Climate Action Day 2 in Mohill

GEAI (Good Energies Alliance Ireland) is currently running Climate Action days for Transition Year students in Mohill Community College.  This activity is lead by our team of EVS volunteers.

IMG_1515On November 20th we met again for the second Climate Action day. The aim of this session was to take a closer look at the actual problems the world (and Ireland in particular) is facing, and come up with the ideas for our personal actions, something easy to do and at the same time interesting for the students.

IMG_1516.JPGThe issues about the challenges students came up with were brilliant:

  • Apathetic governments;
  • World leaders not believing climate change is an issue;
  • People aren’t open to change;
  • Organic products too expensive;
  • Deforestation for extraction of palm oil;

And many more.

We were all impressed by this piece of work, and in the second part of the session we came up with action plans for the nearest 3 weeks.

IMG_1527IMG_1529We had 5 groups working on the following topics:

  • Nature and biodiversity;
  • Green energy and transport;
  • Waste, plastics and recycling;
  • Food and composting;
  • and an extra one which took the political route and decided to interview local politicians.

IMG_1543IMG_1545Next time we’re going to meet in the Organic Centre in Rossinver. The students will present the results of their work. We look forward to it!

IMG_1505For more pictures follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/geaireland/

Alexandra Peralaika

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.

Long Wood Community Woodland

Alice and Del were present at the launch of the visitor centre building of the Long Wood Community Woodland (CGLWCW) in Wales, a useful opportunity for Alice to see how communities in Wales are dealing with biomass and to talk with the volunteers that worked for the place.

Localisation

Localisation

We got to know Long Wood, a 300 acre mixed, community-owned woodland which includes over 9 miles of footpaths and bridleways to enjoy and explore.

It was established in 2003 as a social enterprise in West Wales, originally owned by the Forestry Commission. The directors successfully applied for grants allowing the directors to purchase the woodland and employ a project manager and support staff to begin to develop it as a sustainable business and community leisure facility.

Forest School

Forest School

During the years that followed the place was converted, with the help of the community to an educational and volunteer centre. It sales sustainable timber and promotes the use of it.

The best example they provided is the building of the visiting centre whose opening we attended. Entirely made from timber from the land and with the help of the volunteers, it is ready to serve as a centre for operations, offer a warm dry base for volunteers working there and be available to groups both local and from further afield.

Some technical details about the building: the frame is made from larch and the cladding boards are larch and douglas fir. The roof is larch cladding inside and out and insulated with sheep wool. All the joints are manually carved using traditional techniques and are held in place with wooden pegs. Internally the walls are built from straw bales. Recent research confirms that straw bales are extremely insulating and also low cost with a neutral carbon footprint. Taking in consideration that the electricity comes from the solar panels installed on the roof, we can truly say it’s a sustainable building with a minimum impact.

The feeling of being inside the building was very cosy – outside was light rain, inside the warmth of the wood welcomed us. The stove (using logs, of course) was not needed since the good insulation and the number of people inside made it comfortable enough.

Solar panels

Solar panels

Near it there is a compost toilet that uses sawdust.

Compost toilet

Compost toilet

As a personal impression this is a much efficient way of using biomass that should be considered more in rural communities. This building passed all the regulations and it’s low-cost and low-impact. I was impressed to see how united the community was to get to the point.

Unfortunately, wood has been forgotten in countries like UK and Ireland and people don’t build with it even though this type of resource is more eco-friendly. Biomass is versatile and can work to achieve a cleaner environment in more ways.

Our GEAI member, Del, previously volunteered in the construction of this building and was delighted to be invited to the launch. He was impressed with the final result, especially with the fact that its construction was undertaken by volunteers who were interested in sustainable buildings.

Congratulations and good luck in setting an example for other communities!

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