Irish Climate

Update: years of protest and lobbying by Erris fishermen and others have paid off, more or less: Shell Ireland has agreed to extend the “umbilical” pipe that discharges waste from the Corrib gas terminal. Previously, the pipe was located about 2km north of Erris Head, with the “diffuser” end approximately 13km offshore. Now, the discharge will occur 80km offshore — good news for the fisherman, though perhaps not much of an improvement for the sea’s ecosystem as a whole…

Shell has been  facing some serious resistance in their plans for Ireland, with the An Bord Pleanala decision pleasantly surprising those who had reason the believe that the government as a whole would continue to consistently support Shell – with tactics up to and including violence and sabotage (among others, Pat O’Donnell can certainly attest to this). It’s a poorly-kept secret that Shell is basically employing their own ‘security forces’, whose main goal is to intimidate and silence the opposition, using force and ‘dirty tricks’, whenever and wherever possible.

The climate and environment of Ireland, famed from time immemorial, is suffering from the worldwide blight of climate change.

Yet here we focus on Ireland; for a number of reasons, the Auld Sod provides a striking example — not least of which is the enduring characterization of Ireland as the country of green. It is the land of magical lore of Celtic magic and Faeries who are referred to by a wide variety of euphemisms, including “the Fair Folk”, “the Good Neighbors”, “the Little Folk”, “the Little Darlings”, and “the People of Peace”. The trees, oak, ash and thorn along with fruit-bearing trees are thought to have special powers or serve as the abode of faeries. In Ireland, Faeries are also called the Aes Sídhe (singular Aes Sídh). Sídhe happens to be the name for the earthen mounds and hills that dot the Irish landscape. When my daughter was younger she loved to dress up in her princess costumes and pretend she was a faerie queen. She would dance about the garden with a garland of flowers in her hair while waving her magic wand. Sometimes I wish I could wave my own magic wand to sweep back the encroaching blight of climate change and large money hungry multi national oil conglomerates.

As much as the rainforests, Eire represents the beauty of green, growing things — all the more so because Ireland’s green is largely settled land, tamed land; unlike the impenetrable growth of jungle and untouched wilderness, Ireland’s natural beauty exists alongside centuries of civilization and progress.

Those practical persons of power may be somewhat persuaded by appeals to the economic crises of declining revenue and shifting consumer priorities; in response, a belated and largely opportunistic strategy of ‘sustainability’ results, and the word ‘green’ is thrown around with other sound bytes and photo ops. The idea that we have arrived at a point not worth sustaining is alien to such people, not to mention the possibility that progress itself (in the accepted definition of the term) may be an undesirable relic of the past — a past which should someday be seen as equally barbaric in its cruelty and ignorance as any tyrannical empire or Dark Ages.

It is obvious that the press and public must remain diligent, but I suppose it may be significant that some double-speaking corporate tools are even starting to pay lip service to environmental causes, now that they’ve been shown that they will be taken to account for their actions. Better a small amount of poorly-understood ‘common knowledge’ served up in sound bytes than encouraging depth of understanding and personal passion — which is frequently dangerous to unwieldy systems of institutionalized thinking.

Please feel free to speak up on this matter, especially if you experiences or genuine knowledge that can contribute to our understanding of the motives behind such behavior. We would really like to know how this kind of hypocrisy gets started and basically what’s at its root in our society.