Happy New Year!

Athbhliain Faoi Mhaise Duit

Happy New Year!

GEAI volunteers are back to work! After all the festive ambiance, food and parties we are back, fresh and full of hope this is going to be a very good year.

I would like to tell you a few words about our holidays. We had the chance of decorating, cooking and celebrating Christmas with a lunch at the office where, we the volunteers brought traditional food from our countries: Ukrainian “borsh”, Romanian “zacusca”, French “buche-de-Noel” and Georgian “katchapuri”. We were introduced to “red braised cabbage with apples” and “minced pies”! But the Christmas Pudding is something special!

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Irakli was the only volunteer who spent the holidays in Ireland. Cédric spent Christmas in France with his family, but for the New Year he did a road trip with his friends visiting the south of Ireland, Wicklow mountains impressed him. I was in Romania with my family and I enjoyed also a few days of proper snow, especially the morning when I was suppose to go to the airport was heavy snowing!

We met after the holidays with the same though in our minds: We want to be back in Ireland! We missed Ireland!

So we have done New Year’s resolutions: Cédric wants to keep studying and comparing the legislations on fracking in other countries but also make contact with anti-fracking activists over the world in order to help Ireland with this matter. I want to commit to social media but also contribute to energy efficiency education on-line and offline.

We are happy to be here in this historic year for Ireland and celebrate 100 years from the Easter Rising along with the Irish people. Also we are committed to the anti-fracking campaign and hope soon we’ll be able to say we were part of history, we took part in the change that will bring Ireland closer to a greener future.

 Personally, we want to keep exploring Ireland, this little country is like a treasure chest! In between trips, we experiment with cooking and we are discovering our musical talents with the mandolin for me and the guitar for Cédric!

Last but not least, Monday was a reason for joy because a new volunteer, straight from the Azores joined us at GEAI! More about the new stranger, soon!

We thank you for following us and supporting us and a better environment in this new year!

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November 12: “Switch” movie screening and debate in Dublin

Documentary on transition to renewables?

Thursday in the Irish Film Institute in Dublin took place the screening of a documentary called “Switch”. As GEAI received a recommendation to see this we follow that and here we are, sitting in a cinema room waiting for a documentary about how we make the transition from fossil fuel to renewables.

The launch of the film switch was supported by the ICRAG institute to publicize their new research facility in Omagh and it also opened the Science Expressions Film Festival. The panellists were Prof. John Walsh, director of ICRAG, joined by Prof. Iain Stewart – University of Plymouth and presenter of numerous BBC geoscience programmes and Dr Claire O’Connell of the Irish Times as a coordinator of the panel.

Back to the movie…We were quite surprised and probably not in the way we thought…this is why.

SWITCH offered entirely a big oil message

The Switch was flagged on an RTE interview earlier that day, it was presented as recognizing the problem of energy usage nationally and globally, and as opening a national discussion on the best approaches addressing the problem. This seemed like a very attractive and valuable initiative.  Disappointingly, the SWITCH offered entirely a big oil message. Coal, oil, gas and tar sands were big, important and going to continue despite slight drawbacks. Even fracking only needed a bit more water to make it risk free. This message was presented by heavyweight US officials and the worst moment of the movie came when US secretary of energy declared that was never a case recorded of drinking water being polluted by fracking!

On the contrary, wind energy, solar energy, biomass were all small and limited and couldn’t be “scaled up”, and examples seemed mainly to be Europeans. Tidal energy was not even mentioned.

Most disturbingly, the movie suggested several times that various renewable sources would be too expensive. This was very misleading as there was no comparison with their predicted cost of climate change to those economies.

The message of the movie was that, because 600 millions Indians have no electricity and will require three times the United States current capacity in the future, “big oil was a good investment for meeting this future market”.  (Just to mention it…India has the fifth largest installed wind power capacity in the world!)

It finished by nodding towards a reduction in consumption being helpful.

Will Ireland’s geology save us from fracking?
Can we trust completely science in defining futures?

Can we trust  science in defining futures?

Speaking to the Irish geologist Mr. Walsh after the showing,  we found out that geologists are very confident that from a professional point of view they will be able to prove that the geology of the island will be total unsuitable for fracking operations, even those involved directly in baselines studies.

IFI suggested that we needed a wide spread “conversation on the topic of energy usage” and they are almost certainly right.

The Switch did not start to achieve this and it must now be left to other individuals, groups or organizations to actually set the ball rolling on this debate. It is a debate which neither Ireland nor the World can afford not to have.

GEAI will be very happy to play its part in getting people around that table.

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