This is Just the Beginning

Prophetic words “This is just the beginning” was a comment on a post I shared on facebook about the water crisis in Cape Town. You can read The Guardian article here. They are calling this a one in 384 year drought. It’s another step in the climate changed direction.

Also on my facebook feed this morning was a memory from last year, an image of food shortages in Europe. This report on RTE this day last year stated that:

“An extreme mix of drought followed by flooding and freezing conditions has severely affected growers in southern Spain, while poor conditions have also hit farmers in Italy, Greece and Turkey.

Experts have warned that if the weather does not improve in the coming weeks the problem may continue until April, with customers hit by price rises.”

While someone in the Cape Town article said:

“He believes Cape Town’s vineyards bear a large share of blame because they are water-intensive yet they have continued to expand during the drought. “Wine is a luxury. We shouldn’t be using water for that, yet even now new vineyards are opening.”

The link between food and climate change is phenomenal. This year started with farmers including the Irish Farmers Association IFA calling a fodder crisis. Report in TheJournal.ie here. More on RTE here. The government eventually came up with a fodder transport scheme to pay to get fodder to those who needed it. More on that here.

Water shortages or increased rainfall are impacting globally and we are tied up in the global markets. Climate change will have a massive impact on our economy. Not only will we end up paying massive fines for not acting on climate change we will have hefty costs associated with climate affected food sources.

What to do? As well as tackling greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the impact on climate we need to be adapting and building resilience to the effects. When it comes to food we need to start depending on sources closer to home. We need greater diversity locally. Why do we import the vegetables that we can grow in Ireland? Who thought that was a good idea?? Why do we breed cattle for export further contributing to climate pollution??? We need to stop believing the total bs coming from our politicians as our climate action minister tries to defend our inaction. Irish Times article here which states:

Agriculture accounts for a third of Irish greenhouse gas emissions, and Ireland is likely to miss its Paris targets for overall emission reductions by 2020 – one of fewer than four member states likely to miss legally-binding commitments.

We need to rethink what we do and expect change. We need people with ideas. We need to think critically and outside the box. Perhaps its’ time to start cutting silage with a hook again if the ground is too soggy for big heavy tractors.

What can we do? Here are some stories and projects from the Transition Network website. See if any of them appeal to you. You can find out about Transition in Ireland on their facebook page here. Then get busy planning. NB The first step is to find out who else around you wants to do the same thing or similar. 

You may have some practical ideas for your community or county so it is worth looking up your County Development Plan and your Local Economic and Community Plans to see if they would be supported in local policy. We have a National Mitigation Plan here and a National Adaptation Framework here. I find a lot of the planning is infrastructural and think we need a more holistic approach – realistic implementable changes for communities like food, energy, transport, waste, land use etc. I often find that national policy is the only way to get local change though. If what you’re doing or would like to do is reflected in policy then you have the right to pursue change and possibly even receive support.

You can contact me or comment below if you would like some support to get you started.

Theresa O’Donohoe

February 3rd 2018

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