Edgeworthstown Tidy Towns initiating a number of community projects to tackle climate change

John Cahill

Reporter:

John Cahill

Email:

edgeworthstowntidytowns@gmail.com

Edgeworthstown Tidy Towns initiating a number of community projects to tackle climate change

Edgeworthstown Tidy Towns initiating a number of community projects to tackle climate change

Edgeworthstown Tidy Towns has vowed that it will work with the local community, business owners, Longford County Council Environment and Heritage Departments and roads engineers and public representatives to identify how and where we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and promote energy efficient practices both at home and in our businesses.

Climate Change, Communities and Individuals

Warming of the climate is happening and it is extremely likely that man has been the main cause of global warming since the mid-20th century.

According to an ongoing temperature analysis conducted by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8° Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade.

The atmosphere and oceans are warming and sea levels are rising while the amount of snow and ice is falling. The impacts can be seen on all continents.

Sure what can we do as individuals or as small communities? Isn't it up to governments to pass legislation to control emissions and provide incentives for us to retrofit our homes with better insulation and more energy efficient heating boilers and controls?

Ah yes, that is certainly part of the answer but we need to start thinking about all of our activities and think and act quickly about our energy usage - doing more with less - as individuals and as a community.

Avoiding single-use plastics like coffee cups and disposable water bottles is just part of it.  How about making your own cleaning products (who knew a one-part water, one-part vinegar solution could clean virtually everything?!).

Here in Edgeworthstown our parish community and Tidy Towns group have looked at some aspects of personal and community life and are working on the following projects:-

Our use of the Internet and Mobile Phones:

Sending one less email a day could help reduce the carbon footprint of your inbox.
If everyone in the UK sent one less email each day it would save 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year according to energy supplier, OVO.

"Whilst the carbon footprint of an email isn't huge," said Mike Berners-Lee, author of The Carbon Footprint of Everything, greenhouse gas researcher and writer, "it's a great illustration of the broader principle that cutting out the waste in our lives is good for our wellbeing and good for the environment."

As for smartphone usage, if each of us did without our phone one day each month and texted less each day - how much CO2 emissions would that save?

And Christmas wrappings and packaging and excess food? Surely each one of us could resolve to reduce the sheer amount of material involved (we might even save ourselves some money as well!)?

The internet – including data centres, telecoms networks and end user devices like phones and laptops – uses a lot of electricity. In fact, if you add it all together, the internet uses roughly the same amount of electricity as the UK, one of the world’s largest economies. For those of us who work with websites, be they commercial websites or personal blogs, it behoves on us to ensure they are set up and run so that we eliminate waste and improve efficiency.

Most of these actions are not fundamentally difficult, they simply require attention to detail and careful thought in every aspect of design, content creation, development and hosting, new ways to make it load faster, from image and file compression and minification to browser caching – because when it comes to page speed, every millisecond counts. The more efficient a website is, it becomes a better website as it uses less energy and has faster response times for the user.

Our parish website (www.edgeworthstownparish.ie) now uses 44.5% less bandwidth than previously following changes made to it earlier this year and more savings are planned.

The following are projects planned by Edgeworthstown Tidy Towns:

Edgeworthstown Community Greenway:
A 2.5 km cycleway/pathway running from the N55 Granard Road to the GAA playing field on the Ballymahon Road is planned.  This will run alongside eleven of our twelve housing estates and land zoned for future housing developments. It removes the need for 100 and more car trips morning and afternoon to and from St Mary's National School.

It provides walking/cycling in a safe, traffic free environment. It provides walking/running for fitness from the Community Centre. It provides leisure/fitness walking from The Green and from the various housing estates and provides sports clubs with a 5Km. round trip of running.

Native Wildflowers
We propose to sow Native Wildflowers along road verges and adjoining field headlands (along the N4 from the Railway Station to Lisnanagh/along the N55 from Lisnageeragh Lane down to the railway line on the Ballymahon Road/along The Old Longford Road/along sides or ends of green areas in our housing estates).

Apart from the visual beauty of large areas of native wildflowers in bloom for months from Spring through to Autumn, this project will help to restore and maintain elements of our ecosystem, particularly invertebrates and pollinators.

Production of Biogas
While this is a project that is way beyond our capabilities we believe that we should lay out the availability and types of raw materials from across the community - kitchen wastes from households/shops/pubs/cafes/fast food outlets/factory canteens - agricultural wastes (grass silage/slurry) - forest and landscaping wastes (forest thinnings/plant and grass clippings) - organic factory wastes. Having established quantities available we could then look at using these in an anaerobic digester to produce Biogas on a commercial scale which could be sold and piped onwards to power one or more of our local factories.