Image: Justin Byrne
1st November 2016
The looming reality of climate change requires a cultural change as immense as that of the Neolithic or Industrial revolutions. But this future is an opportunity rather than a threat. Innovation, inclusion and community can protect our way of life.
These were the key points that emerged from the Sustainable Cities conference, held on the 25th of October in Wood Quay. Organised by Cultivate and the Environmental Pillar, the talks were attended by members of many community groups, researchers and environmental NGOs.
Michael Ewing of the Irish Environmental Network said in his talk: “We have created our society and can change it for the better…the 17 sustainable development goals were partially developed by the Irish government though they may have forgotten this, and we must drive the process on an individual and local level. Public Participation Networks are a way for local communities to interface with local government and change its direction. It is important for all groups to form a cohesive whole at this point in time.”
Peadar Kirby of Cloughjordan Ecovillage spoke of the scale of the challenge. “Never have stakes been so high for future of planet and our species. This as an opportunity to move into a more humane society and to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. We must pass on to later generation cities that will not destroy themselves. Sustainability must be the heart of the vision, and a social revolution served by technology. This must be done in an egalitarian fashion so that the burdens of climate change do not fall on the poor of the earth.”
Ali Grehan of the Dublin City Architects commented: “The decisions made today will shape homes for years to come. What makes cities successful must be one of the most important questions of the 21st Century. Cities grow as they are magnets for people, centres of community and innovation and Dublin is projected to expand to a population of 2.2 million by 2050. Housing and homelessness is the single biggest issue facing Ireland and undermines our reputation as fair country.”
The conference also involved intergroup brainstorming as to how best to progress the goal of sustainable development. Common themes emerging from the discussion involved the need for greater community engagement, for better forms of communication between specialist groups and the continuing importance of environmental education.