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The earth is experiencing changes like never before, such as loss of biodiversity, climate change, species going extinct and environmental crises, and the impact is being felt at a local and global level. There is an opportunity right now for communities to be at the forefront of a movement of change towards a sustainable future through behaviour change, role modelling and inspiring innovative solutions.
Conversations to Explore
Consider our relationship to the land, to our native species and trees, waters, coastlines and boglands. What needs to be protected now to sustain the earth for future generations?
How are we planning for our community in a world affected by climate change, depleting resources, threatened food security and loss of biodiversity?
Take a walk in your local area with members of the community, along with any staff and volunteers who will be involved in driving this Sustainable Communities work forward in your community.
Notice nature… notice the air, the green spaces, the trees, the plants… notice how the birds and animals interact with nature… notice the feeling of peace that comes when spending time in nature… notice how sacred and delicate nature is and feel the responsibility of humans to look after her.
Host a conversation outside on the importance of protecting nature now and for future generations. What are the benefits we see for our community if we were to operate more closely in line with nature? What changes could we make in the short term and the long term, and what support would we need? Are there people within the community who could join with us in this journey?
Develop ethical purchasing and travel policies for your organisation
Carry out a waste audit for your organisation
Carry out an energy audit for your organisation
Organise a workshop for households on how to create water harvesters for their home
Encourage people in the local community to sign up to an 'Eco-Pledge'
Make information available for households to to retrofit their homes
Facilitate a process of working towards becoming a Transition Town
Set up a community garden
You can get support from http://cgireland.org/ or even apply for Energia 'Get Ireland Growing' funding from Grow It Yourself, e.g. clearing space for an inner-city community garden, putting a polytunnel on a school roof or creating a pond at an allotment.
Apply to become a Tidy Town
Develop a biodiversity plan for the local area, including measures to encourage pollinating insects
Invite your supermarket to host an information day on packaging and to offer recycling points for packaging waste
See what Midleton Tidy Towns achieved: http://localprevention.ie/2013/04/08/midleton-event-on-alternate-environment-friendly-household-cleaning-agents/
Use the ‘See It Say It’ app from EPA to report pollution in the local area
Sign up to the Sustainable Energy Community network
Your community can work towards becoming as energy efficient as possible:
Make 'Wild' any green spaces within your local community
Consider wilding green spaces within your local community.
Work with local businesses to support them in their waste prevention, as well as raising awareness of hazardous waste and promote sustainable alternatives
Arrange a community workshop on recycling
Organise a monthly birdwatch or wildflower walk
Draw attention to nature!
Organise a monthly bird watching morning/ wildflower walk/ other activity to draw attention to nature – if there is no one with local knowledge on these issues there are lots of online apps to assist with this!
Further Resources & Supports
‘Our Sustainable Future’ plan for Ireland: https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/environment/topics/sustainable-development/our-sustainable-future/Pages/default.aspx
www.epa.ie/livegreen – a portal that provides advice, awareness and education on sustainability at home and in the community
LA21 Funding for increasing environmental awareness
www.localprevention.ie – some brilliant and community grown solutions of what is happening to address many of the issues we have mentioned.
Friends of the Earth: www.foe.ie