A great summer and busy September!

What a really great and warm summer we had in Ireland! Yes, we enjoyed ourselves but
climate action is never-ending and we were still active during the summer.

Adoption of the fossil fuels Divestment Bill

Adoption of the fossil fuels Divestment Bill

In July, we sent two young EVS volunteers from Leitrim to Greece for the month to work in a
forest to try to keep it safe from forest fires. They succeeded – their area didn’t suffer from the
forest fires that devastated other forests in the region.

On 12th July, we were delighted to be present in Leinster House during the adoption of the fossil fuels Divestment Bill.

In August, we sent another two volunteers to Greece for the month; they all agreed that it was a very worthwhile thing to do and were extremely enthusiastic about their EVS experience. This encourages GEAI to continue to send young people abroad to volunteer in the future.

In September, comes a new start for GEAI – Siri, a new Greek volunteer arrived. Siri arrived on 25th, the day that Dublin celebrated the 3rd anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals’ adoption. We all supported the celebration – an exciting start to Siri’s EVS year with us!

EVS Volunteers with GEAI

Pre-departure training for EVS project in Greece

September also brought a new start to “Good Energies 2020”, our Strategic EVS project funded by Erasmus+. This project will continue for two years and will be the main focus of our EVS volunteers until then. During this time, we aim to continue the work of empowering young people to tackle climate change and to become climate leaders in their communities. We will be working with schools and communities, organising climate action projects and days, carrying out energy surveys in local towns, giving seminars and organising conferences.

In our work with schools, we will be working with ECO-UNESCO, who are engaged with the development of climate change modules for Transition Year students. Our work is ground-breaking and we will be very much focusing on non-formal learning in our methodologies.

Sustainable Development Goals March - Powerful Communities banner

Celebrating the 3rd Anniversary of the SDGs

Nino, our Italian EVS volunteer, took part in the “Reimagining our Rural Communities” event organised by Leitrim Development Company on September 26th. The aim was to stimulate debate and share ideas and opportunities for the future of the county.

“I participated in a group discussion on our dreams for Leitrim,” said Nino. “Our group agreed that Leitrim could become the first sustainable county in Ireland!“

On 28th, five of us went to Rosses Point armed with thermometers, pH meters and nitrate tests to survey this magnificent beach as part of the European Coastwatch Survey. Blue Flag beaches, the Atlantic ocean, miles of sand with a few walkers, rock-pools, cliffs, dunes, you name it. The usual denizens of the rock-pools were alive and well – crabs, shrimps, sea anemones,

Coastwatch Survey Rosses Point

Coastwatch Survey – Rosses Point

sea-urchins and periwinkles. As well as masses of seaweeds, of course. We had a really lovely time and arrived home greatly encouraged in our aim to preserve this wonderful earth.

Finally, in September Good Energies Alliance Ireland achieved registered Charity status, which opens up doors in bringing in volunteers from non-EU countries as well as giving us more potential for fund-raising.

A good beginning to Autumn 2018!

 

 

National Dialogue on Climate Action – It’s Community Engagement time!

The first of a series of Regional Gatherings under the National Dialogue on Climate Action took place in Athlone, at the Radisson Blu Hotel, on Saturday June 23rd. What a fantastic day! The National Dialogue on Climate Action is a Government led initiative through the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, in engaging people in collaborative action.

Representatives from organisations, community groups, NGOs and individuals from across Roscommon, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan, Louth, Meath, Westmeath, Longford and Offaly gathered together in Athlone and shared ideas and solutions to be taken at grassroots and local level to tackle climate change. A GEAI delegation participated at the Dialogue, including our EVS volunteer Francesca in her capacity of Leitrim Cool Planet Champion.

Guest speakers and Minister Naughten

Discussions and workshops went on for the whole day. Guest speakers included Dr. Conor Murphy  (Maynooth University), Mick Kelly and Katie Smith (Change X and Grow It Yourself), Dr. Margaret Desmond (University College Cork). A drop-in area was open to the public to meet representatives from Eco-Unesco, Teagasc, An Taisce, SEAI, VOICE Ireland, IFA and EPA.

The choice of the location for the event is significant as “Athlone is one of the areas which have suffered greater impacts of climate change. At the moment 147 families are still seeking relocation due to flooding” Minister Naughten highlighted in his opening remarks. “The Government has committed nearly 1% of the GDP to be spent on climate measures under the National Development Plan. No other government in the world has done that” said Denis Naughten. The Minister called also for communities to make their voice heard. He told the audience that when he was campaigning for the general elections only one citizen asked him about climate change.  “We will be investing but we need people and communities to talk about climate change” he added.

Francesca with Minister Naughten and other participants (Ph credit: DCCAE)

It has been such an inspiring day and I was delighted to be appointed as one of the Table Hosts to facilitate the discussion as the Leitrim Cool Planet Champion” Francesca said. “There is a terrific positive energy among the people here today. We are all very conscious of the urgent and imperative collective effort needed. Now it is time to engage with the whole civil society, we simply cannot afford any further delay” she added. “Climate change represents a threat but also a major opportunity for Leitrim. The inevitable transformational change required represents a massive opportunity for low-carbon investments across all economic sectors, resulting in an increased attraction of new brains (and families) to come and live in this stunning part of Ireland” Francesca concluded.

GEAI Data Protection is compliant with GDPR

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on the 25 May 2018. GDPR aims to give individuals more rights, control and understanding of how their personal data is processed.

The GDPR will have no impact on the activities we carry on in the general interest. It does however require GEAI to keep you informed of the following:

  1. The types of data we hold on you;
  2. The purpose it is used for; and
  3. Your rights in relation to how it is processed.

You will find all of this information in our Privacy Statement. This Statement is applicable to all activities carried out by GEAI, both subscribers to our newsletters and contacts in other organisations.

As always you can opt out of any of our group email communication using the unsubscribe link in the footer of all emails, or emailing me directly.

We appreciate the trust that you place in us by giving us your personal information. We will always use your personal information in a way that is fair and worthy.

Thank you for your continued interest.

Yours sincerely,

Del Thorogood, Data Manager

del23.geai@gmail.com

 

SPEAKING AT THE UN ON LEITRIM’S CAMPAIGN AGAINST FRACKING

Me with Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason

With Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason

 

I had the honour of giving a talk on the role of women in our Campaign against Fracking at a UN event in New York on 14th March.  The event was organised by the Mining Group of the Commission on the Status of Women and was part of the United Nations two-week conference focusing on the empowerment of rural women globally.  I was invited to speak by Rev Debbra Gill, moderator of the event.

I also had the honour of meeting our Ambassador to UN, Geraldine Byrne Nason and President Mary Robinson.

In my talk, I focused on the stages the campaign went through, starting in 2011 at kitchen meetings, the showing of “Gasland”, protests, public meetings, social media campaigns and political lobbying, resulting in our wonderful ban on fracking. According to the organisers, the Irish campaign against fracking can act as a template for campaigns globally.

Because of the theme of the conference, I focussed mainly on the role that women played in the campaign.  It was only when looking back at the entire campaign that I realised how much women had contributed.  This is not to say that men did not play an important part (Tony McLoughlin and Eddie Mitchell for example), but from the start of the campaign, women were to the fore of the action – whether organising meetings or protests, making speeches, giving presentations, researching, lobbying, tweeting or emailing.  In fact, this campaign had the side-effect of empowering local rural women to make a stand against something they felt strongly about and to feel that they could make a difference.  Up to now, this was not fully acknowledged and I was very happy to emphasise the role that they played.

Fracking ban
June 2017: Government bans fracking!

It was also wonderful to have the opportunity to tell the world of our campaign starting in rural Leitrim that gained such momentum that it influenced our Government to agree unanimously to ban fracking in Ireland.

We now have one of the strongest bans in the world; to remind you, the wording is as follows:

“Notwithstanding anything in this Act or any other enactment or rule of law, it shall not be lawful for a person to search for, get, raise, take, carry away or work petroleum by means of hydraulic fracturing.”

And you can’t get any stronger than that!

Link to presentation: Campaign against Fracking in Ireland

Aedín McLoughlin, GEAI Director

 

GEAI field trip to Cloughjordan, the eco-village

Entrance of the eco-village

A few weeks ago a group of GEAI volunteers paid a two-day visit at Ireland’s only eco-village situated at the heart of Cloughjordan, a small town in County Tipperary.
Upon our midnight  arrival  we decided to grab a drink in one of the local pubs and something to eat at the only place we could find open at midnight. Afterwards, we spent the night at the Django Hostel, where we received a warm welcome from Pa, the hostel’s manager.
The next day, two of us took part in a workshop about “The Art of Facilitation” organised by Cultivate whilst the rest of the group took the opportunity to explore the village and its surroundings accompanied by a local EVS Volunteer.

Cloughjordan’s eco-village is a unique place in Ireland. The project is aimed at creating modern sustainable living. There are currently 130 low-energy houses of different styles, ranging from small apartments and large detached houses, built accordingly to high ecological standards which combine energy efficiency design with local natural building materials.
Moreover, residents can benefit from the community heating system totally supplied by renewable energies such as woodchip boilers and solar panels.

Cloughjordan community garden

This residential area is surrounded by community gardens and community or personal allotments available for food production. Besides, the eco-village also comprised about 50 acres of woodland and farmland. There is also a plantation zone which includes an area dedicated to tree nursery. While walking around the land it is also possible to visit the organic farm with sheep, pigs, cows and fields for crop production.
Reducing the carbon footprint is not just about energy efficiency but also transportation. For this reason, a pilot car-sharing initiative has been put in place amongst residents. In addition, the village is located within walking distance from the local train station of Cloughjordan.

Compost area

The eco-village is also an excellent centre of education for sustainable living. Workshops, courses, seminars and events about several topics are hosted regularly in Cloughjordan. Walking around the village you also come across several panels with useful and interesting information,  most of which have educational purposes, for example, there is an area used for composting where the whole process is explained is a simple way through colourful images. This is suitable not only for children but also for adults interested in learning how to correctly create their own compost.

The eco-village also organises “Experience day” tours twice a month where it is possible to walk around the village, have lunch while meeting members of the community.

Those two days were inspiring for all of us. We appreciated the strong sense of community engagement and cooperation surrounding the Cloughjordan eco-village project and learnt that it is truly possible to live our lives in a sustainable way.

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