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5 important things we learned at ‘Environment Ireland’ 2016
‘’Change will have no chance of enduring if it is done to people. It has to be done by people and with people.'' Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth.
What’s in store for Ireland over the next 34 years in the lead up to 2050?
Since the Paris COP21 discussions last year, the attention and need for change when it comes to climate has gone from strength to strength here in the Emerald Isle. On September 22nd 2016 Irish, European and global leaders from the world of climate justice - policy makers, activists and political leaders - gathered in Croke Park to shine a light on Ireland and the issue of climate justice.
Here are 5 important things that we learned:
1. 2050 is today!
‘’Now more than ever it is vital that the environment is placed at the heart of everyday decisions’’ - Laura Burke, Director General, Environmental Protection Agency.
We need to become a fossil free society by 2050 if we want to keep the Earth’s temperature under 2 degrees celsius of warming above pre-industrial temperatures. To do this, we need to start making positive steps TODAY! 34 years is a very short amount of time in the grand scheme of things. It’s not only our planet that will suffer - our health, economy and transport systems are all in danger of being negatively affected by global warming if we don’t act now.
2. Unfortunately, Ireland is falling short.
Did you know that Ireland is one of only two countries that will not meet its EU 2020 targets? The harsh reality is, we are going to fail to miss them by about 70%! This has now become an argument for our leaders to aim for even lower 2030 targets. It is vital that we change attitudes here in Ireland, so we can help our future inhabitants to be energy and food secure. Let’s bring Ireland up to standard within the global context to save our swirled!
3. Tech could save us (and make jobs!).
Apps in the US warn against flash floods and other environmental dangers. We need to start developing technology like this that helps us here as we face the threat of more extreme weather and results of climate change, so that we can know the problems that are coming our way in the future.
As well as this, incentives for people to develop cheaper, cleaner energy options should be developed to make it easier for everyone to stop using harmful energy systems. A fossil free Ireland could create 100,000 new jobs in the energy sector and renewables. Businesses in Ireland right now are losing money because our climate justice policies are not completely up to scratch. Let’s make sure this changes, and work together with leading global companies to help make our world carbon free.
4. It’s time for a behaviour change.
The scientific community have widely accepted that the Earth’s climate is radically changing due to human action. It is up to humans to make changes that will help to reduce rising C02 rates. If Ireland and the rest of the EU is to meet targets, it’s going to require a transformation of behaviour by households, companies and consumers. Some things that we can look to change in the coming years are: our homes (with renewable energy systems), our transport (with electrified transport systems) and our waste. EVERYBODY needs to stop emitting carbon, not just a small few. The power is in each and every one of us, the consumer, to mobilise sustainable behaviours now.
5. Community = Power.
‘’We need to work together to stop things getting worse.’’ - Denis Naughten, Ireland’s climate minister.
Meeting Ireland’s future energy challenges is not going to be easy. We need to bring communities along with policy makers, keeping communication lines open between climate organisations, politicians, civil society groups and the general public. The environment is our planet’s greatest asset and the consequences of in-action will impact everyone. We should all be ‘all-in’ NOW, to move away from a take - use - dispose society, together.
Let’s get everyone involved in the transition toward a healthy planet earth…
If you’d like to find out more visit this blog by our friend Cara Augustenborg, Friends of the Earth board member.
You can also read more about Ben & Jerry’s and climate justice here.
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