A New Climate for Education – an important Seminar

Last Friday, at the Teacher’s Club in Dublin, a seminar “A New Climate for Education“ was held, to discuss how Climate Change and sustainability are incorporated into schools curricula. This was organised by Green Foundation Ireland, Cultivate, GEAI and ECO – UNESCO.

Aedín McLoughlin, Director of Good Energies Alliance Ireland and the GEAI EVS volunteers attended this event.  During the morning there were really interesting presentations from the ecologist and TV presenter, Duncan Stewart; Breda Naughten from Dept. Of Education; and Peadar Kirby, Professor Emeritus at the University of Limerick. Young people had an opportunity to express their views and time was given for discussion on how best to implement climate change studies in schools.

The most memorable quotes that we took away with us included:

An increase in temperature of three and a half degrees is going to make our planet uninhabitable, and we need to get this information into the schools. We’re on borrowed time. We’re taking young people’s future, it’s a serious situation.” (Duncan Stewart)

“Are we sowing the seeds of new values, new energies, new questing people? Or are we conforming to the system?” (Peadar Kirby)

“I think the most important thing is that we don’t make anything worse. Each euro spent in an investment in the world we live in.” (Ben Mallon)

Also memorable was the great contribution by young people to the discussion.

You can find more information about the event itself here.

Time to celebrate the fracking ban!

On Saturday 14th October at the Ballroom of Romance in Glenfarne, Co. Leitrim, there was a hectic and vibrant atmosphere with people gathering from all around Ireland to celebrate the outstanding outcome represented by the ban of hydraulic fracturing activities on the Irish soil. While approaching the location of the party, one could admire the sparkling Love Leitrim’s Heart lit on the hill in the darkness giving a strong signal of hope to the rest of the world.

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The Leitrim’s Heart (Ph. Love Leitrim)

The six-year-long campaign has been difficult, putting considerable strain on people involved in it. However, looking at people’s faces there is no doubt that very effort was worth to be made. International activists Julia Walsh from New York and Helmut Fehr from Germany joined the party and gave speeches on how Ireland’s fight and victory against fracking has inspired them to keep pursuing their own campaigns.

Entertainment was provided by the well-renowned Kila Band, followed by Stephen Murphy’s touching poetry and the performance of Three Speaking Monkey and The Mullies Crowd and, lastly, the 70’s disco.

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Kila members performing

GEAI members and EVS Volunteers who attended the party would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Love Leitrim, which did a fantastic job in setting up the lovely venue!

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EVS Volunteers at the Global Frackdown party

 

EVS Volunteers at the International Climate Change and Health Conference

On Friday 22th September our EVS Volunteers attended the international conference on “Climate Change and Health: the Challenges and Opportunities” which took place at the National University of Ireland in Galway.

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During the morning various speakers presented different aspects of the interconnectivity between direct and indirect impacts of a changing climate and the human population dynamics. For instance, in the future we will assist to an increase of malnutrition among children living in countries largely exposed to severe and extreme climate events such as floods, droughts and heatwaves as well as the increase of mental illnesses and other diseases which could emerge from these types of phenomena.

Dr. Nicholas Watts, the Lancet Countdown, highlighted how climate change can potentially undermine the progress made in global health during the last 50 years and the response to it can be the greatest challenge of the 21st century.  Joni Pegram, Senior Climate Change Policy and Advocacy Adviser for UNICEF UK, emphasised how child rights are being very often overlooked in national and international climate policies and vice versa.

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John O’Neill, Department of Communication, Climate Action and Environment, illustrated the institutional and policy framework on climate change at national level and the key role that the local authorities are called to play at local level in the fight to climate change. Lastly, Dr. Ina Kelly of the NHS Midlands pointed out the importance to build a climate-resilient health infrastructure and to be prepared for extreme events with appropriate planning.

Dr. Watts reminded us that “whether we move from climate change as a threat to an opportunity is not a technological or economic question anymore but it is entirely political”. The time to act is now!

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SMART ENERGY ACTION LOCALLY!

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GEAI volunteers on their way to do an Energy Survey

 

Energy surveys have been carried out in Carrick-on-Shannon, Drumshanbo, Ballinamore and Carrigallen (Leitrim); in Grange (Sligo) and Ballyshannon (Donegal) this summer, as part of the NECS project organised by Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) and I.T. Sligo.  Six Smart Energy Action events are now organised for the target towns and all are welcome.

The events will take place as follows:

Carrick-on-Shannon on Tuesday 12th September in Bush Hotel, 10am – 2pm.
Drumshanbo on Thursday 14th in Áras Padraig, 10am – 2pm .
Grange on Friday 15th in the Temperance Hall, 10am – 2pm.
Carrigallen on Monday 18th in the Old Schoolhouse, 10am to 2pm
Ballinamore on Tuesday 19th in the Scouts Den, 10am – 2pm.
Ballyshannon on Thursday 21st in the Breesy Centre, 10am – 2pm.

Each event will include

  • Case Studies
  • Results of the Energy Survey
  • Discussions on clean energy schemes and funding and
  • The way forward for each town.

All events are free and refreshments and lunch are included.  All welcome.

For further details, please contact GEAI at 087 2382324.

How history was made in front of our eyes as we went to the Dail to witness the vote to ban fracking

After six years of campaigning against fracking in Ireland, GEAI members finally saw the impact of their action and of the commitment of the many people who joined the fight. On Wednesday the 31th of June, between 10am and 12am, TDs gathered in the Dail to unanimously agree on banning Fracking from Ireland. And GEAI members were there to witness it.

Aedin McLoughlin, Liam Breslin, Eddie Mitchell and two of our EVS volunteers drove to the Dail to see it happen with their own eyes. It was a great opportunity for our European volunteers to discover for the first time Ireland’s political institutions and system. Ingrid – our French volunteer – had been with us for almost four months but it was her first time in the Dail whereas Bruno – our brand new volunteer from Spain – got to witness this event on his very first day in Ireland!

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As the discussion went on about the several amendments, Aedin explained who were the different politicians speaking and the parties they were from so that the volunteers would be able to understand what was happening, especially when the matter of whether or not offshore shale gas exploitation should be included in the ban or not was brought on.

The EVS volunteers thought it was thrilling to see the actual arguments and votes go on in front of their eyes as well as discovering the building where it took place and meeting people committed to the same cause as them. They shared the excitement of the room when the ban was finally voted five minutes before the meeting deadline.

Some people had a hard time sitting still while the clock was ticking, afraid that the ban would not be voted in time and that the vote would have to be rescheduled. The volunteers shared this concern as well as the general relief of the ban being finally agreed on at the last minute. Then they could enjoy joining the celebration of everyone involved in the matter.

This is a day they will remember all their life, and same goes for all the people concerned about Fracking, in Ireland and beyond.

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