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Cork City Community Groups Breathing Clean Air Into Climate Action

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Pictured are members of community from Ballincollig. Members of Cork City Council’s Community Climate Action Programme officially launching the work done from individual community groups from across Cork City showing that at the heart of any great city are the people who stand up and make real change through real doing. Picture: Michael O’Sullivan /OSM PHOTO

All across Cork City, for several months now, members of various communities have worked together, as part of Cork City Council’s Community Climate Action Programme, with the support of Cork Environmental Forum, in addressing the challenges faced by Climate Change and the Biodiversity Crisis. Cork City has proven, yet again, that at the heart of any great city are the people who stand up and make real change through real doing. 

The Community Climate Action Programme, funded by Cork City Council, saw numerous members of communities from Waterloo, Blarney, Kilcully, Shandon, Gurranabraher, Turners Cross, Ballincollig, Douglas, Bishopstown, South Parish, and Mayfield along with members of Naomh Óg na Chorcaí and the Missionary Sister of our Lady of Apostles in Ballintemple, work with Cork Environmental Forum facilitators in discovering what Climate Action can look like in a visceral manner while also creating a strategy for them as individual groups to continue working on as well as the learnings from the programme to be absorbed into their own lives as individuals. 

Picture: Michael O’Sullivan /OSM PHOTO

When looking at Climate Action, we often see the larger, more grim impacts of Climate Change. Yet when groups of individuals come together, the required Climate Action to really fight Climate Change comes to the fore and becomes very real and easily manageable when we start small. Looking at the individual communities own needs, biodiversity and possibilities, each group worked tirelessly in bringing together a strategy document with the support of Cork Environmental Forum which allows them to continue to work at their identified goals and objectives. 

Bernie Connolly, Development Coordinator of Cork Environmental Forum said that “This programme has been important in assessing where communities are in their journey to support climate action and combat biodiversity loss across the city, it is a crucial step in building a collaborative approach to increasing the momentum and action for both in the City.”

The programme is a part of Ireland’s National Climate strategy to deliver on the Citizen Engagement and Community Leadership goals in the Climate Action Plan 2021.  The programme also incorporates the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  The programme emerged in the context of complex International, European, National and Local Policies and is rooted in the Cork City Council Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2019-2024. 

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Deirdre Forde said ‘This new programme has community at the heart of it. As Cork City Council continues to roll out initiatives to combat the threat of climate change, improving the quality of life of our citizens and visitors to the city, the role of the community has never been so valued and important in tackling climate change. I am so proud of the individuals involved in this wonderful programme and heartened by the very real action these individuals have taken. The future for us here in Cork and beyond is bright when we can see the good work of so many coming to the fore.” 

With such incredible work happening on a grass roots level, the people involved in these communities want to share their knowledge with the wider public and are encouraging all to make small changes in their everyday activities. And if you don’t know where to begin; get in touch with Cork Environmental Forum at www.cef.ie

Some suggested actions for people at home from the groups involved:

Biodiversity & Nature-based Solutions:

Waste & Consumption:

  • Reusable cups in local cafes
  • Hazardous home waste disposal
  • Local object/tool library

Food:

  • Raising awareness about eating in season
  • Raising awareness about home waste to school children/teachers
  • Local food markets
  • Possibility of local allotment spaces
  • Local Food Cloud and reducing food waste
  • Eating healthy, cheap and sustainable

Water:

  • Reconnect people with waterways –  tidy ups, recreation and education.
  • Reduce water waste 
  • Contactless water refill stations 

Energy:

  • Electric car charging ports 
  • Solar panels on roofs of local community centres 

Travel:

·      Increase use of public transport

·      Cycle more

·      Cycle bus corridors for school children

Community:

  • Engage and encourage community walks
  • Network, expand group and community building activities

·       Explore how to integrate the schools into little tidy towns projects which would help them appreciate the work that goes into keeping their community a lovely nature friendly place to live.

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