PBP Bill calls for stop to oil and gas projects

Adoption of the fossil fuels Divestment Bill

Adoption of the fossil fuels Divestment Bill – October 2018

 

Tuesday 21 May 2019, People Before Profit party has proposed a bill to remove liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other fossil fuel projects from access to fast-track planning approval.

“If we are serious about the climate emergency that was declared, it is simply unacceptable that fossil fuel companies seeking to profit from the destruction of the environment could develop infrastructure to lock us into further dependency on fossil fuels,” Mr Boyd Barrett said. 

Good Energies Alliance Ireland supports this initiative. Our “fossil fuel dependence” has to be solved by innovative and breaking solutions. We consider that it is now necessary to direct funding (public and private) towards renewable projects and low carbon economy.

 

 

 

Great news! Dáil declares climate emergency

School_Strike_for_Climate_in_Wellington_13.jpg

 Photo: David Tong, via Wikipedia Commons

An astonishing and positive step to fight climate change

GEAI is delighted to share the news that on Thursday, May 9th 2019, the Dáil voted to declare climate and biodiversity emergencyWith almost unanimous cross-party agreement, they also agreed to “accept and endorse” the blueprint for action developed by the cross-party Committee on Climate Action.  

“This is a remarkable development by our Government,” said Aedín McLoughlin, GEAI.  “Ireland is only the second country to declare such an emergency and already, across the world, we are being congratulated on this achievement.  Among the first to congratulate Ireland was famous climate activist Greta Thunberg who also pointed out that Climate Emergency means leaving fossil fuels in the ground! Good Energies Alliance is delighted with this declaration and hopes that future actions by this Government reflect the seriousness of the situation and the necessity by Ireland to show leadership.”

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, supports what is happening in Ireland:

Green Party candidate delighted

“With the major Government parties, the Green Party is fully behind the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee,” said Leslie O’Hora, director of GEAI.  “These include a target for Ireland to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the potential for communities and individuals to sell solar and other renewable energies, reform of the CAP to provide more support for diversification of small farms, a new forestry plan and a huge programme of retrofitting public buildings.  Without doubt, the time for action is now!”

The only reservation on support for the blueprint for Climate Action was from Sinn Féin, who refused to support changes in our carbon taxes regulations.

Let us hope that this declaration is not just another example of empty words by our government, but will result in true leadership by Ireland in the battle against climate change!

Mountallen Biodiversity Farm Tour

Good Energies Alliance Ireland is organising the Mountallen Farm Tour, as part of the Biodiversity Week 2019. Local Biodiversity Champion, Tommy Earley, will give a unique tour of his organic farm, which has many interesting habitats including raised bog, woodland, acidic grassland and rare flora and fauna; moths, butterflies and dragonflies to name a few. Tommy will showcase his work on farmland nature conservation.

Book your free tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/walk-on-mountallen-biodiversity-farm-tickets-61026678438

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!

FOOD AND CLIMATE CHANGE – You should start to be concerned about your diet

Climate change is now a very popular topic, and when we talk about measures to prevent it we usually think about reducing plastics, switching to green energies and electric transport, and maybe planting more trees. All really important solutions, but many of us forget that the food system is one of the major drivers of climate change. – And by the way, it’s directly connected to all those issues listed.

 

BUSINESS AS USUAL IS NOT AN OPTION

Agriculture is one of the largest contributor of greenhouse gases contributing 19 to 29% of total GHG emissions. As stated in a study published last October in the journal Nature (1) “between 2010 and 2050 […] the environmental effects of the food system could increase by 50-90% in the absence of technological changes and dedicated mitigation measures, reaching levels that are beyond the planetary boundaries that define a safe operating space for humanity.” The study calls for solutions such as more plant-based diets, improvements in technologies and management, and reductions in food loss and waste.

The topic is particularly current, given Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s declaration last week on reducing meat consumption. Without discussing the controversy arising from his statement, we believe the matter must be taken seriously because changes can not only be imposed from above but should also come from the conscious choices that each of us makes. And although much of the Irish economy is based on agriculture – and livestock farming in the Irish countryside seems to be rather sustainable – we need to think about the future of our planet.

As EPA Ireland reports, agriculture is the single largest contributor to the country’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for over 30% of the total. Ireland is a small country with a relatively small population, but emissions per person are amongst the highest of any country in the world. And if we look at meat consumption per person we can only hope for a change in our habits: we consume over twice the global average!

Also, according to another study (2) “very high calorie diets […] are associated with high total per capita greenhouse gas emissions […] due to high carbon intensity and high intake of animal products”.

through CGIAR Centers and Research Programs

through CGIAR Centers and Research Programs

 

820 MILLION PEOPLE HAVE INSUFFICIENT FOOD

In the study presented on the 17th of January by EAT-Lancet Commission in Oslo (3), twenty scientists from around the world called for the adoption of diets and food production practices to ensure that the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement would be achieved. Because, “although global food production of calories has kept pace with population growth, more than 820 million people have insufficient food and many more consume low-quality diets that cause micronutrient deficiencies and contribute to a substantial rise in the incidence of diet-related obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases, including coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes”. Researchers say that a sustainable diet should “largely consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and unsaturated oils, includes a low to moderate amount of seafood and poultry, and includes no or a low quantity of red meat, processed meat, added sugar, refined grains, and starchy vegetables”.

through The Irish Times

 

ARE YOU A FLEXITARIAN?

Here we go, vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan or flexitarian and then organic, local, something-free and so on: we are not talking about choosing more trendy diets or groceries! The problem is that we are harming the planet because of what we eat and how we produce our food (and how we transport it and sell it…). We should start to think about, to find out and to adopt sustainable habits. One of the least extreme approaches for example, is the Flexitarian diet – it is very similar to the recommendations of the EAT-Lancet Commission study – which requires a considerable reduction in the amount of meat consumed. In short, a Flexitarian is a vegetarian who eats meat occasionally.

As Oisin Coghlan from Friends of the Earth Ireland reminds us, the average Irish carbon footprint is around 12 tonnes of CO2 a year and we have to halve that by 2030 and get it down to 1 or 2 tonnes by 2050. 25% of that quantity (3 tonnes) comes from food. If you don’t eat beef and lamb it drops to about 2 tonnes, if you are a vegetarian it’s about 1.5, and if you are vegan it is lower again. So let’s start to rethink our diet and spread the word!

 

Notes
  1. Springmann et al. (2018). Options for keeping the food system within environmental limits. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/
  2. Pradhan et al. (2013). Embodied greenhouse gas emissions in diets. Retrieved from https://ccafs.cgiar.org/bigfacts/
  3. Willett et al. (2019). Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. Retrieved from https://www.thelancet.com/

 

Below you can find some diet suggestions
  • Drayer (2019, January). Change your diet to combat climate change in 2019, CNN. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/
  • Sawa (2019, January). Seeds, kale and red meat once a month – how to eat the diet that will save the world, The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/

 

Other sources

 

Nino Rizzo

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