The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their latest major report on September 25. Evidence from scientists all over the world shows how climate change is affecting the ocean and the frozen parts of the earth. Urgent, ambitious and co-ordinated actions are called for to address these unprecedented and far-reaching changes that are happening now. Where better to start than Clonakilty? Award-winning, famous for festivals, and always looking to the future, the town is already out of the blocks in developing it’s own climate strategies.
Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Norman Crowley’s Cool Planet Champions have been working on a Climate Change strategy for Clonakilty since their first Roadmap meeting in May 2019. After months of preparation, the inaugural CoolClon Event will take place in the Parish Hall, Clonakilty, on Friday, November 15th, 2019. Everyone is invited and welcome to attend. It will be an opportunity to find out how people can make their homes and businesses more energy-efficient, more economical, and more sustainable.
Running throughout the day from 1pm to 4.30pm, there will be a host of events, talks and activities to show not just people from Clonakilty, but from all over West Cork, the strategies, ideas, and lifestyle changes that can bring the changes we desperately need.
The development of their roadmap strategy has involved analysis and research into issues surrounding the resilience of their community and the areas that can be changed. Some of the main areas include the number of E-Charging stations for E-Cars, publicly accessible water fountains, a town-wide renewable energy strategy, wider environmentally-friendly shopping options, local industry climate strategies, and climate change curriculums in local schools.
What can be changed?
How can it be changed?
It might not be widely known but the most harmful gases are HFCs, which are widely used in commercial refrigerants and air conditioners. CoolClon will be working to help businesses source natural refrigerants and find the finance to make the change.
Over the next five years, CoolClon will seek to take all of Clonakilty on to renewable energy and away from fossil fuels. Already, work is underway with the community, SEAI, energy providers and the major banks to make this vision become a reality. The benefits for the town in savings, reduction in pollution, and the positive awareness associated with such a project would be immeasurable.
To reduce the use of single use plastics and encourage people to use water bottles, Clonakilty is committed to the installation of a number of publicly accessible water fountains. Café’s and restaurants will also be encouraged to provide free water refills.
Following the example of Twig in reducing packaging and encouraging customers to bring their own containers and bags, CoolClon will hope to encourage more businesses to think better about how to reduce energy use and reduce waste. That the convenience of packaging must be replaced by more sustainable practices is no longer in question.
CoolClon sees the town becoming be a leader in providing more E-charging stations than anywhere else in Ireland. Scally’s supermarket has already agreed to put in 12 new stations and CoolClon are actively looking for more partners. Not only is this great for locals with electric cars, but great for tourists who need to know that range anxiety will never be a problem in Clonakilty.
In Ireland every year, one million tonnes of food is wasted. We need to become more educated on the locality of foods, the seasonality of foods, and the energy not just involved in their production but also in their transportation. Smarter menus, a more mixed diet, an emphasis on meatless days – all these can bring a much more sustainable ethos to our diets.
After years of endless productivity increases in our land, CoolClon is thinking about how to develop an environment that replenishes itself, absorbs carbon, and promotes a healthy ecosystem with the biodiversity needed for the future.
The community is working with stakeholders in the agricultural sector to promote various initiatives that encourage and deliver sustainable farming. Harold Kingston, local farmer and advocate for many positive initiatives in the farming world, will also be at the event to talk about agriculture, climate change and the challenges ahead.
Committing to long term sustainable solutions must be underpinned by education and effective engagement with young people who will be the ‘change agents’ of the future. The Cool Planet Experience education programme encourages young people to develop an understanding of the world around them and how to think critically about problems and solutions – key skills needed to address serious global issues such as climate change.
Their goal is to inspire 21st century problem-solvers, who see themselves as change-agents of tomorrow, designing innovative solutions towards a low carbon future. With the timelines suggested in IPCC reports, it will be our youngest who will face the greatest challenges in the decades ahead.
Though the initiative is being spearheaded and launched in Clonakilty, this is a great opportunity for other communities, chambers and groups to come and see what is happening in Clonakilty. It will be a fascinating day out – with an electric Ferrari, Tesla and other Electric Vehicles on show – and the day will begin with a welcome address from Norman Crowley, Crowley Carbon and Cool Planet Experience.