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Willow Woes

Why doing what you can is still important in the face of Government negligence!


What is the Willow Project?

The project is the largest, proposed oil project on U.S federal land. ConocoPhillips will drill within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. The company predicts producing up to 180,000 barrels of oil a day and will wreak havoc on the environment as a result, putting people, animals and ecosystems native to Alaska at risk and pushing further away from Net Zero targets.

The Project was recently approved by the Biden administration despite the President vowing that he was committed to Climate Change and fighting to save the planet. Here is a reminder of some of the commitments we have seen so far:


- Re-joining the Paris Agreement- signifying the unification of the US with other nations to mitigate Climate Change

- Emission reduction: 50% reduction below 2005 levels by 2030.

- Proposing a two trillion, investment plan focusing on clean energy production and coincidingly boosting the economy by creating millions of new job opportunities.

- Protecting natural resources: Commitments made to protecting forests, wetlands, ocean as well as restoration of ecosystems and addressing environmental justice, issues affecting marginalised communities.


Despite the Frustration that you feel with this approval, giving up is not the option. In face of negligence doing what you can is more important than ever.


Here’s Why?

Climate Change is a Global Issue that requires sustained and collective action, the smallest action or change in your life can make a difference. Here are some reasons you shouldn’t give up:


Urgency.

We’re running out of time. Climate Change is happening. We have seen an increase in unnatural disasters globally this year. The prevalence of these will only increase if we choose to do less and not act.


The increase in heat waves in Ireland may be enjoyable, short term but increased periods of dry heat led to crop failures and water shortage. This will only continue and at increased frequency, as temperatures rise.


Future Generations.

We are all citizens of the earth and what we do now will have huge implications for future generations. How we tackle Climate Change together will ensure our children, animals and ecosystems have a liveable planet.


Ecosystems.

You may have lost faith in humanity, understandably. However animals are being affected even more. Polar bears are losing access to ice, birds migration patterns are being affected resulting in unsuitable food supply, temperatures are too hot for Turtles eggs and their incubation is affected, none of this is a fault of the species.


The Artic Hare, found in Europe and the North Ireland has begun to struggle with snow coverage decreasing, increasing its vulnerability to predators as it’s camouflage is no longer effective.


Opportunity.

The opportunity for a more just and balanced world is presented to us through the challenge of Climate Change. The transition away from Oil and Gas and the focus on renewables will reduce waste and pollution. It also creates opportunities for jobs and industry, support for local business and oppressed or marginalised communities.


Indigenous Clean Energy is a great example of a business with a dual focus on sustainability and supporting local communities across Canada by creating economic opportunity. They work to promote community-led, clean energy projects and support the transition to a low carbon economy.


In Ireland, Food Cloud is a social enterprise that connects to businesses with surplus food to local charities and community groups. They reduce food waste and support vulnerable communities seamlessly.


Ok. I’m back in, what should I do?

Be mindful with your food. Consume meat responsibly, if at all. Beef has a high carbon footprint and is extremely intensive to produce when compared with other meat alternatives.


Limiting food waste is also huge and often overlooked. A simple shopping list and buying ingredients for specific meals instead of just bulk buying goes a long way for the environment and your wallet.


Locally sourced and seasonal food shopping can also benefit not only your health positively but can also contribute to local business growth in your community. Farmers Markets are also fun!


Chill on the new tech.

I too have an iPhone. It’s functional, has a good camera and an interface my brain recognises quickly. I will keep this version for as long as possible however.

Why?


Environmental impact.

The production and disposal of Electronic devices (E-waste) has a significant impact on the environment. The production process uses a lot of energy, water and resources, involving toxic chemical usage harmful to the environment and humans.


Disposing old devices is also a problem, leaving toxic chemicals in our environment that certainly don’t decompose the way an apple might.


Financial Burden.

Having a new phone has become a societal pressure, but extortionate prices are the norm and that money could have been used for savings, rent, or something more meaningful. If your phone still work’s, you’re good.


Planned Obsolescence.

Your phone mysteriously breaks down after a few years? We’ve all been there and it’s not cool. This is a huge problem with smart phones forcing the user to upgrade. If this is you look into getting a newer model second hand or maybe steer away from the big guys.


Social and Ethical issues.

The production of smartphones often involves labour practices that are exploitative or harmful to workers. This is often the case in countries where labour laws are weaker, which is where your phone is likely produced.


Support Local Communities/ businesses doing good things!

You only need to go as far as google to find plenty of sustainable businesses in your local town or city. Showing support can be done in many ways, whether that is by buying products, sharing online or just speaking positively and openly about the good things they are doing, we can all contribute to local businesses in some way.


Collectively the more we feed into Sustainable businesses, spread positive ideas and areas of our lives. Then, we have found ways to fight climate change the closer we get to a more sustainable and liveable world for the future. We can’t always rely on Government to choose the planet over profit but we can rely on ourselves as individuals, to make consistent small positive change.


Domhnall Hyland.

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