Walking The Earth is a literary expedition designed to share extraordinary places and people on our planet that are worth protecting and supporting. Each story centers around walking as a human activity that has linked people and places throughout time across the globe around the world. Today we have released Frank Reidy’s wonderful story from Ireland, “Walking With The Donald.” It involves global warming which Mr. Trump believes is “bullshit” in the United States, but a real threat and the core contributor to rising sea levels, and stronger storms, in Ireland. And the story is about the fight between Donald Trump and this small snail and the valiant efforts of the Friends Of The Irish Environment to protect it.
The courts confirmed last week that the Edenderry Power plant permission should have considered the indirect impacts of the extraction of 1.2 million tons of peat a year, vindicated environmentalists’ legal challenges to the continued operation of the plant.
The challenges to the permission to extend the life of the plant beyond 2016 resulted in the final quashing of the permission last week by Justice Michael White. A stay on the order, which requires the decommissioning of the plant, has been granted by the Courts until April 2017 in order that a ‘fall back’ application for its continuance may be considered by An Bord Pleanala.
However, while admitting An Taisce’s case that indirect effects of the extraction of the fuel should have been considered as part of the environmental impact assessment [EIA] required by law, he ruled against FIE who brought a parallel case over the failure to consider the impacts through Appropriate Assessment [AA] under the Habitats Directive.
The impact of Ireland’s new international commitments and national legislation intended to address climate change impact has been completely ignored in the current Independent Review of Airport Charges.
The review avoids addressing the issue of rising emissions from aviation, does not actually set out any policies to deal with emissions, and fails to acknowledge the need to cap and curb demand growth so that the target of limiting global warming to no more than 2°C can be met’.
Aviation emissions in Ireland have increased this year alone by 12% above 2015. This represents a significant drain on Ireland’s putative climate efforts and is entirely contrary to both the Paris Agreement and our own recent Climate legislation.’
Taken in conjunction with the recent Dublin Area Transport Plan which also ignored the requirement to have regard to climate change, FIE is concerned with the mind-set of the Department of Transport, which appears not to have accepted that it must share in the burden of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
Read the submission:
FIE is today publishing a Report obtained under Access to Information on the Environment showing shocking photographs of the Office of Public Works’ brutal bank clearance on the Bandon River beside Dunmanway’s Long Bridge last September. The site is host to a dense colony of the protected fresh water pearl mussel, and the Report details ‘removal of riparian trees and vegetation and disturbance of the ground resulting in the presence of large amounts of loose soil.’ Subsequent reports by the National Parks and Wildlife Service include photographs showing the river entirely overwhelming the silt fences put in place to prevent erosion. FIE has written to the Minister, highlighting the dangers to the environment of the OPW’s highly interventionist approach to urban flooding which emphasises hard landscape measures over catchment management and soft measures. The disastrous approach demonstrated in this Report is being replicated in the flood management schemes across the country.
FIE is calling on the Cork Association for Autism to amend their planned balloon release this Sunday and ‘keep it on a string’. The practice of releasing balloons was ‘an act of littering’ that only continued because people were unaware of the consequences. ‘If the public knew how hazardous balloons are to the environment they would never allow it’, FIE Director Tony Lowes said.
The group has protested balloon launches before. The balloon release planned for the January 2013 opening of the Irish EU Presidency was re-arranged at the last minute after FIE’s protest to include a ‘Secure Balloon Release’, and not a ‘general balloon release.’
‘All of the balloons for the ceremony’, Tony Lowes explained, ‘had extra-long string attached. The balloons were then released from chest height and let go to the maximum of the string length for the launch itself. After the EU ceremony, children were able to take the balloons home with them as a memento of the day.’
FIE first tried to prevent President Mary McAleese partaking in a memorial balloon release in 2005. At the time Environment Minister Dick Roche refused to prohibit mass balloon releases. In 2009 the prestigious Dublin’s Mount Anville school cancelled a planned balloon release after FIE issued a public call. In July 2012 Birdwatch Ireland and three other wildlife and marine groups issued a call to Ban Balloon Releases.
UK Marine Conservation Society Pollution Policy and Position Statement, 2014
Birdwatch Ireland (and others) July 2012 call for Ban