People all over Europe are becoming increasingly aware of and involved in environmental issues.
The recent European elections saw a surge in support for Green political parties. In Ireland, Eamon Ryan’s Green Party won 2 of the 11 Irish seats in the European Parliament. This is a great victory and a sign of the changing times, as it is the first time in 20 years that the party will be sending an MEP to Strasbourg.
So why the sudden surge in interest? As usual it is more than likely a culmination of multiple events. People are seeing the effects of climate change with their own eyes. Scorching heatwaves and record temperatures this summer are making it hard to deny the effects of climate change. Back in May, thousands of schoolchildren went on strike in Ireland protesting a lack of government action on climate change. Then there is 16 year old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg who’s emotional speech in the European Parliament, brought widespread awareness as she urged leaders to “forget Brexit and focus on climate change”.
The priorities of the people are clear. They want action on climate change. The Irish government is the second state, after Britain, to declare a climate emergency and have also established a Climate Action Committee.
Governments and corporations can have the biggest impact in reducing our footprint on a widespread and structural level. As such, voting for political parties with serious green manifestos is an effective way to join in the cause, supporting activists like Greta by sharing and spreading their message is another.
That said, reducing our individual footprint is important. One doesn’t have to be an activist in order to live a little greener. Being kinder to the environment and living in a more sustainable way can be easy and also good for your health ! Food production is responsible for about a quarter of our carbon footprint. Growing your own vegetables and buying from local producers means both better quality food for you and less resources being used from this planet we call home.
Check out this article in the Irish Examiner by Top Irish Gardener Peter Dowdall, where he talks about « What we can do everyday to improve the planet ».