Biodiversity week: 16th-22nd May

GEAI, along with the Environmental Pillar and IEN and all the organisations involved, is celebrating the National Biodiversity Week!

This week is all about connecting people with nature. It’s about communicating the importance of biodiversity and motivating people to play their part in protecting it. It’s also about entertaining them; showing the fun and wonder that can be found in nature; and inspiring people to learn more, see more, do more.

You can explore the map and see events in your area that you can attend. They are all free and designed for different age groups.

Also, take a look at the calendar of events here.

For more information, please visit the Biodiversity Week website.

September 30: Sustainable Development Goals Workshop

The Environmental Pillar and Dochas held a workshop on 30th September on the most important subject of the week: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

the previous week in New York, after intense negotiations, 193 countries agreed on the next set of development goals but this was the easy part, the hard part is coming now: implementation.

The workshop’s main objective was to raise awareness of and support for the SDGs and the responsibilities of Ireland and its people.

Mr. Johnathan Derham talking about ensuring sustainable consumption

Mr. Johnathan Derham talking about ensuring sustainable consumption

The goals discussed were:

Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

I attended the group discussions for goal 13 and I was happy to find that I shared the same thoughts as everybody. For sure Ireland took some action to combat climate change (climate prize for Tidy Towns, Green Schools, public consultations and local workshops) but, for example climate change is not integrated in national policies, strategies and planning, this should be a priority in Ireland. This was the main point of Petra Woods from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.

The discussion, though, went to the other way – we need to start raising awareness in the local communities first because in first place, some people in the countryside don’t even know what climate change is. And most important, in my opinion, we need to show people how climate change affect them, Jon Doe, farmer in Leitrim,has to be shown the impact on him because showing some polar bears on a piece of ice sheet far away in Arctic world, won’t impress them and it won’t get them motivated to make a change.

Olga attended the workshop on the Goal:  End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture: ‘Initially, the discussion was on the wording of the goal, which I found difficult to understand.  However, a Northern Ireland farmer began talking about the relevance of the Goal to Ireland and I found this interesting.  500 million small farms worldwide provide up to 80 per cent of food consumed in a large part of the developing world. Small farms are really important.’

The conclusion to both workshops was that people have the power to drive the government but in order to do that we need more and more communities to get involved.

The implementation of the SDGs is a chance we should not miss.

Olga and Alice with Michael Ewing

Olga and Alice with Michael Ewing

GEAI rejects decision to extent peat burning plants lifetime

Good Energies Alliance Ireland joins the Environmental Pillar in condemning the decision to extend the lifetime of two peat-burning power stations in the Midlands beyond the present agreement of ceasing operation in 2019. The stations are located in west Offaly and at Lough Ree. The decision to extend their operation was revealed a letter to Bord na Móna workers from the company’s chief executive Mike Quinn.

“The present generation of electricity by burning peat goes completely against Ireland’s requirement to reduce carbon emissions and choose renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels. Ireland’s energy generators do not seem to realise that business as usual is not an option any longer”, GEAI spokesperson Aedín McLoughlin said.

“This decision demonstrates clearly the result of not having definite targets in the current Climate Bill. There is no requirement on companies to meet the challenges of reducing our carbon emissions and no alternative plans put forward”, GEAI spokesperson stated.

Good Energies Alliance has advocated since its creation in 2012 for a transition towards a carbon neutral Ireland. “We have the solution at hand, we can power ourselves without endangering the planet. Ireland has a great potential for wind, solar energy and biomass power. We are a small country but we can become a great example for the rest of the world. Continuing to burn peat sends out all the wrong signals,” Aedín McLoughlin concluded.

GEAI at the National Ploughing Championship

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Good Energies Alliance Ireland was present at one of the biggest events in Ireland, the National Ploughing Championship.

The directors Aedín McLoughlin and Eddie Mitchell and the new European volunteers spent the 25th of September in Stradbally, County Laois, raising awareness about fracking and climate change.

GEAI was invited to have a stand at the Environmental Pillar marquee, as one of the Pillar’s new members. Coastwatch and the Irish Peatland Conservation Council also had stands.

More pictures in our Flickr

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