Still waiting for Spring

Okay, so the title’s a little over the top but nonetheless we’re approaching the middle of May and you wouldn’t know it by the weather!

We did have that magical week of warm weather back in April when the whole town started rummaging in its garden shed for the barbecue set and rushed off down to the harbour to bag its place, Mediterranean style, at a table in the sun; but then the sun went away to be replaced with cold and rain.  And here we still are.

Which means that growth has been slow in the vegetable patch.

There has been some growth just the same.  Our spuds are now all showing, each plant present and correct in its allotted drill; the winter onions are beginning to swell and the first of them will soon be ready for pulling; and the broad beans that our four year old granddaughter helped me plant, “I did it all; Granddad only made the holes”, last October are now bigger than she is.

These beans are very much “hers”.  When they germinated she came back to see the first green shoots; a few times over the winter to see them slowly getting bigger; then the first flowers; and now that the bees have done their bit, tiny little swelling pods.  I’m quite certain that when it comes time to harvest she won’t let me anywhere near them.

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She might even take an interest in eating them.  If so I’m sure her mother who, like all mothers, struggles to get her children to eat vegetables will thank me for that.  It’s a bit of a long shot given that no-one in the history of forever liked broad beans as a child, but you never know.

Elsewhere the fruit trees have set a goodly amount of fruit – we were lucky with the frosts this year – and the strawberries are flowering well.  I’ve a feeling I won’t be let anywhere near them either if that certain little madam gets her way.

Other than that it’s pretty much a waiting game outside at the moment, but Met Eireann are promising the weather’s about to change this weekend, so fingers crossed.

Meanwhile we decided to tackle the polytunnel and get our tomatoes, peppers and what have you planted

We’d rather put this on the long finger because we’d still got some overwintered veg growing there, plus a load of strawberry plants which were supposed to give us an early crop this month.

We tried this last year with reasonable success.  They cropped from very late April all the way through May before we, ingrates that we are, reefed them out and consigned them to the compost heap.

But this year it became evident that they weren’t going to do much at all for some reason.  The plants were mostly weak and hadn’t rooted well; they had to go.  So they did.

We’re trialling the No Dig method this year in the allotment.

No Dig is exactly what it says it is: you don’t dig the soil but spread compost on top instead and plant through that.  The idea being not to disturb the living microbial and fungal ecosystem of the soil by cutting it all up and churning it about.  By not digging you don’t activate dormant weed seeds, so not only do you avoid the heavy spade work but you have less subsequent weeding as well.  At least, that’s the plan.

So having cleared out the beds and given them a light raking to even them up, it was time to apply 4″ of compost.

Actually, that’s not quite true.  There was no room on top for an extra 4″ of anything, so we had to raise the beds.  This we did, using reclaimed wood supplied FoC to anyone in the allotments who both wanted it, and was quick enough to grab it, by a cooperative neighbour (you know who you are Ken!), and the extra height will keep us out of trouble for a good few years.  Then the compost went in.

This made serious inroads into to our supply of homemade compost, but at the end of the day that’s what it’s for, and anyway we’re only now beginning to get the compost cycle into full production.  When fully up and running, which will be this year, we reckon to get the equivalent of four or five tonne bags annually.

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Beds planted up and inter-planted with lettuce and scallions as a catch crop. The hanging mesh tray relieves a lot of space on the potting table and can be taken down when the plants below need stringing.

 

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Still a few bits and pieces to be planted out.

 

The polytunnel should be about rather more than just raising seedlings in Spring and growing tomatoes in Summer, it’s also about extending the growing season and growing out of season produce.  The trouble is that it’s hard to get the timing right and not have stuff in the ground still coming to fruition when the space is needed for something else.  We get it wrong frequently.

Hopefully No Dig will help here as well.

This Autumn when the tomatoes and peppers come out we will again put in strawberry runners, along with carrots, cauliflower and other vegetables which we’ve found do well there over Winter, but this time we’ll plan the spacings so that the summer crops can be interplanted between them and get off to an early start.  Overlap their growing time in other words.

Because we won’t be digging or rotorvating we won’t have to completely clear beds between rotations; simply plant beside and pull out as necessary.  That’s the plan at any rate.

[Edit]  Since writing this post the sun has come out and the weather warmed up.  Hooray!  Long may it last.

Here at Sustainable Skerries we’re always on the lookout for environmental news and when we find something interesting we’re inclined to want to share it with you.

So far this week we’ve found two:

Stuffed with stuff ... Maurice Herson at Oxford’s library of things. Photograph: Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi/The Guardian

A “Library of things”, a concept that ties in closely with the ‘Repair Cafe’ ethos and aims to make communities more self sufficient

and, rather less cheerfully

One million animal, plant species face extinction – UN

Earth's eight millions species of plants and animals are dying off at an accelerated rate

Sombre reading, and very easy to ignore it because it’s so depressing.  Which is exactly why we all should be reading it.  And then doing something about it.

 

The links are on our ‘Media’ site.

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I normally enjoy writing about the allotments and all that goes on through the year, and why not?  After all, we’re all up there growing healthy vegetables, communing with nature and doing our best to help the environment, so what’s not to like?

Answer above.

And below.

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And again.

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That first photo was taken on the 31st of March.

Fingal CC provide one of these skips twice a year, once in Spring;once in Autumn.  Up until now this has been sufficient, albeit barely.  But this year’s early skip was nowhere near up to the sheer volume of rubbish accumulated.

Photos 2 and 3 were taken a couple of days ago, and you’d never know that a skip had been filled and taken away barely three weeks since.

Actually, the skip didn’t get taken at all to start off with.  In an effort to get rid of as much waste as possible the volunteers overfilled it to a ridiculous extent.  Ever seen “Level load only” stencilled on the side of a skip?  As such that must be the most optimistic and ineffectual signage of all time, but this was taking it to the extreme.

This still didn’t stop latecomers turning up with even more rubbish, their only problem was trying to work out how to possibly get it up there.  Still they tried, and if it slipped off and onto the ground, so what?  They could at least walk away knowing that they’d done their bit.

So when the Fingal driver turned up to collect the next day he took one look, turned around and drove straight back out the gate.

There was nothing else he could have done.  If he’d have hitched up to that he’d have been pulled by the guards before he got a mile down the road.

So the next day the same volunteers had to take half the load off again and throw it to the ground.  The skip was taken.

That rubbish is still on the ground and is being added to daily.  We are back to pictures 2 and 3.

So what’s going on?  Where’s all this waste coming from all of a sudden?

I think I know the answer.

The allotments are nine years old.  They support an increasing number of polytunnels.  Polytunnel plastic has an average life expectancy of 10 years.  Up until now very few have needed replacing; now an ever increasing number each year must be recovered.  Recovering a polytunnel creates an awful amount of plastic waste.  Trust me, I know.

Look again at the photos.  How much of that is polytunnel plastic?

When a polytunnel cover is replaced it is not only the old plastic that has to be thrown out, there are a lot of offcuts from the new cover also and a large amount of waste to be disposed of..  This cannot be avoided.  What can be avoided is throwing out all the bulky doorframes still wrapped in said plastic; these should be stripped and segregated.  We’ll come back to that.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not against polytunnels; I have one myself.  I re-covered ours 18 months ago so it should be good, and I should be safe, for another eight years or so; but, yes, it produced a lot of waste at the time.  What I’m getting round to saying is that we have to rethink our attitudes to waste and start acting responsibly.

By now some of you have taken offence.

Good, you’re my kind of people.  You’re offended because you do care, you do try, and I’m lumping you in with the idiots (there is no other word) who don’t.  When I say “we” I mean the collective “we”, the collective “we” who are responsible for the godammed awful mess in the bottom car park.

The allotment committee have always dictated that only green waste be allowed to be left there.  They have steadfastly refused to segregate an area for non-green waste because they’re afraid that this would encourage some to bring rubbish from home.

They have a point.

Look again at photo 3.  What clown threw a plastic commode onto the pile?  I hope you’re reading this, whoever you are.  Ditto the person who disposed of their kid’s blue plastic paddling pool perched on top of the skip in photo 1.

(Actually, the thought occurs that I’ve just found a replacement word for “idiot”; in truth I’ve plenty more but unfortunately cannot print any of them here).

I feel strongly that if nothing else wood should be segregated.  My best estimate is that 40% by volume of that skip was wood.  Waste wood has a value; or at least a small value that can partially defray the cost of getting rid of it.  Some thrifty types pick through the pile for bits and pieces that they can reuse; one or two others take the best of the rest home for firewood.

And couldn’t we use it for the annual pig roast instead of importing yet more waste wood in the form of pallets.  All the while it is laced through the rest of the crap in the heap the answer is no.  But if it were put to one side?

Of course, allotment holders would have to comply and act sensibly.  A heap of old fence wire with a stake on the end of it does not constitute wood waste any more than aforementioned polytunnel doors covered in plastic do.  But if one can make the effort to assemble such things in the first place surely one can take the trouble to disassemble them when finished with?

The committee have also always said that everyone should take all their non green waste home with them.  I’m sorry, but I think this is a totally unrealistic expectation and is never going to happen.

How many people are going to bundle swathes of muddy old polytunnel plastic into their cars?  Ditto old fencing, rotting scaffold boards and wooden shed panels.  I’ll tell you the answer: as near to none as makes no difference.

Even if we segregate properly, and we should, we will need more than two skips a year.  The problem is that they cost money, and quite a bit of it.  Apparently a skip of the size in question is something in the order of €800 to €900.  Fingal won’t keep throwing us more skips just because we ask for them and the association simply doesn’t have the money.

Any income to the association is already allocated to grass cutting and maintaining the water supply etc.  there is nothing to spare.  But if the (paltry) annual membership fee of €10 was doubled to €20 an extra €1,900 would be generated.  And guess what?  It could pay for two more skips a year.

I’d be more than happy to fork out the extra cost of two pints of porter or three cappuccinos.  Would you?

Whatever the whatevers of it all, the present situation cannot continue, I think we are all agreed on that.  the electrification of the gate to restrict unwanted access will help.  There are various ideas being bandied about by the committee and it would be premature of me to talk about them here and now.  But in the meantime we can all do our bit.

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Firstly, the idiot who dumped this green waste on top of the (admittedly only semi segregated) plastic and wood waste should be shot, as should the people who don’t bother picking the plastic, bits of string etc out of their green waste.

I recently constructed a raised bed and filled it with soil/compost from the car park.  It was surprisingly nice looking stuff and I bet it makes an excellent growing medium without the need of anything else, but…

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…every spadeful contained string, plastic, plant labels, you name it, which had to be picked out.  Plastics and microplastics are invading every part of our lives, food supply and environment.  Here at Skerries allotments we seem to be doing our level best to make matters worse.

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April 2019

April can in many ways be a frustrating month; it’s supposed to be all about sunshine, sparkling showers and blossom bursting out on fruit trees.

And sometimes it is.

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But right now the sun has disappeared, temperatures have plummeted, the early foraging bees are nowhere to be seen and even the dandelions have shut down by folding their flowers tight.  A bitter easterly wind makes it feel twice as cold and we may as well be back in the depths of winter.  This sort of weather is allowed in March, we expect it; but mid April?  Come on!

In truth there is nothing unusual about any of this, it happens pretty much every year and we all have a jolly good moan as if it can’t possibly have happened ever before.  When the sun returns in a few days we’ll have forgotten all about it.  Meanwhile it’s too damned cold to be outside so I’m finally getting around to updating my blog.

So what’s happening?

Well, the rhubarb is looking pretty verdant and we’ve had a few feeds off it already with many more to come.

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There are two things I love about rhubarb.  The first is the taste, good old traditional rhubarb and custard is hard to beat.  (We must have forgotten to plant custard last year; we had to go out and buy that part).

The second thing I like about it is that it is so easy to grow; in fact it grows itself.  Just throw on some compost once a year, pick away all summer and tidy up the dead leaves in late autumn.  That’s it, nothing else to do.  It even smothers its own weeds as it grows.

Sown direct into the ground last October, the broad beans are in full flower accompanied by a row of early peas.  The latter grown in modules in the polytunnel and planted out a week ago.

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Winter garlic and onions are making good progress and Marion’s weeds, sorry, flowers, dotted around the pathways and encroaching on my vegetable beds brighten the place up.

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Things are busy in the polytunnel too, with seedlings in modules all growing ready to be planted out in their allotted positions with military timing and position on the appropriate calendar day.  (Which is probably the most ludicrous statement I or anyone else ever made on a gardening blog).

This year the whole of the allotments has gone tomato mad, with everyone rushing about swapping Heritage and other unusual varieties.  But Hey!  That’s what polytunnels are all about.  We have that many already that we’d need ten polytunnels to grow them all in, some serious culling will have to be done.

My favourite so far is called Mrs Ruckston’s Bush, or something like that.  Definitely have to make room for that one.

Rain forecast for tomorrow but it’s been mostly dry lately so everyone has been up turning the soil.

That’s another nice thing about this time of year, only the diehards are to be occasionally seen in the winter but once March and April come everyone else comes out of hibernation and old acquaintances are renewed and new friends made.

We ourselves have done very little digging this year and intend to do very little more.  We’re trying ‘No Dig’.

The principle behind this is that soil does not need to be dug for vegetables, indeed it can be all the better off for being left alone.  All the living organisms, including saprophytic fungi, which make it work are better undisturbed.  At the same time plants are quite happy to grow in firm soil (there is a difference between firm and compacted).  Also, every time you dig you stir up weed seeds; if you don’t dig you, er, don’t.

The idea is entirely new to us but it seems to make sense so we’re giving it a go.

The broad beans and peas mentioned above were planted in this way and I put in our spuds a couple of weeks ago.  All that was required was to pull up the sprouts that had overwintered there, rake the bed level again, and drop in the potatoes at the correct spacing to the depth of a trowel.  The bed was then covered with two inches of our own compost and that was that.  If necessary as the tubers form and if they’re likely to go green on exposure to sunlight, they get another inch of compost.

We’ll see how it turns out.

If it does go all pear shaped we’ll be blaming a certain Charles Dowding.  He has a small market garden in Somerset and an excellent series of tutorials on YouTube.  Have a look at this one for starters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVY4SJt4mzg   or this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXO_j0vriwk

 

So that’s us halfway through April.  We’re really looking forward to the rest of the year and hope you are too.

Allotment blog up and running again

Apologies folks but we had a small problem with this website.  All fixed now but not much went up for a while, including the Allotment Blog.

It’s back now and to be found by clicking the banner above.

All relevant comments and opinions are more than welcome.

On 24th March 2019, Sustainable Skerries held the first Skerries Repair Café.

 

Background

Repair Cafés have sprung up all over the world, and are operating in communities from Denmark to Australia. They were founded in response to the fact that too many items of daily life are not repaired anymore and have become disposable, often after short usage. The skills to fix things are in danger of being lost in the face of our convenience, built in obsolescence culture. We throw away too much, we should re-learn how to fix things. Repairing extends the life span of our possessions, reduces waste and saves money.

Repair Cafés endeavour to facilitate a transfer of skills. Members of the repair community are teaching others how to fix things. The emphasis is on the skills transfer, not on the repair only.

The first Skerries Repair Café

We decided to concentrate on clothes, as our obsession with fast fashion means that about 225,000 tones of textile waste are disposed of each year in Ireland alone.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, ten workstations were set up in the Bus Bar, each volunteer laying out their materials and tools. Tea, coffee and homemade cakes were ready. Already, a lot of information exchange and lively chat was taking place. Come 3pm, a steady stream of people dropped in to get advice and/or see what was going on. The volunteers were kept busy showing people how to hem school trousers, mend old pyjamas, fix teddy bears, embellish a pair of jeans or upcycle a second hand dress. Everybody enjoyed the experience and many participants were asking when the next event would take place.

Thanks

We would like to sincerely thank all our volunteers who made this event happen, the Bus Bar who provided the venue and Friends of Autism & ADHD who donated a bag of clothes for our use.

Future Plans

Sustainable Skerries are planning to regularly hold such events, each one concentrating on a different skill. Please contact us at sustskerries@yahoo.ie and let us know what repair skills you would like to learn and what skills you would be willing to share.

 

 

 

Look after them and they’ll look after us!

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Bees and plants poster

January is perhaps the month when growth is slowest in the allotment, and it may seem like there is nothing to be done.  This is not true: there is always something to get on with. Even now the buds on fruit trees and bushes are swelling in readiness for Spring and the wise gardener will be making his or her preparations also.

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to think about constructing compost bins.

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Homemade compost is both natural and free from contaminants (insofar as that is possible in this day and age) and I cannot recommend it highly enough.  One assumes that anyone who has taken an allotment has done so because they want natural healthy produce, and this is the way to go.  If on the other hand you are the sort who doesn’t mind spray and insecticide residues in their food you don’t have to bother with any of this, such produce is readily available in any supermarket for considerably less time and trouble.

Even farmyard manure can be problematical; herbicides and similar can pass straight through the animals in question and be imported into your patch.  One might assume that the quantities would be so small as to be not worth worrying about, as I always did, but last Spring we suffered a severe setback when we applied a batch of cow manure which killed almost everything it touched including potatoes, tomatoes, peas and beans.

We can’t prove it, I wish we’d sent a sample away at the time for analysis, but subsequent internet research showed that the symptoms were typical of  aminopyralid sprays, a widely used broadleaf herbicide used in agriculture.  Apparently it has been a recurring problem for allotment holders in the UK for the past decade or so.

This had never happened to us before and might never happen again, but we’re not prepared to take the chance.  From now on it’s homemade or nothing.

Gathering together enough materials can be a problem for many organic gardeners, but here in Skerries we are lucky.  For one thing the sea is only a few rooftops away and seaweed abounds, particularly after a gale of easterly wind.  And it’s free!

Seaweed is not a complete fertilizer in itself.  For reasons I don’t fully understand it is, apparently, low in both carbon and nitrogen.  But it is high in phosphorous and trace minerals and makes a fine tonic for the soil.  We don’t so much compost it as spread it as a mulch in the Autumn, this both feeds the soil for next Spring and suppresses the weeds.

A bed mulched with seaweed ready for spring.

We are also lucky because many of our neighbours don’t bother composting at all.  They are actively encouraged to throw their green waste into my bins rather than the heap in the carpark.  In this way we get more than enough for our needs; (perhaps I am shooting myself in the foot by writing this and encouraging them to use it themselves.

A compost bin does not need to be an elaborate affair; four pallets nailed together will do the trick, but if you have one you really need two.  This is because once the first is full you need a second to carry on filling while the first breaks down.  Small allotment?  No problem.  Smaller bins.

We have a fairly big allotment and we have three bins, and there is a gate on each.  This means I can get in, fork all the contents out, and then throw it all back in giving it a good mix in so doing.

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Compost will break down on its own eventually, but turning speeds the process considerably.  There are those who claim they can achieve a twelve week turnaround, fair play to them, six months does me.

So what goes in, and how?

In my case all green matter.  I don’t worry unduly about weed seeds or roots because the heating process kills both.  With the correct balance of materials and an occasional turning (maybe once a month) the bacteria can heat the pile to 60 degrees C, more than enough to do so.

It’s a very good idea to smash, chop or otherwise break up large woody lumps like cabbage stalks.  They are incredibly tough and slow to break down left to their own accord.  In fact if you don’t administer justice at this stage they’ll still be there, pretty much intact, when the compost is ready; in which case throw them back into the next batch that you have coming along.

Brown material is also needed. ‘Brown’ means stuff like woody stalks, shredded cardboard or, in my case, woodchip (as conveniently delivered to the allotments by various tree surgeon type companies).  Green material is high in nitrogen; brown in carbon.  The bacteria need both in order to thrive and do the job.  Get the balance right, mix well, and you’re off to a flying start.

Two more things are needed: oxygen and water.

It’s impossible to have too much oxygen, my bins have slatted sides to facilitate aeration and regular turning does the rest.  Water is slightly different; in this case you can have too much of a good thing, and if the pile is wet you’ll end up with a soggy, stinky mess.  A good guide is to take a handful and squeeze as hard as you can, if you manage to squeeze out one or two drops you’re good.  Even if you can’t, but feel you nearly managed it, you’re still good.

Moist is the thing to aim for.  Bins should be covered to prevent them drying out in summer or getting waterlogged in winter.  If the pile seems a little dry when you’re turning it, get the watering can out.

You now have a pile full of worms, woodlice, fungi and creepy crawlies all munching away and turning your garden waste into the best possible fertilizer for your fruit and veg.  While I have absolutely nothing against companies such as Enrich who supply tonne bags, you have also done your bit by cutting down on plastic use (the bags) and polluting road transport.

One last thing: proprietary compost accelerators.  Don’t bother.

If you have money in your pocket that you don’t want by all means spend it, but it’s not necessary.  There are plenty enough bacteria occurring naturally to get things going, and if you really want to be sure, throw in some seaweed.

Happy growing!

This is a very thought provoking Opinion piece from Sadhbh O’ Neill published in The Journal.ie

Sadhbh O Neill is a spokesperson for Climate Case Ireland. She is a PhD candidate and part-time lecturer at the School of Politics and International Relations at UCD.

Climate change is dangerous and poses a threat to us all, so we are taking a High Court case this January on behalf of all Irish citizens, writes Sadhbh O Neill.

2019 WILL SURELY be the year of climate action.

Recent scientific reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gave us just 12 years to make drastic cuts to the greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for climate change if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Human activities have altered the Earth’s living systems beyond recognition. We have left our mark on Planet Earth in seriously negative ways and climate change is the most visible and urgent threat that we humans have inflicted on the planet.

Ireland is among the poorest performers in Europe for tackling climate change. We cannot continue to hide behind the emissions of other countries and claim we have no duty to act. Individual action, no matter how well-intentioned, will have almost no effect without strong state leadership and multilateral cooperation.

That is why we must challenge our government in a historic high court case starting 22 January.

Human Activity

Once an insignificant speck, humans are now in a sense responsible for the whole planet’s future.

Of course, ‘humans’ are not a homogeneous group. There are huge inequalities and injustices behind the climate story. Colonialism, greed and ideology have all played a role in driving up both emissions and exploitation all over the world and throughout human history.

Yet most inconveniently, climate change presents itself as the challenge we all face together now, and on behalf of future generations, regardless of our degree of responsibility.

Governments are supposed to plan for the long-term, and in the common interest. But as the Swedish 15-year old activist Greta Thunberg reminded UN negotiators, all of the burden, including that of telling the truth about the real and systemic crises that face us, is being left to our children.

While the international climate negotiations have indeed been painfully slow, there is a growing body of scientific evidence and international law that should be guiding our response to climate change here in Ireland.

The Climate Case

Ireland’s performance on climate change so far has been very poor in comparison to the rest of the EU.  Our government’s ongoing failure to bend the emissions curve has been repeatedly raised at national and EU level by both independent and state authorities.

The analysis produced by Climate Action Network Europe in June this year placed Ireland in second last in the EU for action and ambition on climate change. Just last month, the Climate Change Performance Index highlighted Ireland as being the worst performing country in Europe for action on climate change.

Citizens are no longer prepared to wait until the government wakes up to the challenge.

Friends of the Irish Environment under the banner ‘Climate Case Ireland’ is taking legal action against the Irish Government’s failure to take the required action to avert dangerous climate change.

Our case is inspired by global climate change litigation, including the 900 Dutch citizens of Urgenda who won their case against the Dutch Government in 2015. The District Court in The Hague ruled that the Dutch government must cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by the end of 2020 (compared to 1990 levels).

That ruling required the government to immediately take more effective action on climate change.

We have asked the court to quash the existing climate plan and to require the government to produce an ambitious emissions reduction plan which helps to avert dangerous climate change.

While our case does not specify the means by which targets should be met, there is plenty of research showing that we will all benefit from the energy transition. Climate action demands a mobilisation of both citizens and government actions alike if we are to avert disaster.

Instead, in Ireland, we will face fines for not meeting EU targets – the Institute of International and European Affairs have estimated that Ireland could face fines between €3-6bn by 2030.

Why Ireland?

You might ask – but why Ireland? We are a tiny country, why should our emissions matter?

While China, the US and India are currently the world’s top emitters, the EU has contributed a much higher percentage of the total emissions released into the atmosphere.

And while US leadership would indeed make a big difference it should be noted that many US states are already taking decisive action to reduce emissions in spite of the federal government’s position.

Ireland’s emissions per capita are the third highest in the EU at 13.2 tCO2e per person.

Our energy, heating and transport systems, in particular, are highly dependent on polluting fossil fuels but government plans are not properly assessed for their climate and environmental impacts.

As the 64th largest emitter of emissions in the world, we can hardly expect the 130 countries that emit less than Ireland, to reduce their emissions if we don’t do likewise.

We are among the wealthiest countries in the world with high rates of economic growth and employment. It is vital that we contribute our fair share of the global effort in solidarity with developing countries who will bear the brunt of climate damage.

We cannot afford to wait until there is political consensus for strong policy measures.

The courts have a special role in ensuring that government decisions are compliant with national, EU and international law and in ensuring that human rights are protected. The Dutch case showed that citizens can access the courts to effect a change of direction.

Our case will be heard in the High Court from the 22nd of January and we are taking it on behalf of everyone in Ireland, young and old. We hope that it will inspire the public into supporting our call for greater climate ambition.