30th January: MIDWAY TRAINING, AN OPPORTUNITY TO REFLECT

Last week-end Cédric, our French volunteer, took part in his EVS midway training.
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Cédric presenting GEAI

During three days in Dublin, 20 European volunteers were at a training organised by Léargas which was an important time for each volunteer because everybody could share their opinions, experiences – good or bad – and find with the trainer ideas for the second part of the EVS. Different workshops allowed volunteers describing their experience in Ireland, during their work and how they could use their new competences for future life or simply for the rest of the year. Cédric was really interested to compare the differences and similarities between the volunteers.

 

Cédric said “I didn’t realise that I am already in the middle of my time in GEAI because with the “Stop the Study Campaign” and now “Vote Frack Free Pledge” the work is intense. I’m really glad because I’m learning a lot of things that I didn’t expect, for example the organisation of a public meeting, awareness raising environmental issues and life with my colleagues who come from different countries.”

Cédric is now planning life after EVS: “During this 6 month in GEAI I can confirm my passion for journalism but I need to improve more my English”. When we asked him where he would like to live after, he answered “I don’t think I will return to France, because my experience in a foreign country gave me the desire to travel again. Why not stay a second year in Ireland? I visited some places and I have to confess Irish life and culture seduces me more every day.” Well done Cédric! In fact, he has visited Wicklow Mountains, Killarney National Park, Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, Cliff of Moher, The Burren, Galway, Aran Island, Connemara, Killary Harbour, Strandhill beach and Dublin. “I haven’t gone to Cork or Donegal, these trips should be next!”

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GEAI welcomes anti-fracking vote on the European Parliament

European Parliament. Photo By diamond geezer (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

European Parliament. Photo By diamond geezer (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) welcomes the anti-fracking vote on the European Parliament and calls on communities to embrace sustainable alternatives. The vote was symbolic as it will not ban fracking in the EU but it shows that a majority of MEPs reject shale gas exploitation.

“This vote is a step forward for the anti-fracking campaign in Ireland, north and south”. GEAI director Aedín McLoughlin stated. “Fracking has been banned in New York due to human health impacts, and now the European Parliament says that it has not been shown to be safe. Rural communities need jobs and a better future, but fracking is not the way. We need to create sustainable alternatives for communities threatened by shale gas extraction” GEAI director said.

“This is exactly what we are doing 24th June in Manorhamilton (Co Leitrim) at Renewable Energies – Prosperous Communities. A day of workshops and discussion where everybody will have the chance to express their views. Local communities have the opportunity to use renewable energy to improve their lives, their economy and their health. We have a chance to create jobs in rural areas and help to reduce our environmental impacts at the same time”, GEAI director said.

“Many people have already shown their interest in this event, and we hope to achieve really positives outcomes for Manorhamilton and other communities. We could be witnessing the beginning of reshaping Ireland’s energy landscape”, Aedín McLoughlin concluded.

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GEAI will host new volunteers!

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Good Energies Alliance will continue to provide opportunities for young people from across Europe into 2016! Last month Léargas, the national agency said that they have approved our application to host three new volunteers from September 2015.

Since 2013 GEAI has hosted four volunteers from three different countries through the European Voluntary Service (EVS). EVS provides young Europeans with a unique chance to experience life and work in a foreign country through unpaid and full-time voluntary activities. In this way solidarity, mutual understanding and tolerance are promoted among young people, contributing to reinforcing social cohesion in the EU and promoting young people’s active citizenship.

Léargas is the national agency managing the Erasmus+ program in Ireland jointly with the Higher Education Authority.

Ireland deserves a better Climate Bill

Environmental-Damage-2

Ireland deserves a better Climate Action Bill to play its role in tackling climate change. The current Bill “will fail to deliver the low carbon future it aims to achieve unless critical weaknesses are addressed”, according to an independent report by environmental lawyers Client Earth.

Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) criticised the lack of ambition of the new bill since its publication in January. Now this independent analysis confirms that “the opportunity to lead the way towards a carbon neutral future has been thrown away”, GEAI director Aedín McLoughlin said. “There are no targets for lowering carbon emissions, not even a mention of the mandatory targets set by the EU. Neither is there commitment to contributing to the Global Climate Fund, a shame for Ireland.”

The report was commissioned by the Irish coalition Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) and also compares the Government’s Bill with climate legislation around Europe. The study finds that the lack of 2050 targets for carbon emissions produces critical uncertainty for investors and the status and membership of the Expert Advisory Council undermines its independence. Unless revised at Committee Stage in the Dáil, due this month, the Bill will do little to help Ireland meet its international commitments or move the economy onto a less polluting pathway.

Last September the Taoiseach Enda Kenny talked at the UN Climate Summit about “long terms objectives for 2050 of an 80% reduction across electricity, transport and built environment”. “Where are those targets now?” asks McLoughlin. “This Government  has failed to show commitment, imagination or leadership in the drafting of the Bill.”

Fracking is not the way to reduce Ireland’s energy imports

Drilling

Ireland imports 89% of the energy it consumes during a year according to the last data release by Eurostat and 98% of this is supplied by fossil fuels. It is the 4th highest energy importer in the EU, after Malta, Luxembourg and Cyprus. Ireland’s high dependency on imported fossil fuels makes her vulnerable, because she has no control over her energy supply. Problems in other parts of the world can have a huge impact on Ireland.

However, drilling for local sources of gas or oil is the wrong answer. Using renewable energy sources, e.g. wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric power, is the only way to reduce Ireland’s energy imports.

“We depend on fossil fuels to generate electricity, heat our homes and drive our cars. We need to change that and the right way is by generating energy from renewable sources”, said GEAI director Aedín McLoughlin. “Recent studies confirm that 80% of global fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground to stop climate change and keep conditions on Earth suitable for humans. Fracking is not part of the solution, it is part of the problem.”

“Business as usual is not an option, we need to reduce our energy use and move towards a low carbon economy”, the GEAI director remarked.

”We have the solution at hand, we can power ourselves without endangering the planet. Ireland has 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. Our politicians must rise to the challenge and transform the current dull Climate Action Bill by including targets that will contribute towards a low-carbon world.”

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