Sustainable Ireland National Conference

The Sustainable Ireland National Conference took place on the 11th April in Croke Park, Dublin. The conference was about the Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on scale food producers.

After powerful speeches from four young people about sustainable food for our future, Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine took the floor and defined the SDGs and summarize what can be done and how Ireland is doing about each SDG.

Some other speakers were talking after that about SDGs in their organisations. There were information about SDGs in Ireland but also in Africa and how we can develop SGDs abroad, put in place good agriculture practices, fair trade and small scale agriculture, how Ireland is doing in term if SDGs and comparing it to other EU countries, how to improve agriculture practices in Ireland…

There were also some witnesses of farmers who decided to focus on organic food and small scale agriculture, and talks about how some organisations are doing around Ireland to improve the agricultural system.

The speeches were very interesting and showed that we need to do more for the environment and to limit climate change. We have to change our practices and behaviours. More and more farmers are trying to develop small scale agriculture and other good practices, which is one of the solutions we can put in place.

Even though it gives a negative feeling to see that Ireland is so low in term of SDGs achievement compare to other EU countries, there are many positive actions around the country that will lead the way to a more sustainable Ireland.

 

 

 

Boyle Energy Survey planned for April

Boyle Energy Survey

A major survey will be carried out in Boyle this week to see how residents use energy for heating, lighting, cooking and transport. This is being organised by Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI), who are working with IT Sligo and SEAI to see how support can be given to the town to become more sustainable, with greater energy efficiency, smaller bills and warmer homes. We are all spending a fortune in energy and not getting the best results from it, while at the same time producing thousands of tons of carbon dioxide and damaging the atmosphere. This survey will pinpoint how people in Boyle source energy, how much they are using, and how much it costs.

GEAI volunteers are working in collaboration with Abbey Community College and the goal is to survey 10% of the houses in Boyle. Teams of surveyors with local pupils will call to homes in the evenings of the first week of April with a questionnaire and hopefully, residents will be happy to cooperate.

This survey is completely confidential, we do not ask for names and no personal details will be kept. People will be amazed at how much in spent on energy in the town! We will present the results of the survey at a Seminar towards the end of May where we can come together and make plans for better energy efficiency, while reducing our carbon footprint and availing of substantial financial and mentoring supports from SEAI and other organisations. During this event, we will also show how Boyle can become a Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) with access to new funding programmes.

 

A noisy St. Patrick’s Day!

We’ve been going to rehearsals with Samboeira, a samba band in Sligo, for a while now. It took us a few weeks to get ready for St. Patrick’s Day parade. It is very rewarding for beginners like us to be able to perform in a parade! 54516582_10216101433442383_6380833762623619072_o.jpg

The parade we participated in was in Kiltimagh, county Mayo. Lovely place, and we were even lucky with the weather – it rained for only a few seconds during the parade!

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Special thanks to our “cultural attaché” Del Thorogood, who always takes us out to cultural events!

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Alexandra Peralaika

Final Climate Action Day for Drumkeeran students at the Organic Centre

The students during the tour of the Organic Centre.

Our second Climate Action Days workshop was concluded last Tuesday in the Organic Centre. What better place to reflect on all the topics covered during the days and present the results of the work done with the TY students of the Lough Allen College. In the Organic Centre, the students had the opportunity to learn about organic farming and good practices on how to preserve our environment. And since it was very sunny and warm – even if it was just the end of February – we had a lovely day outdoors!

Phil shows how to grow plants inside a polytunnel.

The students plant seeds of kale and beetroot.

After enjoying an ice-breaker with the students just before to start the tour, we met Phil Wheal that presented us the activities of the Organic Centre and guided us through the greenhouses, crops, and orchards around. Despite most of the fields were fallow and trees still empty, we had the opportunity to see flowers around so to have the first taste of spring.

Phil explains how to put the seeds in the seedling tray.

First, we went inside a polytunnel where Phil explained to us how to produce compost and why it make naturally good soil. Then he showed us different kind of plants that they grow there and finally, he involved the students in planting seeds of kale and beetroot. After filling the seedling trays with soil, they put the seeds and then watered them and let there to grow. Maybe the students won’t see the plants grow but we are sure they did a good job!

Johanna enjoys the day at the Organic Centre.

Then Phil showed us how to merge two branches in order to graft an apple tree, and he brought us in the orchard where even if it is still winter trees started to bloom. As soon as the tour was concluded we went back to Centre, where Clare Templar was waiting for us. She was in charge of the lunch, for which she cooked nice meals with organic produce. We had baked potatoes and meat, a beans soup, and a tempting colourful salad.

Joseph explains the results of the wind energy survey.

After that, the students presented the results of their projects. There were four working groups: “The Binmen” built bins to put in the school in order to collect recyclable waste; “The Turbine Turners” carried out interviews to know local people opinions about wind turbines; “Recipes from Leftovers” proposed recipes to avoid food waste; and “It’s Ofishial” explained why we should reduce plastic to avoid oceans pollution.

The group “It’s Ofishial” after their presentation.

We were very pleased to see what the students did, and we hope it was worth for them. Now we got much more experience in working with students, so we are looking forward to involving a new school!

Volunteers explore Glencar valley and waterfall

After the end of our very fun last session with students in the Organic Centre we decided to have a bit of adventure and went to Glencar waterfall. Although it’s still February, it felt like real spring! We definitely missed sunny days like this.

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The waterfall is just fabulous. There is something very special in its sounds and smells, it made us feel full of energy and joy.

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We can confidently recommend this place to anyone visiting Leitrim. The combination of mountains, water and green grass is breathtakingly beautiful.

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Being close to Sligo on such a nice day we couldn’t miss a chance to go to the beach. Strandhill looked stunning in the sunset light.

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At the end of this much needed getaway we could only say that we should do these little trips more often and explore the Irish nature to the fullest while we’re here.

Alexandra Peralaika

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