Cork Environmental Forum awards shine a light on community environmental activism

The Community and Voluntary Award, a very competitive category, has been awarded to the Oceans Plastic Project, a partnership with six schools in West Cork. Some of the volunteers pictured on Long Strand.

Cork Environmental Forum has announced its award winners for 2022, shining a spotlight on the wonderful activism, commitment and work being done across the sectors to support our environment.

The Community and Voluntary Award, a very competitive category, has been awarded to the Oceans Plastic Project, a partnership with six schools in West Cork, to go out on the beaches, cleaning the litter, collecting and logging it and educating the students about marine waste, pollution and improving marine literacy on coastal biodiversity and marine life. It also incorporates an element of reuse of materials salvaged from the marine environment. 

The popularity of the recently established Circular Economy category continues to grow and Skibbereen based Cycle Sense is this year’s winner. Cycle Sense’s reuse projects help to reduce the need for raw materials by reclaiming discarded existing products and giving them an extended life through repair and repurposing.

The Outstanding Individual category winner is ornithologist Pat Smiddy who has spent a lifetime recording, researching and writing about birdlife in Cork and beyond. He has published over 100 papers and notes in a wide range of natural history journals, as well as several book chapters. He recently co-authored The Birds of County Cork, a comprehensive account of the ecology of all species known to have occurred in the county, with an emphasis on distribution, population change and migration.

A commendation has been awarded to Niamh Guiry for her efforts in spearheading the establishment of a Nature Forum in Cork which is about forming a coalition in order to mobilise action to address biodiversity loss.  

Liberty Grill and Café Gusto food business partnership are a very well-deserving winner of the Business and Commercial Award. The business group have taken lengths to invest in low energy food preparation equipment with a conscious vision towards a low carbon economy. As well as consciously implementing circular economy practices and choosing to omit out of season and/or environmentally damaging ingredients and products from their menus. 

A commendation has been given under this category to L’Arche Cork, Go Green Project, which provides short courses and workshops on horticulture and sustainability specifically tailored for people with Intellectual Disability focusing on food security, biodiversity and recycling. 

Cork City Council has scooped the Award under the Public Sector for the Marina Park Phase One for the way in which accessibility, mobility, space for recreation together with space for nature have been considered and consciously blended in the delivery of this public green space.  

Meitheal Mara have received a commendation in this category building the traditional Irish Currachs from natural, renewable materials. They create beautiful tote bags from ‘end of roll’ materials whilst handles are made from materials salvaged during river clean-ups.  

CEF is delighted to see such great quality across all nominations and thank everyone who took the time and effort to make a nomination. The task of the selection panel is a very difficult one given the merits of all entries and it is so uplifting to see the level of activity being carried out by so many dedicated people across the Cork city and county.  

As always there is a mix of those who have been quietly but consistently active in strengthening the awareness, understanding and activism for sustainability and new initiatives that capture in an inspiring way both the public imagination and reflect societal change. “Ultimately we will address the dual challenges of climate and biodiversity loss at a local level and this is why it is so heartening to see such activism in such a range of areas that are contributing to focusing on the solutions and shifts that are required” said Bernie Connolly, CEF Coordinator. 

WCP Staff

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