Irish NGOs: Climate justice begins at home

The Irish government, who as part of their hosting of the EU Presidency, are also hosting the Hunger, Nutrition and Climate Justice conference, is being accused of extraordinary hypocrisy by Irish and other NGOs.

Al Gore speaking at event

The Irish Food Sovereignty Working Group, along with NGOS Friends of Earth Ireland, Trócaire, Oxfam and Christian Aid organised a free, open to the public event last Monday called “Climate Justice Begins at Home” to coincide with the invite-only high level conference.

Speakers on the panel included Maanda Ngoitiko, a Maasai Pastoralist and Land Rights activist from Northern Tanzania, Cecilia Kibe Muthoni, the co-ordinator for the Kenya Climate Justice Women Champions, John Brennan, an Irish Organic farmer and Molly Walsh, a Campaigner with Friends of the Earth.

We believe that climate justice must start at home and that this means developed countries like Ireland taking responsibility for reducing our emissions.” A particular focus on the event was “what climate justice really means in terms of sustainable agriculture, food sovereignty and land use” the organisers said in a statement.

Ireland recently brought in a climate bill with no meaningful targets, while its agriculture sector alone is predicted to radically increase emissions even by 2020.

Friends of the Earth Campaigns Director, Molly Walsh, commented “Climate Justice is fundamentally about rich countries taking responsibility for causing climate change and doing their fair share to stop it running out of control.”

Without a 2050 target for emissions reductions the Government’s support for climate justice is empty rhetoric. If the Government is serious about climate justice it will put back into its draft law the 80% target that has been present in all previous climate change Bills.

“Today’s conference is discussing the critical issue of how smallholder farmers in the Global South cope with the climate change we have caused. But hosting this important event is not enough to make Ireland a leader on climate justice. Climate justice begins at home.

What will make Ireland a leader on climate justice is passing a Climate Change Bill with strong emissions reduction targets.”

Meanwhile, all relevant Irish ministers have been waxing lyrical, with all the Stanislavski earnestness they could muster, at the Hunger Nutrition and Climate Justice event.

Irish Environment Minister Phil Hogan, speaking at the event, pointed out thatsadly it is the poorest countries with agriculturally dependent economies which are the most affected despite them having done the least to cause the problem.” He still manages, however, to take credit for “working hard to advance the technical negotiations on climate change at UN level.”

This theme of unfortunate others was continued by a queue of Ministers: “Climate change is already having a devastating impact on those who suffer most” Irish deputy Prime Minister (Tanaiste) Eamon Gilmore said, somehow continuing: “what is involved is rights, justice and equity”.

These and other ministers have shared stages and polite glasses of wine with everyone from Al Gore to actual climate change victims at this event. That the latter must return to an encroaching disaster after the event is a matter of shameful fact.

Oliver Moore
About Oliver Moore 185 Articles
DR. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Oliver voyage beaucoup moins qu’auparavant, pour ce qui concerne son activité professionnelle. Il peut néanmoins admirer par la fenêtre de son bureau les mésanges charbonnières et les corbeaux perchés au sommet du saule dans le jardin de sa maison au cœur de l’écovillage de Cloughjordan, en Irlande. L’écovillage est un site de 67 acres dans le nord du Tipperary. Il comprend d’espaces boisés, des paysages comestibles, des lieux de vie, d’habitation et de travail, ainsi qu’une ferme appartenant à la communauté. Les jours où il travaille dans le bureau du centre d’entreprise communautaire, il profite d’une vue sur les chevaux, les panneaux solaires, les toilettes sèches et les jardins familiaux.  Ce bureau au sein de l’écovillage constitue en effet un tiers-lieu de travail accueillant également des collaborateurs des associations Cultivate et Ecolise, ainsi qu’un laboratoire de fabrication (« fab lab »).  Oliver est membre du conseil d’administration de la ferme communautaire (pour la seconde fois !) et donne également des cours sur le Master en coopératives, agroalimentaire et développement durable à l’University College Cork. Il a une formation en sociologie rurale : son doctorat et les articles qu’il publie dans des journaux scientifiques portent sur ce domaine au sens large. Il consacre la majorité de son temps de travail à l’ARC 2020. Il collabore avec ARC depuis 2013, date à laquelle l’Irlande a assuré la présidence de l’UE pendant six mois. C’est là qu’il a pu constater l’importance de la politique agroalimentaire et rurale grâce à sa chronique hebdomadaire sur le site d’ARC. Après six mois, il est nommé rédacteur en chef et responsable de la communication, poste qu’il occupe toujours aujourd’hui. Oliver supervise le contenu du site web et des médias sociaux, aide à définir l’orientation de l’organisation et parfois même rédige un article pour le site web.  À l’époque où on voyageait davantage, il a eu la chance de passer du temps sous les tropiques, où il a aidé des ONG irlandaises de commerce équitable – au Ghana, au Kenya, au Mali, en Inde et au Salvador – à raconter leur histoire.  Il se peut que ces jours-là reviennent. Pour son compte Oliver continuera de préférer naviguer en Europe par bateau, puis en train. Après tout, la France n’est qu’à une nuit de navigation. En attendant, il y a toujours de nombreuses possibilités de bénévolat dans la communauté dans les campagnes du centre de l’Irlande.