The Environmental Pillar, which is made up of 27 national environmental groups, has asked the incoming government to ensure that it protects the fundamental needs of our society and economy by protecting and enhancing the natural environment. In a detailed submission to the Fine Gael and Labour Parties, the Environmental Pillar outlined what is needed to be done in order to set Ireland on the road to sustainable future.
Amongst a wide range of strong recommendations the submission calls for: the implementation and enforcement of all European Directives on the Environment, including the cessation of turf-cutting on protected peatlands; the retention of Coillte in state ownership, coupled with an overhaul of the Forestry Acts; an end to motorway building; the immediate introduction of Climate Change legislation; an amendment to the Constitution providing for the Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment; and the ratification of the Aarhus Convention.
Speaking on behalf of the Environmental Pillar, Joanne Pender of the Irish Wildlife Trust stated “Almost every family is affected right now by unemployment, loss of earnings or loss of hard earned savings, and as a consequence the economy is going to be in the forefront of their considerations. However, the long term sustainability of employment and a thriving society depends completely on having a healthy environment. Our society, and the economic systems that we have created, is entirely dependent on the fundamental resources of healthy soils, clean water and air, a stable climate, and a healthy diversity of life. Without these services provided by nature, the elaborate social structures and economic systems that we have created cannot function.”
“Little value is put on these services, and their protection and enhancement featured nowhere in either the debate or the media coverage of the elections. And yet if, for example, the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive had been properly implemented and applied, it is very likely that the property bubble and the economic collapse that followed would have been largely avoided.”
Speaking on behalf of the Environmental Pillar Charles Stanley-Smith, of An Taisce, stated that “Further disasters await us if we don’t take climate change and the degradation of our environment seriously. We can redesign and repair the economic system, but the natural systems that we rely on for the fundamentals of life are on the verge of collapse. The time for our government to take action is now”
Notes to editors:
This press release was developed through the processes of the Environmental Pillar but doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of all its members.
Environmental Pillar members:An Taisce. Bat Conservation Ireland,BirdWatch Ireland. CELT – Centre for Ecological Living and Training. Coast Watch. Coomhola Salmon Trust. Crann. ECO UNESCO. Feasta. Forest Friends. Friends of the Earth. Gluaiseacht. Grian. Hedge Laying Association of Ireland. Irish Doctors Environment Association. Irish Natural Forestry Foundation. Irish Peatland Conservation Council. Irish Seal Sanctuary. Irish Seed Saver Association. Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. Irish Wildlife Trust. Just Forests. The Organic Centre. Sonairte. Sustainable Ireland Cooperative. VOICE. Zero Waste Alliance Ireland.
For further details, information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Michael Ewing. Co-ordinator, Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership –
Phone: 071 9667373. Mobile: 086 867 2153.
Danny Walsh. Communications Officer, Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership –
Phone: 01 8780116. Mobile: 086 8127139.
The Environmental Pillar of Social Partneship
MACRO Building, 1 Green Street, Dublin 7, Ireland
Tel: 01 8780116