Sunday, January 12, 2020
Realizing The Power of Green Politics
I just realized the Green Party has been waiting for this moment; a world-wide party of environmentalists planning a strategy, people who will know what to do when climate change becomes widely realized. In some counties and countries, even, the Green Party has been no bigger than a pressure group. But in Carlow and Kilkenny, what an amazing pressure group it has been. Malcolm Noonan who is our representative again and Mary White, who was Carlow Kilkenny's first elected female TD have been fighting battles for our environment and for inclusion for two decades, taking issues to Europe to make sure that Ireland wasn't overlooked and exploited too much for its clean food and clean water.
I was at a talk nearly 10 years ago with Mary, Malcolm and Grace O'Sullivan - now MEP! all that needs to happen - like address transport (which Malcolm has now done, launching a brilliant local bus service last year) and all needs to not happen: Like, about how we needed to protect the farmers from the government's economic plans to double the national herd for export, by 2020, as it would doubtless conflict with carbon emission goals. It is now 2020 and the herd has doubled, milk and meat prices have sunk to an unsustainable low and small farmers and those who tried to expand are in debt and have no money to make even basic changes to better practice, using less chemicals.
But now the farmers are protesting. The very same men who towed a main party's line all these years. They realize they've been shafted. Brilliantly as well, the extinction rebellion movement started, calling out politicians all over Europe for ignoring the glaring threat of the changing climate and loss of biodiversity.
These are the hardcore, non political arm and it's just what is needed. In the past we were not at all hardcore. We retreated to the countryside and occasionally lodged complaints about this and that; blasting the ocean floor by Shell, resisting GMO seeds made by Monsanto, spraying chemical poisons on our food, building power stations and incinerators. We started to grow our own food and some only ate meat and eggs that came from their own small holding. Some of us bowed out of eating any animal ingredients at all. It ticked all the boxes for me; depriving the big industries of me as a customer (justice), sparing the animals (equality of all life) organic local food (saving the bees) peace of mind (better mental and physical health).
But suddenly here is the movement; the supporters and members we need. Here's the rebellion and the Young Greens relaying their message on, with equal determination. Parents are respecting their children, realizing the dreadful legacy of being wasteful and money-orientated. As government has allowed itself to be bought-off, we have too. For any bit of job or benefit - however unethical.
I've hung back for years, teaching empathy to anybody who comes my way. Radical responsibility combined with empathy for others and empathy for yourself are the only way to move forward, with friendship and kinship in your heart rather than that desperation that you might not have enough yourself - which is what we've been conditioned to think, to stop us sharing. To divide and conquer. We are a hospitable country, by nature and climate still. If you want that integrity and unity portrayed in government, its about voting Green no.1 Thank goodness we have the best of the best for the Carlow/Kilkenny area. There's hope for us yet!
Every climate march, Malcolm Noonan's been there. Remember all those vigils to stop the dog shelter falling into the wrong hands? He was at every one. The demonstrations against sending greyhounds to China after their racing days in Ireland were done, he was there. Crack of dawn through to late at night, he stood up for the River Nore, drinking water and habitat to many for generations, and Medieval heritage when the council pushed for the central access scheme (CAS) bridge to go ahead. He always supported Vegetarian Kilkenny and was an attendee of the 'No meat and greet' evenings. Dammit, I miss those pot luck dinners!!
He loves Nature and conservation but he also is deeply interested in day to day town-life. He's consistently been determined to bring back the heart to towns, with pedestrian areas and local bus services; supporting small interesting, creative, sustainable shops and bringing a wide knowledge and open mind to all the music and artists, playing at pubs and venues. Then there's the wilful destruction of the trees along rivers and pylons across mountains. He's brought awareness to all the things being done behind the scenes. To preserve all that is good about our climate, public services and our individual ability to sustain ourselves financially, creatively and with the central focus on working with the environment rather than ignoring the situation, we do need the Greens in government. None of the others are talking about it...or maybe they're talking about it but their decisions and votes on every matter demonstrate they don't care about Irish people, let alone foreign nationals, let alone farmers, let alone animals, let alone wildlife and let alone the climate.