Children ask for climate action...Will we deliver?
As part of the 1916 Centenary celebration, primary and post-primary schools were invited to write a Proclamation for a New Generation. 970 schools uploaded their reinvention of the emerging state’s blueprint to scoil.ie, providing us with an extraordinary insight into the values, ideals and hopes of the children of 2016. An Taisce's Climate Change Office analysed these.
Equality, Environment & Climate Change, Education, Health and Homelessness are by far the most pronounced, recurring themes. The subject of environment and climate change is exemplary in showing the disparity between the attitudes of children and the actions of Ireland.
Our government’s so-far pathetic attempt to mitigate climate change and real attempt to water down commitment in the EU, is indicative of the average adult’s attitude on this subject, so we have a lot to learn from our children. Young people are perhaps less corrupted by the idea of short-term economic gain over health, happiness and fairness but will suffer most for the inaction of ‘the responsible adults’.
Alannah Ní Cheallaigh - Mhuirí, of An Taisce's Climate Change Office stated "If we have any concern for the welfare and happiness of Ireland’s children, we would do well to listen, and learn from them."
She continued "To prove themselves worthy of the responsibility they have been entrusted with, it is necessary for the new government of Ireland to commit itself wholeheartedly to genuine mitigation of climate change and to establish this as central to every part of its programme for government. These children trust them to do so."
To deliver what really matters for Ireland’s children, every possible effort must be put into climate mitigation. This means overcoming the difficulties and cutting our carbon emissions by 6.5% every year starting now, to avoid 1.5°C of climate change as agreed in Paris. Opting out at the sight of those difficulties is not acceptable – there is no opt-out of climate change for anyone, not even those who took no part in causing it. To feign concern (or action) on this issue or prioritise short-term monetary gains for the few over the welfare and happiness of the nation, and other nations of the world, is a monumental betrayal of these children.
The childrens' values, ideas and hopes:
“..As a nation we look forward to playing our part in the protection of our planet. The people of Ireland will help to stop Global Warming in all ways possible. With trust in ourselves and our government and we look forward to the future of our country.” Aoibhe Redmond, Sixth Class. Scoil Náisiúnta Bhantiarna Lourdes, Bunclody, Co. Wexford
“We call on the people of Ireland to respect the Earth on which we live. We must protect our resources and reduce our waste. We should not destroy nature, all animals have a purpose. All animals have a natural habitat and if we don’t stop cutting down trees and hedges, they will lose their homes.” Coolderry, N.S., Birr, Co. Offaly
“We believe that Ireland must become a country that doesn’t depend on non-renewable sources of energy that are leading to global warming. As an island nation, we should be using wind and tidal energy to power our country.” St Senan’s N.S., Foynes, Co. Limerick.
"We are aware that children and people in other countries are not as fortunate as we are. The affects of climate change hits poorer countries hardest. We promise to care for our environment, to try to use less fossil fuels, lower Ireland’s emissions and to stop pollution of any kind. We promise to take care of our raw materials and resources and especially our animals." Lettergesh N.S., Renvyle, Co. Galway
“The visionaries of 1916 won for us an education system that helps the Irish people take an active role in world affairs, inspiring Irish people throughout the world to be proud of their roots and helping make the world a better place... We hope that Ireland will play an active role in the problems facing planet Earth, helping to solve environmental problems like global warming and climate change and helping preserve the world for future generations.” The Children of Gusserane N.S., Wexford.
“A hundred years ago there was no issue regarding climate change or global warming. However, technology over the past 100 years has increased the speed of global warming which is having a negative impact on our country’s climate and weather. We, the Irish people, need to commit to reducing our use of fossil fuels and tackle the problem of climate change, which is having an effect in our country, most recently, through flooding.” 3rd-6th Class, Rahara National School, Co. Roscommon.
“A Chairde Gaeil, tá seod ar leith anseo againn sa cheantar álainn speisialta seo. Tá draíocht faoi leith ag baint leis an timpeallacht agus an nádúr thart orainn. Déanfaimid cinnte de go dtabharfaimid aire mhaith don seod sin don chéad ghlún eile.” Bliain 3, Coláiste Naomh Feichín, Corr na Móna, Co. na Gaillimhe
“Ireland is famous for its green fields. But the weather is changing. And we are causing it. Every citizen has the responsibility of cutting down our carbon emissions. We can stop climate change by recycling and by not using fossil fuels. If we do this, we can save the world for us and all the generations after us.” 5th and 6th Class, Scoil Náisiúnta Bearna Na H-Aille, Oylegate, Co. Wexford
“We believe that Ireland should cherish its environment by burning less fossil fuel and realise that the extreme weather conditions across the globe are being caused by us. We need to educate people about Climate Change and spread the words of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We would like to move our country from an orange status to a yellow status on the worldwide climate change scales. Let’s work together to reduce our carbon footprint.” Carrakennedy N.S., Westport, Co. Mayo
“We believe that Ireland should be at the forefront in tackling the effects of global warming and climate change.” Castledermot N.S., Co. Kildare.
“We want clean water and clean air for our country. We want less pollution and CO2 in the atmosphere. We want people to use environmentally friendly transport – bus, luas, train, car pool, bicycles and their feet. We should use more environmentally-friendly cars and run vehicles on organic fuel. We want to plant more trees so that we have more oxygen. We should waste less and recycle more. We should buy Fair Trade products to make sure everyone gets paid fairly. We should create new, climate-friendly ways to produce electricity. We should do all of these things to help reduce climate change.” Scoil Maelruain Junior, Old Bawn Tallaght, Dublin 24.
“We hope to reduce our carbon footprint and work towards a cleaner Ireland and overall to reduce the impact of global warming on the earth. Climate change is real and could affect any and every one of us. We strive to raise awareness and instil action to help halt global warming. Every one of us has a crucial role to play in preventing the imminent disaster that is global warming.“ Kill National School, Cootehill, Co. Cavan
“Human actions have caused the extinction of many species and seriously damaged our earth. It is essential to educate the nation about protecting our biodiversity, and using renewable sources of energy.” 3rd, 5th and 6th Class, S.N. Na Craobhaighe, Carrowmore-Lacken, Ballina, Co. Mayo
“After fighting for a free nation we are now guilty of destroying Ireland ourselves through our contribution to global warming. Our lovely green countryside will be destroyed if we do not act on this immediately. If you are travelling a short distance, we ask you not to take a car. Please reduce your carbon footprint, cut down on use of aerosols and become more aware of the importance of recycling.” St. Mary's N.S., Edgeworthstown, Co Longford
“We need to stop procrastinating. Global warming is a real issue and a threat to our beautiful country and all its citizens. We demand that laws are enforced to tackle this problem and that all communities take responsibility for being more environmentally friendly.” The pupils of 6th Class, Emo N.S., Portlaoise, Co. Laois
“Climate change is happening very quickly. Its effects are easily seen in Ireland. We’ve had about 7 storms in December 2015, and January 2016. There have been multiple floods in our recent past. We need to start making changes to how we treat this planet, and we need to start now. Every person has a part to play in this - no matter how small. We need to stop treating nature so badly, promote Biodiversity, and stop all the rubbish we are throwing in the sea and around the countryside.” S.N. Mhuire, Barntown, Co. Wexford
“Issues such as global warming and climate change must be tackled in a systematic way in order to bring about lasting and meaningful change. We as a nation must play our part, however small and commit to reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions from our shores. We must move towards more environmentally friendly means of energy production and away from the use of fossil fuels.” S.N. Naomh Thomais, Peterswell, Gaillimh