18 February 2021
Two pilot projects on community-based climate action transitions have officially launched today.
Developed by the Think-tank for Action on Social Change (TASC) and supported by Allied Irish Bank (AIB), the People’s Transition pilot projects will take place in Phibsborough in Dublin and Ardara in County Donegal over the next six months.
The community-led approach aims to bolster public support for climate action by simultaneously addressing inequality, building local wealth and raising standards of living whilst delivering climate solutions.
“To put it simply, we’re going to listen to communities, learn from communities and then to attempt to create solutions with communities,” Executive Manager of the TASC Climate Justice Centre Sean McCabe said at the launch.
Engagement with stakeholders is set to take place in March and April, with community dialogues scheduled for May.
Following this, co-created solutions are expected to take place over June and July.
At the end of the pilot, organisers from both Phibsborough and Ardara are expecting to have a community blueprint for community wealth-building approaches to climate action.
Representatives from both communities also spoke at the launch and reiterated their commitment to a community-led approach.
The Bohemian Football Club is fan-owned and has been since 1890, and works to have all member voices heard, according to the club’s COO and Phibsborough resident Daniel Lambert.
“In a similar way, this project is trying to demonstrate that, by listening to community voices, the responses to climate change can be community owned and their benefits of it can be shared widely,” he said.
Rural communities face a unique set of challenges in the face of the climate crisis, particularly in relation to farming and fishing, but they also, “provide valuable perspectives and creativity,” Ardara resident Natalie Lough said.
The People’s Transition
Late last year, Sean McCabe authored a TASC paper on the People’s Transition, and the model of engagement serves as a guiding light for the pilot projects.
The research was underpinned by the rapidly running out clock to act on climate and that, “ultimately, governments will have to act now without critical widespread support,” Sean McCabe told The Green News in December.
The only way to do this, he says, is to build social approval.
A stick-based approach to climate action is ineffective, and in Mr. McCabe’s own words, a carrot-based approach, “is using climate action to do what people want to do or what communities need done”.
Mr. McCabe also stresses that a societal transformation beyond renewable energy or retrofitting is necessary to truly take equitable climate action.
Actions like a four-day working week, a living wage and a right to housing can all help take climate action, according to his research.
“If families have a healthy work life balance, had adequate and sufficient income, if they have kitchen facilities, you could potentially have a much greater focus on local produce or accessing local markets,” he said.