Category Archives for "Pádraic Blog’s"

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 by Pádraic Fogarty, January 22nd 2022 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 […]

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Dec 14

WWF and ‘Origin Green

WWF and ‘Origin Green’ ‘Origin Green’, the Bord Bia (and so publicly) funded food marketing programme, started life in 2012. In that time annual greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (which had been on a downward trajectory) have risen by over 11%, from 19,284 to 21,432 kt CO₂ equivalent. According to the EPA, between their 2012-2014 […]

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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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Aug 29

New forests please

New forests please Hardly a week goes by without articles appearing in the farming press about the dire state of the forestry industry in Ireland. These articles are repetitive (typically reprints of industry press releases) and bemoan the difficultly in getting licences for routine operations. These rarely, if ever, mention that forestry has been a […]

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Aug 15

Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood Last week I spent some time walking in Norway. Outdoor activity in the country is a national obsession and starts at an early age with their utebarnehage (outdoor kindergardens). Here, children spend much of their week in the forest regardless of the weather. Babies in cots are brought inside for their naps only […]

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Aug 01

Taking the train

Taking the train I first left the country in 1986, at the age of 12. It was a much-anticipated family sun holiday to Mallorca. Until then every holiday had been to the caravan in Wexford. This was perfectly normal at the time, leaving the country was expensive. But my generation was quick to catch up. […]

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Jul 18

Look to the sea

Look to the sea The sea has given us everything. The earliest people lived by, and off, the sea, as have generations that followed. The sea brought us our history, from the Viking and Norman invasions to the Martello towers that were built as look-outs for a Napoleonic invasion. The sea took our hopeful and […]

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Jul 03

A year in government

A year in government by Pádraic Fogarty July 3rd 2021 The government recently celebrated a year in office. The IWT supported the Programme for Government (PfG) on the basis that – if implemented – it would set us on a course to addressing the biodiversity emergency. Green Party leader and minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, […]

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Jun 19

Expect more Extinction Denial

Expect more Extinction Denial Science denial has a long and inglorious history. In 1615 Galileo Galilei was condemned to house arrest for defending Copernicus’ theory that the earth travelled around the sun and not vice versa. In the 1960s, Rachel Carson, an aquatic biologist working for the US Bureau of Fisheries, came under ferocious attack […]

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Jun 05

The Urgency of Rewilding

The Urgency of Rewilding This week saw two important publications that bring the urgent need for rewilding closer to being accepted at a policy level. While rewilding has gained widespread popular support, policy-makers and even many ecologists have remained sceptical. Part of this has been the lack of a widely accepted definition, accompanied by its […]

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May 22

Climate resilient dairy – an alternative for Irish farmers

While dairy is the most profitable sector in farming in Ireland, it increasingly faces environmental questions. What are the options?  by Oliver Moore There has been strong growth in the dairy sector in Ireland because it is, by a distance, the most profitable sector in Irish farming. Even when overall farm incomes are stable or […]

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May 08

No budging the agri-debate

No budging the agri-debate It is rather depressing to see just how little the debate on agriculture and eco-action has progressed in recent years. The voices of the farming community, typically the leaders of farming organisations, the farming media and a cohort of rural politicians are sticking with their arguments on carbon leakage (if we […]

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Apr 24

Ireland’s Agri-Food Strategy 2030

Ireland’s Agri-Food Strategy 2030 In 2015 Ireland published its last agri-food strategy. ‘FoodWise 2025: A vision for growth’ was unabashed in its ambition. “It represents the shared voice of an industry striving to create a business and regulatory environment in which the extensive growth opportunities of the next 10 years can be fully capitalised on.” […]

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Apr 10

Marine Protected Areas… but where?

Marine Protected Areas, but where? It’s all happening at sea. This week the ESB announced that the coal-fired power plant at Moneypoint, on the west coast of Co. Clare, would be repurposed as a renewables hub to service floating off-shore wind turbines and the production of hydrogen fuel. In an interview in the Irish Times […]

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Mar 27

Seaspiracy and saying no to seafood

Seaspiracy and saying no to seafood I remember, over a decade ago, kick starting the Irish Wildlife Trust campaign to end overfishing which was, in turn, part of a wider campaign called OCEAN2012. This was in advance of the reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and I was trying to get my head […]

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Mar 13

The senseless logic of burning land

The senseless logic of burning land Pádraic Fogarty March 13th 2021 Let’s say for a moment that I’m a farmer in the uplands and I want to clear land for my grazing animals. I’ve been told by all the farmer organisations that fire is a perfectly acceptable tool for the task and I may even […]

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Feb 28

Our tortured relationship with trees

Our tortured relationship with trees If there’s one thing that unites nearly everyone in Ireland it’s that we’re all in agreement that the current attitude to trees is pitiful. Whether you’re an urbanite watching your street trees being torn down or a worker in a sawmill watching your supplies of timber dry up there is […]

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Feb 14

What Value Nature?

What value Nature? It has long been argued that one of the reasons for our biodiversity crisis is the failure of economics to account for environmental harm. The effects of habitat destruction or pollution from industrial effluent has been dismissed as an ‘externality’ as though the air we breath and the water we drink is […]

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Jan 30

The War on Rivers

The War on Rivers “In recent years land drainage policy has received attention on two counts: the adequacy of the financial returns to investment of public funds in drainage has been questioned, and it has been alleged that adverse impacts on the environment also result therefrom”. It might have been written yesterday but these lines […]

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Jan 02

What to expect for 2021

What to expect for 2021 2020 had been billed as a ‘super year’ for climate and biodiversity issues and, in a way, it was, but not like anyone could have imagined. Major conferences on climate, oceans and a ‘new deal for nature’ were all postponed due to Covid-19. A major, but under-reported, report from July […]

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