Dublin Environmental Gathering highlights need for action at local level

Published by Niall Sargent on

April 9th, 2018

Community members from across Dublin came together for the first ever Dublin Environmental Gathering on Saturday.

The inaugural event in Dublin City Council’s Wood Quay venue attracted over 100 attendees and was organised by the Dublin Public Participation Networks (PPNs) in conjunction with the Irish Environmental Network (IEN)

There is a PPN in every county, and any non-profit group can join to keep informed of events in their county, and to have their say in local decision making. The four PPNs in Dublin are Fingal, South Dublin, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and Dublin City.

The day included presentations from PPN members and other organisations on inspiring projects they have undertaken, as well as providing attendees with networking opportunities.

Duncan Stewart addressing the crowd at the inaugural Dublin Environmental Gathering Photo: Catherine O'Toole

Duncan Stewart addressing the crowd at the inaugural Dublin Environmental Gathering Photo: Alan Tormey – Blakestown Drive Community Group

Change at a Local Level

Keynote speaker and presenter of RTE’s Eco Eye, Duncan Stewart said that “real and effective action” at a local level is key to facing the “daunting environmental challenges” of the future.

“This beckons a ‘clarion call’ for all citizens in the four Dublin PPNs to come forward and participate collectively, to form local sustainable community groups in every urban and rural village in the Greater Dublin area.

“It is through local collective action and online networks that spread infectiously and mainstream across Ireland, that real change will come about,” he added.

The IEN’s Catherine O’Toole said that the event will be the first in a series of events to be held throughout Ireland to encourage local groups to take action at a local level.

“We hope that by gathering the community together and providing them with useful and accurate information, as well as providing the opportunity to meet others in the area that are working towards similar goals, they can effectively create change in their locality,” she added.

Other speakers include Dr Jenni Roche who spoke about the Dublin Bay Biosphere, internationally recognised for its biological diversity since 1981.

Caitríona Rogerson from the IEN also spoke about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they can be implemented into local projects.

The 17 SDGs are a universal plan of action for people and planet to be achieved by the year 2030. They aim to end poverty, combat climate change and ensure that we leave peaceful, just and equal societies for future generations.

Triona Reid of VOICE Recycling Ambassadors Photo: Alan Tormey - Blakestown Drive Community Group

Triona Reid of VOICE Recycling Ambassadors Photo: Alan Tormey – Blakestown Drive Community Group

Showcasing Dublin’s Environmental Movement

A number of environmental groups and projects, spanning many different areas, also had information stands to inform people about their ongoing work, including Recycle IT.

The company won the Repak Community Recycler of the Year 2017 and shared information on community recycling collections and drop off for all kinds of electrical, electronic and metal equipment.

VOICE Ireland also showcased its Recycling Ambassador Programme, which gives free workshops to community groups to inform them of what can be recycled and how to recycle correctly and effectively.

Young Friends of the Earth promoted the launch of their educational series surrounding food sovereignty, Chew on This.

Each Local Environmental Network (LEN) in Dublin was also represented at the event. The LENs are a communication hub through which community groups and individuals can promote their green events, ask for advice on environmental issues, and meet others in their area.

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Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London