Ireland’s longest running sustainable living festival kicks off at Electric Picnic

Published by Lia Flattery on

August 31st, 2017

As the Irish Government struggles to meet its climate targets, Convergence 2017, a festival celebrating and encouraging community-led sustainability and well-being initiatives across Ireland, is more important than ever.

Now in its seventeenth year, Convergence, kicking off this weekend at the Electric Picnic, is Ireland’s longest-running sustainable living festival. Behind the innovative festival is Cultivate, the sustainability collective based in Cloughjordan Ecovillage, Tipperary.

According to Cultivate, the festival will celebrate “transformative, community-led” efforts to meet Ireland’s climate targets and implement the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Festival organiser Davie Philip said: “Across Ireland, citizens, social enterprises, and communities are already using social innovation, co-production and collaborative consumption to strengthen resilience, foster their local economies, and create new jobs in areas such as food, transport, energy, education, housing and waste.”

The festival will bring together community champions, social entrepreneurs, researchers, networkers, support agencies and policy-makers to identify and celebrate best practices in sustainability and well-being, build capacity for local changemakers, and promote understanding of the actions that local communities can take to transform their lifestyles.

Wide Range of Events

The festival will launch at the Electric Picnic with the Convergence Tent, located in the Global Green Ecovillage. Here, festival goers can experience new music, local food and ideas and conversations surrounding a sustainable and “community-led future”.

Following the launch at the Electric Picnic, events will take place at locations nationwide from 16-30 September and will feature activities and discussions on a wide range of themes, such as community resilience, social innovation, citizen science, local culture, co-housing and community energy.

The Housing Ourselves Conference, scheduled for 16 September at Cloughjordan Ecovillage, will explore new models of housing, smaller homes, and more livable neighbourhoods with the aim of making “a community-led approach to housing a reality”.

Attendees will discuss topics such as whether new models of modular housing, smaller homes and the development of more livable neighbourhoods could contribute to healthier and more sustainable local communities.

A series of Stories and Conversations events will be held in cities and towns across the country. These events will focus on how to achieve healthy, low-carbon, sustainable communities and encourage increased engagement in community-led initiatives, green businesses, social enterprises, climate actions, wellbeing projects, and sustainability and local energy initiatives.

At many of these events, members of local projects will tell their own sustainability stories and facilitated café conversations will provide attendees with the opportunity to explore actions to encourage more local initiatives.

On 22 September, a conference on Climate Change and Health: The Challenges and the Opportunities will be held at NUI Galway. It will feature a diverse range of Irish and international speakers, including John O’Neill, Principal Officer for Climate Adaptation, Soil, GMOs and Chemicals at the Department of Environment, and Dr Nicholas Watts of the Lancet Countdown research initiative.

The Collaborative Economy Salon, which will be held on 28 September at the University of Limerick, will bring together researchers and practitioners interested in the rapid growth of the ‘sharing’ or ‘collaborative economy’ for an afternoon of discussion and exploration of “the untapped potential” of this approach from social, legal, economic and policy perspectives.

Some other Convergence 2017 events include the PermaCULTURE NIGHT at Galway’s newest public PermaCulture Food Trail, the Sustainable Community Fair at Cloughjordan Ecovillage and the inaugural European Day for Sustainable Communities, hosted by Ecolise in Cloughjordan EcoVillage and locations in Kerry and Galway.

The festival will conclude with The Soil Salon, where the GROW Observatory will help food growers, farmers and others to better understand soil and care for the land.

Most Convergence 2017 events are free to attend, although booking is essential. Further details and the full programme of events can be found here:

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Lia Flattery

Lía is a former writer and Deputy Editor at Trinity News. She also has a BA in History and English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.