Last night, the Project Arts Centre was packed to the rafters as the venue played host to a meeting of minds where members of Extinction Rebellion Ireland, Friends Of The Earth Ireland, school strikers and activists gathered together to share a series of inspiring and stirring conversations on how we all must play our part in combatting the climate crisis.
Managing Editor of GCN, Lisa Connell, began the evening by welcoming the audience, noting how inspiring it was to see such a huge turn out for such an important topic. In advance of the event, Lisa penned an opinion piece where she stressed how “we must take this crisis seriously in order to save the planet from certain death and destruction”.
There followed a striking and moving video which combined speeches by Greta Thunberg, Mary Robinson and David Attenborough over a series of video clips and images which highlighted the impact humanity has had on our globe and how we need to act now.
LGBT+ activist Carol-Anne O’Brien spoke to Bronwen McDonagh and Laura Berry, two young members of BeLonG To who took part in the recent school strikes. The young women proved to be true inspirations as they discussed the impact the school strikes have had in raising awareness worldwide, all organised by people who aren’t even old enough to vote.
Today, Wicklow became the first county in Ireland to declare a Climate and Biodiversity emergency ???
This is one of XR Ireland's three demands. Now every other council and the government must follow their lead! ??? #ExtinctionRebelion pic.twitter.com/zQKGzBsZOI
— Extinction Rebellion Ireland (@ExtinctRebelsIE) April 29, 2019
Next up was environmental journalist and commentator John Gibbons, who delivered a powerful speech, highlighting how the time to act was yesterday. Gibbons laid out a series of sobering statistics, and stressed that with the upcoming elections, now is the time for people to contact politicians looking for votes and demand change.
Dr Ciaran O’Carroll from Extinction Rebellion Ireland spoke next. O’Carroll was one of the activists who took part in the recent protests which brought London to a standstill and captured the world’s attention. Himself one of the thousand activists who were arrested, he discussed the concept of civil disobedience and how effective it can be in implementing change.
BREAKING – UK MPs pass a motion to declare an environment & climate emergency. This has seen them start to #TellTheTruth about the climate & ecological crisis. They must now halt biodiversity loss, go net #ZeroCarbon2025 & create a #CitizensAssembly.pic.twitter.com/qXR7vEJwpG
— Extinction Rebellion ?⌛️? (@ExtinctionR) May 1, 2019
Oana Marian from Extinction Rebellion Ireland and the Active Hope Network spoke next on the need for us all to acknowledge the emotional impact the struggle has on us and the need for active hope. In a wonderful connecting moment, she encouraged conversation within the room as those in the audience addressed their neighbours, talking about their love of the planet.
Finally Meaghan Carmody of Friends Of The Earth Ireland hosted a panel discussion where each of the previous speakers answered questions and suggested how we can best implement what had been discussed over the course of the evening.
The floor was then opened to the audience for questions and comments. One speaker made a particularly great point, expressing how veganism is the way forward.
Would be great to see this poll done in Ireland ?
63% of British public think they are in a climate emergency.
76% say they would vote differently to protect the planet and climate.
64% say government is responsible for taking action on climate change.https://t.co/omsQloq1zT
— Extinction Rebellion Ireland (@ExtinctRebelsIE) April 30, 2019
The evening proved to be both sobering and inspiring as all gathered recognised the battle we have ahead of us to save the world but left invigorated and ready for the fight.
Over the coming months, GCN will strive to be active in the fight against climate crisis and keep the conversation moving forward. For more information, visit Extinction Rebellion Ireland Friends Of The Earth Ireland and the Active Hope Network.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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