Ian Lumley, Head of Advocacy at An Taisce, will present at the UNFCCC COP25 meeting in Madrid, as part of a side event on Climate Heritage: Mobilizing the culture and heritage (1). The event takes place today, 3 Dec 2019, in the EU Pavilion.

An Taisce along with other National Trust members of the 70 strong International National Trust Organization (INTO) has joined to the Climate Heritage Network (2).

The objective of this network is to mobilize action from the cultural heritage sector on the Climate Emergency where historic buildings and coastal sites across the world are under threat, including the main Irish cities which are all on tidal rivers.

The key message of the network is to advance the recognition that: “Cultural Heritage is a Climate Action Issue and Climate Action is a Cultural Heritage Issue”

In his presentation, Ian Lumley will illustrate how Irish global development, faith and environmental NGOs have formed an effective campaigning coalition through Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) (3). “Equally the arts heritage and cultures sectors everywhere should be at the forefront of advocacy action on the Climate Emergency” he states.

“Cultural inheritances across the world like beef and dairy production and peat extraction for energy in Ireland are in conflict with climate action. Ireland now has to abandon peat electric power generating plants built only in the early 21st Century. A Just Transition is needed now for the employment loss which in similar in impact on the region affected to coal mine closures in other parts of Europe.”

Ireland set an exemplary initiative in convening a Citizens Assembly on Climate (4) which made recommendations including carbon pricing for beef and switching of mobility investment to public transport. These actions were then considered by an all party Parliament Committee on Climate Action which has, inter alia, endorsed diversification of food production (5).

The Irish Government promotion of increased beef, dairy and infant formula production and exports across the world, and funding of new motorways and dual carriageways across the country worsening car dependence, is entirely contrary to effective Climate Action and advancing of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This needs to change.

While it would be wrong to simply romanticize the past, cultural heritage presents legacies and lessons that can inform the rapid response new needed to the climate emergency"

The An Taisce presentation will illustrate examples from Ireland's cultural legacy in inspiring response and resilience, showing:

  • How the historic legacy of cities towns over 1000 years old and network of rural villages can become markets for more localized food distribution which was the origin of their development.

  • How the ruins of roofless 200 year old grain mills across the country reveal a forgotten legacy of plant based food production when Ireland was an international exporter.

  • How 300 year old earth-constructed houses can provide an example in low carbon building construction and energy efficiency.

  • How the work of organizations like the Irish Seed Savers Association (6) can revive a more diversified range of food crops with better resilience to climate impact and disease risk.

  • How ancient pathways can be revived as walking and cycling routes to meet the difficult challenge of reducing car dependence in rural areas.

He will conclude in stating that “The network of National Trusts across the world which includes An Taisce has enormous potential in advance the partnerships and solutions we needs for the future of what Pope Francis calls Our Common Home”.


Ian Lumley, An Taisce Advocacy Officer

Phone (mobile): +353-83-153-2384

Phoebe Duvall, Planning and Environmental Policy Officer

Phone: +353-1-454-1786

email: [email protected]


1: https://www.antaisce.org/COP25-ClimateHeritage-Flier

2: http://www.climateheritage.org

3: https://www.stopclimatechaos.ie/

4: https://www.citizensassembly.ie/en/How-the-State-can-make-Ireland-a-leader-in-tackling-climate-change/

5: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/committees/32/climate-action/

6: http://www.irishseedsavers.ie/