Dear Pat, (Wednesday 21 January, 2009)
Strange times indeed!
Yesterday Martin Luther King’s dream was realised with Barack Obama becoming the first black president of the united States. Today sees Ireland celebrating, after much movement building based on Hope and Bold-ness of vision, the 90th anniversary since the first meeting of Dail Éireann.
But strangest of all is that we are living in times of such climate catastrophe, which threatens our collective existence regardless of nation and race, and in Ireland this fact is neither sufficiently recognised, nor is sufficient assistance given to those with visions for sustainable change.
Since time immemorial, the Chinese symbol for “crisis” has been expressed by the combination of the two words “danger” and “opportunity.” There-in lies not only a sentiment for Ireland’s present woes, but also a notion that these days could lead to something truly positive: an opportunity for our “Green Isle” to become a model sustainable community for both Europe, and indeed the world…
We must re-evaluate our understanding and use of the words Progress and Health. We must move from the idea of GDP (gross domestic product) to EPI (environmental performance index). That being, moving from how much stuff we move around the planet and at what cost, to what is the environmental impact of these actions and how they can be improved upon. In short, we need to stop burning tonnes of oil to import tonnes of New Zealand apples to Ireland, and seek ways to develop local food production zones and markets, like Seedsavers or Dolphins Barn community garden, which re-establish community and tradition, while not costing the earth.
What we are calling a “global financial crisis” is the first inevitable problem arising from a faulty economic system, built on the absurd idea that infinite economic growth is possible, fuelled by the endless supply of cheap oil. Apart from the disastrous CO2 emissions of this approach, a direct cause of Irelands recent summers rains?, scientists have made it clear; World Oil demand has peaked, we are running out of it and need to quickly build alternatives to survive. Thankfully some exist:
The Cradle to Cradle approach, which is based on the observation that in nature “Waste equals food” uses smart eco design powered by the sun, and is developing and building clean eco processes and buildings. The Netherlands is firmly embracing the concept and US architect, Bill Mc Donagh, has been asked to design 12 new eco cities in China. Can we imagine what a Cradle to Cradle island of Ireland might look like?
The Transition Town movement, originally developed out of ideas from Kinsale permaculture college, has expanded rapidly in only 2 years and sees communities coming together to imagine how they will exist with less oil dependence. Recently Sommerset county council in the UK embraced this practical philosophy.
I am an architect and eco-urbanist who left Ireland 2 years ago and now live, work and learn in the Catalan city of Barcelona. Prior to that I was involved with a group seeking to make the Botanic Spine, that being an 18km eco corridor, bikeway and linked route of food gardens joining Dublin’s 2 canals, the Phoenix park and the derelict train line that splits Cabra in two. With a bit of vision and support from the government, this ring could be a major catalyst for change that might help Ireland realise her opportunity, and take another BOLD and Visionary step, in these troubled times: to attempt to become Europe’s “Green Isle”.
Duncan O`Cruadhlaoich, architect, EIG (eco intelligent growth), Barcelona
The above letter was sent to Pat Kenny, after a request on his show last Monday for people to send in ideas for a “Brainstorming session to try to get us (Ireland) out of this (economic) mess”, in light of the current economic crisis that has gripped the country, for Fridays show which will be a 2 hour discussion resulting from such inputs. Email Pat if you want to add your views.
Today With Pat Kenny –
Email Pat Kenny at email@example.com
(This post was first published on Indymedia Ireland)
Martin Luther King + Barack Obama
90th anniversary since the first meeting of Dail Éireann.
Chinese symbol for “crisis”
Progress and Health.
GDP (gross domestic product)
EPI (environmental performance index).
New Zealand apples to Ireland
local food production zones and markets
Dolphins Barn community garden
“global financial crisis”
Irelands recent summers rains?
Scientists have made it clear; World Oil demand has peaked,
Cradle to Cradle
“Waste equals food”
watch film in English: http://www.vpro.nl/programma/tegenlicht/afleveringen/36…1824/
The Netherlands is firmly embracing the concept
The Transition Town movement,
Kinsale permaculture college,
Sommerset county council in the UK embraced this practical philosophy.
architect eco-urbanist Barcelona
Online thesis: http://www.wiserearth.org/file/view/ee418f0d85252453f94…42161