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Sen. Grace O’Sullivan – Climate Action Event For South East

Creating a Local Sustainable Future – Practical actions for your community

National and local networks have come together to host a solution-based approach to creating a sustainable future within both rural and urban communities.

Kilkenny is set to hold an interactive cross-county event, to explore how local communities can create a sustainable future against the backdrop of the growing impacts of climate change.

This free event, organised by the Public Participation Networks (PPN) of counties Tipperary, Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford and Waterford and the Irish Environmental Network, will take place at the Ormonde Hotel on Saturday February 23rd. Senator O’Sullivan will deliver the keynote address at this event that comes in response to growing demand for local solutions to an impending threat of climate change.
The event will concentrate on actions that can be replicated in any local area, whether at home or in the community, and aims to deliver action-focused outcomes for all participants.

Each workshop is delivered by an expert in their field, with the overall event facilitated by Davie Phillip of Cultivate, a Tipperary-based environmental NGO based in the Cloughjordan eco-village.

The event will focus on four key themes, including how to work towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how to expand the conversation of climate action, through community initiatives.

The other key themes are how to develop local responses to climate action in water catchment areas, and developing actions for biodiversity protection across a range of habitats found across the five counties.

During the day there will be four breakout sessions, each focusing on an important issue that we face today, including biodiversity loss, with wildlife populations down 60% in the last 40 years.

Pádraic Fogarty, leading Irish ecologist and vocal spokesperson for reversing biodiversity loss, will lead a workshop to explore solutions to this crisis.

There will also be interactive workshop to explore the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the practical side of applying them to the work of community groups. Davie Phillip, who for the last 20 years has helped to create sustainable communities and locally led initiatives, will lead this community orientated workshop.

Individuals around Ireland are becoming more vocal about the need for climate action. Ray McGrath, who has been working within communities in Waterford to bring climate actions to a wider audience, will lead an action focused workshop set to expand the conversation to all community groups, and identify a range of environmental actions that they can take.

With floods and droughts increasingly impacting rural farming communities and set to become more severe over the next few years, it is important that we work now to protect our water sources.

For this reason, the final workshop will explore initiatives that are being taken to protect water quality and look at what can be done within communities to help nurture healthy rivers and lakes. Fran Igoe, the southern regional coordinator for the Local Authority Waters Programme, will lead this workshop. Mr Igoe has worked on large scale locally led conservation projects, which will be explored during the workshop.

The event will end with a Q&A panel including all facilitators and speakers, and time over lunch to browse the information stands from local and regional environmental groups.

Senator Grace O’Sullivan said: “The importance of ‘Think Global, Act Local’ has never been more evident than at the moment. The evidence for strong government and international action goes hand-in-hand with the need to include communities. We need to give citizens a feeling of agency and improve support for and awareness of environmental initiatives designed to tackle the ecological crisis we face.”

Pádraic Fogarty of the Irish Wildlife Trust said: “The extinction crisis is happening in parallel with the climate crisis and it is important that communities can appreciate how this is affecting the places in which they live and work. Addressing both crises in tandem can bring enormous opportunities for local people when the right initiatives are put in place.”

Annette Dupuy, Wexford PPN Support Officer said: “From this event we want to give attendees three things; evidence based actions that they can replicate in their own areas, an opportunity to make new connections, and most of all inspiration to continue their work in creating a local sustainable future. We are very excited to bring this event to the South East and to share the great work that is being done in the area.”

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