Saturday, June 15, 2019

Propose A climate Emergency Locally?! Yes!

Here is the motion that was passed:

“Acknowledging the findings of successive reports from the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Wildlife Fund 2018 Living Planet Report (LPR) that Kilkenny County Council declare a climate and biodiversity emergency for County Kilkenny.

We note that the Council has prepared to draft stage a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and encourage people to participate in the public consultation process so that it reflects to the maximum extent possible the views of people in County Kilkenny.

This strategy together with the Biodiversity Strategy (2018-2022) will form the basis on which we agree to work in an inclusive and collaborative manner with stakeholders and community groups and organisations to support local community based plans and initiatives to give effect to the actions required to address the climate and biodiversity challenge.”
Update: 17th June 2019 it was agreed at the council meeting!

Here is the letter sent to all elected and executive councillors

Dear ....

Thank you for considering the climate action proposal. It would be so exciting to make Kilkenny council and businesses a flagship for good practice. The big change is going to be that good environmental practice becomes more important than good financial practice. 97% of constituents are aware that we are on a course that will leave a nearly uninhabitable world for our children. It's not even a generation away that the unpredictable weather starts. We have already had one devastating drought and several storms that cut power and affected infrastructure.
If you stop growing and cleaning with chemicals and a humungous amount of water on production lines, we'll only need to rinse our vegetables in a minimalist bowl of water.

It is such a blessing that we have a council executive (I put in 'elected councillors' to the letters that went to the elected be diplomatic!) who can review and make changes that will protect the water and soil and benefit food security and productivity. If you  support the declaration of a climate emergency in Kilkenny, you are supporting farmers and businesses as you can then justify directing money towards supporting each organisation shift towards sustainable and organic methods.

Chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides in our waterways soil and food are bad for everyone. Jobseekers could be trained and utilised in managing the extra work created by not managing everything with machinery and chemicals.
If you stop spraying, we will learn to identify and monitor wild flowers and
distinguish beneficial insects from pests.

The council could also use their leverage to national and european level to make sure substances that we ban here are not allowed in subsequent imports, which put Irish producers at a market disadvantage.

If you ban pesticide-ridden produce, we will put spaces aside in our houses to
grow our own vegetables and salads. 

Eateries and hotels that offer organic and vegan options can be charged lower rates as their water footprint is so much lower. The instant broad stroke measure of banning take away coffee cups that do not breakdown would be a powerful statement that the public could buy into as well. At the Borris Literary Festival last week, every cup and utensil was compostable: Not needing a recycling facility that we might or might not have but literarily pop in the brown bin or on the compost heap. Compost creates more soil (more growing medium for crops and plants. If you spread all the soil around the earth there is only approximately one foot. That is the only living bit that we can depend on. If there is no soil there is no food). Kilkenny has more than its fair share and can make a big deal about protecting it.

If you read Freya Lawton's book, The Peace Intention that teaches how to release inner toxicity and strife resulting in a immediate improvement in our outside environments...we will buy into local community supported agriculture schemes where we pay the nearest farmer year-round  to produce seasonal food and commit land to grains for organic bread and other basics. 

Before there were trees, the planet was a desert. We can plant more in the county and they will also serve as a carbon sequester: Absorbing  the carbon which is raising the temperature - i.e. global warming fears. We could make Kilkenny 'carbon neutral' which would be a landmark victory in every meaning of the word.

If you insist on compostable takeaway cups and ban one-use plastics in all Kilkenny shops,
we will all commit to separating our rubbish responsibly.

If we also measure the amount and sorts of illnesses that are being presented at GPs and hospitals, we will have measurable evidence to show that we are making a difference and Kilkenny could provide a model for public health improvement too. Do not let 5G in please as that is shortwave wifi that is very hard on the human body. Thank you for your consideration.

If you take the carcinogens out of our food supply and air, we promise to live  to a ripe old age with no dependence on pharmaceuticals and over-stretched hospitals.

I have attached a course I facilitate and offer for corporate team building days at the Castlecomer discovery park, to show how we can get people thinking about what they use and what their company uses and changes they can make. It is an informal chance, not funding-related (like grants for electric cars or solar panels for example) that enables a review of their practices and resource use.

If the food is only organic and grown locally, we will try and no doubt thrive on smaller portions.

In terms of the council, I hope you will first review and stop all the substances and toxic products being used there, such as pesticides on public areas and chemical cleaners in public buildings.

I too had to do my pesticide course to qualify in horticulture in Kilkenny.  Nowhere in the module does it teach of our dependence on biodiversity or the degradation of soil via artificial fertilisers...but interestingly, we only used water and sprayed on concrete pavers, to just practice getting the dilution right.
Conclusion? There is no right amount. Stop it completely and promote farms that are in their first 6 years of growing without, before they get their lucrative organic certification.

Thank you, 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Climate Action Brainstorming - The 17 European Goals

My latest activity: 

Template for Corporate Wellness and Teambuilding Days 

in the woodland at Castlecomer's Discovery Park

I anticipate groups of 4 or 5 people per table in a 'Cafe Conversation' 
in the amazing geodesic domes that seem made for that express purpose!

Climate Action Discussion Based on the Europe’s 17 Sustainability Goals


Wellness and The Work Environment

1.    No Poverty 
One positive impact on prosperity
One negative impact on prosperity
One social group that is addressed well 
One social group that faces a drain on resources.
Eg benefits like paid holidays, staff of a variety of levels and types
One change you would like to see.

2.         Zero Hunger
What food is offered at work? 
What do most staff eat?
Is there waste? 
Is wasted food made available for charitable use?
Are bins separated into general/recyclable/compostable.
Quantity versus quality. Do you choose cheap food above good food?
Is there any interest or support for organic food? And local food?
Are there any green spaces where food/trees could be grown on the premises?
Is there a chance of exploitation or contamination in the food chain?
Any projects sponsored?
Are vegan options wanted or provided? 
Are personal choices effective or relevant in addressing climate change?

3.         Good Health and Wellbeing
On average, how much water drunk per work-day? How much coffee per day?
Do you believe that it supports every function of the body? Water or coffee?!
Is there fluoride? 
Is the drinking water tested to check levels of other chemicals? 
Do you believe that energy and intention might have an impact on you? 
Do people have pets? What sort and how do they help with stress or add to it?
Venn diagram of priorities: Yourself, your partner/family, your job, community, county, nationality, causes? Why? 
How to people relax?
How do people make changes?
Confident to raise questions, make suggestions or more focus on towing the line?
Environment inclusive and personal or productive and functional …or synergy achieved?
Is anyone anxious about their job or how they are perceived by others?
What is the air quality like? Wifi and Electro Magnetic Charge measured?

4.         Quality Education
Is the work fulfilling? How does it compare to the stimulation of studying?
Is payment the only difference?
Do you think school and college prepared you for the challenges of work?
One thing you have learnt today? Yesterday? What would you like to look into tomorrow?
Can you explain what you do at work?
Does creativity equal innovation or is there a difference?
Is there a balance between innovation, competence and competition?
Are your values the same at work and at home? 

5.         Gender Equality
Do men and women get the same wages for doing the same work?
Is the culture protective and supportive? Does anyone need protecting? 
Is anyone being used unfairly or excessively?
Are men and women both represented?
Are there good relationships and respect obvious or is there a power struggle?
Who is winning?

6.         Clean Water and Sanitation
Is water used on an industrial level? Can it be conserved in any way? 
What is the impact on water? What are the risks? 
Is there a run off?
Are there any changes that can be made?
What do people understand by the term ‘aquifer’?
Discussion: is there personal, company and legal responsibility for environmental management? 
Should Ireland consider water a resource and export to European countries that have no rain or reserves?
Who makes the decisions at home / at work? Should the child get the water, the adult or the seedling that might feed them over coming months?
What is the daily water footprint:
Meat: 15,000 litres of fresh water to produce 1kg of meat 
Vegetables: 200 litres to grow 1kg vegetables.
Are chemicals required for production? Do they naturally break down?
If not, are there less toxic ones available? 
Cost of shifting to organic enterprise?
What changes would be welcome
What do you understand as grey water?

7.         Affordable and Clean Energy - 
Is much electricity used? How is it sourced currently? 
If coal is 320 million years old, it takes 30 metres of peat to compress into 1 metre of coal and trees take about 30 years to mature, which is the renewable energy?
Is there roof space for solar voltaic panels or a seascape for turbines?
What is thought of these systems? 
Is there a department that looks at savings and revisions to outgoing expenses?
Is fracked gas a fossil fuel or a clean fuel? 
How much water is used in the extraction process?
What would motivate a change in supply/supplier? Is it as simple as a grant from Sustainable Authority Ireland or a better deal with a supplier that uses only renewable energy? Would self-sufficiency be viable?
Is a carbon tax reasonable?
What is a carbon sump? What is carbon sequester? Is it important?
Is it possible to reduce the use?

8.         Decent Work and Economic Growth
What do you understand as ‘decent work’? Or maybe indecent work?! 
Are the use of animals, chemicals, volunteers, zero-hour contracts legitimate?

Do you know and agree with the mission statement of the company? 

Is economic growth synonymous with food security and a circular economy. 
If one company is successful does that mean everyone is successful? 
Is it a good idea for all to grow something or provide a service?
Is it okay to grow a business without trying to consider negative environmental impacts?

9.         Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Coal mining was a strong industry but there were harsh conditions above and below ground. 
Name one industry, one innovation and one development of infrastructure in your experience that has benefitted a lot of people.  
What person or organization do you admire and why?  
What brilliant idea would you implement if you ruled the country?! 

10.       Reduced Inequalities
Do you often see any particular inequality? Is it caused by tradition or what?
What would you like to see changed and balanced.

11.       Sustainable Cities and Communities
If your workplace had to provide a quarter of a community’s welfare in terms of money, support, accommodation, food, entertainment, law enforcement and medical/social care, how would it do?
What could it realistically add to its current contribution? 

12.       Responsible Consumption and Production
What is most consumed and what is most produced? What is responsible? Is it ethical, environmentally aware, financially viable or a balance between those and more?

13.       Climate Action
Climate action suggests radical change like overhauling a current product line to not use excessive resources or to negate or stop any destructive environmental impact like CO2 emmissions. 
If there were no financial or time restraints, how could there be a revision? 
Is there any department who would be interested and equipped to explore changes. Is there a budget? Should the government support or compensate for such a change? 
Should a company take a loss or downturn to be more in line with social and environmental need and priorities?

14.       Life Below Water
Do people know how much plastic is in the sea?
Is there an understanding of factory ships? Or Sonic blasting?
Are these modern supply and exploratory processes acceptable?
Can public demand stop them?

15.       Life on Land
Do you know the difference between a healthy field and a grass-sick field?
What is the difference between a weed and a flower?
The difference between a pest and a beneficial insect?

16.       Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions
Are you confident that the institutions are looking after the poor, sick and elderly with integrity?
What would you like to see changed?

17.       Partnerships for the goals
Do you work with anyone else to push for change or support in raising awareness of your product or work?
Is there mutual respect or compromise about each other’s practices or both?