The Minister outlined in her foreword that:

‘It is of the future in that the decisions we make today will shape and influence the heritage of our children and the generations to come’

Heritage cannot be compartmentalised. No individual category, whether natural or cultural legacy, can be treated as an isolated unit. The continuation of human society requires a change as profound as any in human history in reforming our relationship to the natural world, and the maintenance of a stable climate, if our collective cultural heritage is to be maintained.

This consultation on Heritage Ireland 2030 provides the welcome opportunity to advance the protection of our land and marine biodiversity, and landscape and cultural heritage to the most exemplary international standard for the decade ahead. At the national Biodiversity Conference in February 2019 President Michael D. Higgins addressed the mounting global biodiversity collapse:

“If we were coal miners, we would be up to our knees in dead canaries”

Ireland needs to establish a new relationship with nature as we face the sixth, and for the first time human-caused, great extinction in global species.

There is an imperative for developed countries to take leadership in protecting the natural world both at national level, and in international action. Parallel to this are the measures needed to meet the Paris Agreement Targets to mitigate global warming, as well as the impact of ocean acidification.

The moral imperative of caring for “our common home” has been communicated by Pope Francis in his 2015 Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si”. The encyclical follows the message of Pope Paul VI: “Due to an ill-considered exploitation of nature, humanity runs the risk of destroying it and becoming in turn a victim of this degradation”. He also spoke in similar terms to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1970 about the potential for an “ecological catastrophe under the effective explosion of industrial civilization”, and stressed “the urgent need for a radical change in the conduct of humanity”, inasmuch as “the most extraordinary scientific advances, the most amazing technical abilities, the most astonishing economic growth, unless they are accompanied by authentic social and moral progress, will definitely turn against man”.

Download the submission here.