thanks to our very own Liam Murtagh of Transition Monaghan at the helm.

Liam opened by talking about the evolution of man and nature. It appears that alongside the great technological advances we have seen in the last century or two, comes an unwelcome disconnection from the natural world. An afternoon such as this is a perfect chance to reflect and reawaken some of that consciousness we seem to have lost.
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Calling all spud growers and lovers Entries sought for ‘Spud Off Mór’ 2016

A celebration and get together for the potato lovers and growers of Co. Monaghan, and surrounding counties, will take place again this year in Carrickmacross. Now in its second year, we are running this event to promote awareness of the humble spud, the Transition Town movement and of course promoting GIY in a fun and friendly competitive way. The final will be on Sunday, 11 September in Deery’s Bar & Lounge, Carrickmacross at 1pm. Continue reading

Permaculture Course: June 2014

The beautiful Ballybay Wetlands Centre provided a very suitable location for a weekend of discussions and workshops on living sustainably. The sun shone on the drumlins surrounding the Dromore River, and the birds gently tweeted as Marella Fyffe, from Omagh Co. Tyrone, led Transition Monaghan’s weekend workshop on Sustainable Living Skills / Permaculture.

Participants of  the Permaculture Course at  the sunny Wetlands Centre

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Lights out for Earth Hour Saturday at 8:30pm

Solidarity for those affected by Climate Change this Earth Hour

Solidarity for those affected by Climate Change this Earth Hour

Earth Hour is a global WWF (formerly known as World Wildlife Fund) climate change initiative. It’s an event that aims to create awareness of the need for us to take responsibility to ensure a sustainable future.  In a global symbolic act, many people turn off their non-essential lights for the hour from 8:30 to 9:30pm local time.  Some people enjoy Earth Hour with a candle-lit dinner or a party.  Earth Hour started off as a lights-off event in Sydney in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide.

The interchurch organisation ‘Eco-congregation Ireland’ suggests ‘’a special candle-lit service with ‘care for creation’ as the theme, or a silent prayer vigil to remember all the species (animal, bird, plant & fish) that have become extinct as a result of human’s actions.’’  Alternatively, they suggest hosting ‘’a LOAF meal using Locally-produced, Organically-grown, Animal-friendly and Fairly-traded ingredients or even just a get-together with Fairtrade refreshments and perhaps include some star-gazing.’’

Arrival of the Swallows

I spotted two swallows flying over Castleblayney on Sunday last (23 March). Swallows are now arriving much earlier than in the 1980s and this trend is being attributed to climate change. However if the weather over the next few weeks turns cold, some of this year’s early arriving swallows may perish.

Recording the arrival of Spring in Ireland is of particular interest to Primary school pupils, many of whom log their sightings of six species at www.greenwave.ie. In the process they help fulfill the award of ‘Science and Maths Excellence’. Across Europe many children and adults record sightings of certain migrating birds at www.springalive.net.

Food for thought at “Celebrating Transition” at Ballybay Wetlands

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L – R: Liam Murtagh, Monaghan Ecological Group Committee Member, Mícheál Callaghan, co – founder, Davie Philip, Cultivate (Guest Speaker). Photo by Amie Hynes Fitzpatrick.

Over fifty people from across County Monaghan, and further afield, gathered, on Friday last, in Ballybay Wetlands Centre for “Celebrating Transition”, a social & networking evening organised by Monaghan Ecological Group. Attendees, who represented a wide range of organisations, discussed and shared ideas, participated in informative break – out sessions and enjoyed a locally sourced buffet. The goal of the evening was to introduce people to the work and ethos of Monaghan Ecological Group, bring together local organisations and individuals working in the area of local sustainability and create a platform from which to build a strong movement for a positive, resilient future for County Monaghan.

The evening opened with an overview of the history of the Ballybay Wetlands Centre and its current work from chairperson of Ballybay Development Association, Brian Norton. Mícheál Callaghan, co – founder of Monaghan Ecological Group, gave a welcome address, in which he gave an overview of the context in which Monaghan Ecological Group was founded, its current work, and ethos. He stated that it was a community based, Transition Initiative, which “works to strengthen the local economy, reduce our impact on the environment, and build community resilience.” It does this through running regular information and networking evening events, media work and practical local projects. He stated that the Group is part of the Transition Town Network, which was founded in 2005 in response to the interconnected social, economic and environmental problems we face today. He stressed that Monaghan Ecological Group is a new community led initiative that is continuously building relationships with local authorities, businesses, organisations and individuals, and that Monaghan Ecological Group “always welcomes new members and ideas.”

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L-R: Mícheál Callaghan, co – founder Monaghan Ecological Group; Mayor Seán Conlon, Monaghan County Council; Davie Philip, Cultivate (Guest Speaker). Photo by Amie Hynes Fitzpatrick.

Davie Philip, manager of the Community Resilience Programme at Cultivate, and co – founder of Sustainable Projects Ireland, gave a presentation on the evening which focused on the theme of resilience. He stated that the times we are living in present challenges on many levels, but that they also represent a “once in a species opportunity” for change and that we should not “let a good crisis go to waste”. His presentation began with a screening of his short film “Surfing the Waves of Change.” The video which states that our current lifestyles are under threat due to shrinking oil supplies and climate change, stresses the importance of resilience at personal, community and global level. He stated that resilience is the ability to withstand and respond to pressure and stress in times of change and upheaval. He spoke of the efforts of the Transition movement to build community resilience, through uniting people, building social capital and enabling communities to do more for themselves at local level. Davie, who is originally from Scotland, spoke of the importance of community support and said that the sense of community togetherness and pride of place and heritage, which is key to resilience, really struck him when he moved to Ireland. He said that groups such as Monaghan Ecological Group, GIY, Tidy Towns and other community organisations are key to harnessing this community spirit to bring about the kind of social change needed for a future with less oil. At the end of Davie’s presentation, his message was simple and clear: “Go for it!”

Following the presentation by Davie, participants had the opportunity to hear more about the ethos and projects of Monaghan Ecological Group in three, concurrent break – out sessions, which lasted for ten minutes. Mícheál Callaghan built upon the theme of resilience from Davie’s speech, and spoke about how the Transition ethos can be implemented in Monaghan. County Mayor, Seán Conlon, who attended this break out, encouraged people who have ideas for projects, to approach the local authorities, as they are very willing to help community initiatives. Ciarán Fitzpatrick, founder of LETS Trada and Monaghan Ecological Group member, gave an over view of how they are working to establish a Local Exchange Trading System in the Clones region. He stated that this system, which allows people to trade by building up LETS credit, without using Euro, would be a real asset in difficult economic times. Margaret Palmer, a local herbalist, gave an overview in the third break out session, of a project she hopes to roll out, which will capitalise on the health, economic and ecological benefits that herbal medicines and remedies can offer.

Monaghan Ecological Group is extremely grateful to everyone who attended the event and helped out in anyway. We would like to acknowledge the support it received from Monaghan County Council’s Community Development Fund 2013 and Wave Change Social Enterprise programme. All food on the night was generously made available by the following local producers and suppliers: Camphill, Ballybay; Mulberry Meadow Farm, Clontibret; Charley Meats, Monaghan; Bumble Beez, Monaghan. We are also very thankful for all the help we received from the staff at Ballybay Wetlands Centre in the run up to the event and on the evening itself.

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L-R: Dearbhla Lenehan, Monaghan Ecological Group co – founder; Margaret Palmer, Committee Member & Local Herbalist; Liam Murtagh, Committee Member. Photo by Amie Hynes Fitzpatrick

If you would like more information or would like to get involved with the work of Monaghan Ecological Group please contact Mícheál on 086 3483896 or e-mail monecogroup@gmail.com. You can keep up to date with its work and events on Facebook (Monaghan Ecological Group) and at http://www.monecogroup.wordpress.com

Successful evening at “Celebrating Transition” (Aug 2013)

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L – R: Liam Murtagh, Monaghan Ecological Group Committee Member, Mícheál Callaghan, co – founder, Davie Philip, Cultivate (Guest Speaker). Photo by Amie Hynes Fitzpatrick.

Over fifty people from across County Monaghan, and further afield, gathered, on Friday 23 August, in Ballybay Wetlands Centre for “Celebrating Transition”, a social & networking evening organised by Monaghan Ecological Group. Attendees, who represented a wide range of organisations, discussed and shared ideas, participated in informative break – out sessions and enjoyed a locally sourced buffet. The goal of the evening was to introduce people to the work and ethos of Monaghan Ecological Group, bring together local organisations and individuals working in the area of local sustainability and create a platform from which to build a strong movement for a positive, resilient future for County Monaghan.


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