I was invited to speak at the Clare Womens Network International Womens Day event in Ennis on March 8th. Someone else was talking about Clare PPN so that left me free to talk about the reason I am involved with any of this – Climate Change. I read my poem Inheritance, one of the many UN declarations that the meaningful participation of women in climate action is essential followed by my vision for Ireland, a piece I wrote for Claiming Our Future. The Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice have prepared a document detailing why the meaningful participation of women in climate action is vital and the UN also have a leaflet on the issue.
So what is my vision for Ireland? It’s pretty simple really. We get our act together and stop our abuse of our environment. We learn to live within our environmental means and planetary boundaries. It’s not as though we have another planet to move to when we’ve trashed this one. How do we do that? It may look like this…..
I live in a town with two bakeries, a brewery, a large dairy co-op, flour mill, a butcher, soap maker and numerous other local enterprises.
We also have a CSA community supported agriculture – cooperative farm beside our community garden. I work at the community and social centre so don’t have time to grow my own. I pay a set price to the dairy and CSA and every week then I email an order for fresh eggs, cheese, yogurt, butter and I pick up veg whenever I need them. I also try to get to the weekly market in town.
The repair cafe is usually hosted by the mens shed and the whole community gathers with their fixer uppers for a cup of tea. I bring a group of men from the centre. We got my radio working last week.
My youngest is making chairs at the local furniture co-op and my son works in the community bank.
I hear about my daughters work as she teaches in the local primary school. The children learn in a way that suits them so this term maths is being taught through football. Age action meet them at the community garden once a week to share skills and stories.
All of the town is powered by the solar panels on the roofs, the hydro system upstream, the anaerobic digesters at each farm and the wind turbine behind the GAA pitches.
The Transition movement and public participation in policy, mainly through activism and now the PPN, have taught me how important active citizenship is. People led change alters the mind set of government.
I challenge you to imagine your own community. A place of caring, a place of sharing, a place of well being. A life less dependent upon carbon intensive practices. I challenge you to imagine a life where earth stewardship is the norm.
Then build it.
Theresa O’Donohoe March 17th 2017