All Posts by Padraic Fogarty

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Jan 28

What next for Forestry?

What next for Forestry? January 28th 2023 It has been a dramatic week in the history of our long and tortured relationship with trees in Ireland. The protests, the outrage among opposition politicians, the people sending emails to their TDs, even the government ministers admitting things need to change, including the State buying land for […]

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Jan 14

Time to remove the deer from the Park

Time to remove the deer from the Park January 14th 2023 I have written before about the need for rewilding the Phoenix Park, Dublin’s largest urban green space. I bemoan the intensive level of management by the Office of Public Works which minimises it’s biodiversity value: dead or fallen trees cleared away, poor management of […]

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Dec 30

Looking back on 2022

Looking back on 2022 December 30th 2022 Are we turning a corner? Or are we stuck in a dead end? Here’s a round up of what happened, and what didn’t, in 2022. February saw the launch of ‘Fair Seas’, a coalition of groups, including the Irish Wildlife Trust, dedicated to the protection of 30% of […]

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Dec 10

The Government at COP15

The Government at COP15 December 11th 2022 COP15, being held in Montreal, Canada, is the biggest, most important event for biodiversity in over a decade. The previous one of this magnitude, held in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, was the last to produce an overarching agreement among the world’s countries to stop the loss of species and […]

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Nov 27

Nature Restoration Law

Nature Restoration Law 27th November 2022 Democracy requires a lot of talking. Too much talking many might say, and certainly when it comes to the biodiversity and climate emergency we have heard far too much talk accompanied by precious little action. As I write, the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss has just voted to pass […]

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Nov 13

Crisis of Consultations

Crisis of Consultations November 13th 2022 “We want to hear your views”: six words that make hardened environmental activists want to take up smoking. Much time is devoted by NGOs and local community groups to making submissions to ‘public consultations’. This is where the government or one of its agencies asks ‘the public’ for its […]

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Oct 29

A revolution is underway

A revolution is underway October 29th 2022 Loss of biodiversity is a sad feature of humanity since our earliest ancestors first left the plains of Africa, but it was the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492 that unleashed an assault on the natural world unlike anything seen in human history. The spread […]

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Oct 15

Toxic denial

Toxic denial October 16th 2022 Denial remains a prevailing feature of the faltering approach to our collapsing biosphere. Outright climate denial has ceased to be a standard feature of debates even if it hasn’t completely disappeared. Extinction denial hasn’t been so noticeable but that is likely due to the fact that biodiversity loss has not […]

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Oct 01

Brazil’s national election and the fate of the Amazon

Brazil’s national election and the fate of the Amazon Fabiola Gomes Vieira October 1st 2022 Once again Brazil is preparing for a presidential election, only this time the date is surrounded by even more attention and tension than normal. After four years of the government of Jair Bolsonaro, champion of the loosening of environmental protection […]

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Sep 17

No more industrial tree farms

No more industrial tree farms 17th of September 2022 Will Ireland’s new Forest Strategy prove to be the acorn that went on to be a mighty oak? Or will it be a seed in the wind, destined to land on stony ground? It’s hard to get excited about new strategies, given our long history of […]

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Jul 29

Emissions reductions deal a dreadful failure of leadership

Emissions reductions deal a dreadful failure of leadership The deal reached by the government, which fails to meet even the minimum legal requirement of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030, has demonstrated a dreadful lack of leadership. The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) is particularly disappointed that more was not done to reach the […]

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Jul 23

Dodgy Dealings Under the Sea

Dodgy Dealings Under the Sea Hundreds of records released to Coastal Concern Alliance, a citizens’ group, under Freedom of Information and Access to Information on the Environment rules raise serious questions for habitat protection and wind farm development in the Irish Sea Was there political interference in designating sites for nature conservation in 2012 when […]

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Jun 11

Sinn Féin and biodiversity

Sinn Féin and biodiversity June 11th 2022 The government is nearing its second birthday. At the end of this year, at the halfway point if the government goes to full term, Micheál Martin will be replaced as Taoiseach by Leo Varadkar. While Martin has backed a response to the biodiversity emergency, even addressing the National […]

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May 28

30 years of plans… and counting

30 years of plans… and counting May 28th 2022 Next month (June) will mark the 30th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit. That’s right, 30 years. In 1992, when I was just finished my first year in college and heading off for a summer of fun in Munich, thousands of delegates from across the globe […]

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May 15

Could this be a super year?

Could this be a super year? Yesterday (May 14th) marked the first full day of the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss, nearly three years since the idea was first mooted on the very same day the Dáil declared a climate and biodiversity emergency. Hardly an emergency response but a welcome development all the same. 100 […]

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Apr 30

Is this progress?

Is this progress? I had a dream that I was listing to Claire Byrne’s RTÉ radio show every day this week where she interviewed politicians from across the spectrum on the imminent extinction of curlews in Ireland. I imagined I heard Fine Gael’s Patrick O’Donovan list all the townlands in his constituency where curlews could […]

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Apr 16

Doing Nothing on the Bogs

Doing Nothing on the Bogs It’s nearly a decade since I travelled to Glenveagh in Donegal to look at what I had been told was widespread illegality and habitat destruction inside the eponymous National Park. I found the accusations hard to believe at the time, given the high profile of the Park but there it […]

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Apr 03

Rewilding: winning hearts and minds

Rewilding: winning hearts and minds I’ve never particularly liked the term ‘wilderness’. Although it is instantly evocative it carries so much colonialist baggage that I think it best avoided, regardless of whether you think it even exists or not (for background on this I can recommend this important essay by William Cronon). These days many […]

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Mar 19

Water… what’s it to you?

Water – what’s it to you? Where is your nearest water course? Mine is the River Tolka, a fairly short river that rises in farmland in Co. Meath only about 20km from where I live in Dublin. It is perhaps best known as the river that flows past the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin while […]

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Mar 06

The Trouble with Turbines

The Trouble with Turbines Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has placed a spotlight on Europe’s fossil fuel dependence. The war has come on top of already rising fuel prices that, as I write, are seeing petrol prices near €2 a litre. Coincidentally, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this week published its sixth […]

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Feb 20

The failure of fisheries science

The failure of fisheries science In 2013, as part of an overhaul of the Common Fisheries Policy, the European Union committed to ending overfishing by 2015 ‘where possible’ and by 2020 ‘at the latest’. Needless to say, this deadline came and went but a successful legal challenge by Friends of the Irish Environment in the […]

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Feb 06

Speed and Conviction

Speed and Conviction Later this year, June to be precise, will mark the 30th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit. It was a landmark event in the history of the environmental movement which resulted in the international treaties to end biodiversity loss and limit greenhouse gas emissions that remain the centrepieces of the global response […]

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Jan 22

Lessons from Costa Rica

Lessons from Costa Rica Forestry continues to be a vexed issue in Ireland. While the forest owners, nurseries, sawmill owners and timber suppliers are mostly focussed on the immediate issues of getting licences for planting and felling, the bigger, and more important issue is the lack of new forest establishment. In fact, due to planned […]

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Nov 28

On hen harriers and water quality

On hen harriers and water quality Two programmes underway to address environmental issues show how change can be achieved, but also the challenge that lies ahead.   Are we addressing the biodiversity emergency? Well, yes and no. There’s no question but that a slew of programmes and measures have been developed in the past five […]

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Nov 10

Nature for Sale?

Nature for sale? The COP is entering into its final days. Despite being labelled as a ‘now or never’ moment, the task of meaningfully addressing the climate and biodiversity emergency will remain with us after the delegates head home. No matter what the outcome it is important that momentum is maintained in the days and […]

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Nov 04

Last chance? Or no chance?

Last chance? Or no chance? The Irish Wildlife Trust is attending the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. As a first-timer I have been overwhelmed by the enormity of the event. There’s the excitement at witnessing something of such global significance but a disorientation that is only lifting on day 4. World leaders and famous faces […]

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Oct 25

Decolonising conservation

Decolonising conservation The Burren winterage festival just finished up with its annual cattle drive. Now in its 20th year it is a reminder of an ancient tradition of transhumance – the movement of cattle from the lowlands to upland winter grazing pastures. It is this practice that lies at the heart of the ecological diversity […]

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Oct 09

COPs – what are they good for?

COPs – what are they good for? It’s nearly 30 years since world leaders met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Earth Summit. I recently bought a copy of TIME on eBay which anticipated the event with the cover headline ‘Coming Together to Save the Earth’. “What kind of planet will our children inherit? […]

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Sep 26

Rewilding Ireland – where will be first?

Rewilding Ireland – Where Will be First? Rewilding got a little closer to home this week with the announcement that the Affric Highlands in Scotland are to be added to the Rewilding Europe network. It becomes one of only nine landscape-scale projects (the organisation has many more smaller initiatives which include the Dunsany Estate in […]

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Sep 10

IUCN Congress

IUCN World Congress The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a global organisation that has worked for the protection of biodiversity since its founding in 1948. It is probably best known for producing ‘red lists’ of species which are endangered with extinction. Its latest assessment, published last week to coincide with its […]

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