Until recently, these pages were the online mouthpiece of ICARUS, which stands for the Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units. One can only wonder why they chose to create a labored acronym to reference to the doomed protagonist of a Greek fable (rather than one of the many compelling characters of Celtic myth, for instance) — though the lesson about mankind’s hubris is still well taken.
We were warned. We were provided with the senses to witness and the reason to understand. We had the news and statistics, and we had the time to teach and discover. There is no longer any excuse for us to continue to rape the land for our own selfish pleasure, to wound the land when it resists our regime, to silence or ridicule those among us who can no longer buy and sell their way to willful ignorance. Sitting in their waterfront real estate, pondering the skies…
Perhaps that time is merely yesterday. Let’s hope it is neither in the far-distant past, which would mean that the damage may be too serious to ever be undone, no matter how enthusiastically we tackle the symptoms…or in our future, which would mean that there is no longer any hope for meaningful progress at all. Perhaps I should compare it to a huge car pile up. The smart person, if seriously injured, would seek out an attorney for car accidents. They would use that professional’s experience and knowledge to deal with the insurance companies. Don’t wait till you feel you’re not being adequately compensated for your current and potentially future medical costs resulting from injuries sustained in the car accident. Get ahead of the curve and contact a lawyer. Likewise, we are urging swift and immediate action to address the issues confronting Ireland. Don’t be like the person who waits too long to file a car accident report and finds the that statutes of limitation laws have become effective before you can challenge the settlement claim.
The economy of Ireland has undergone enormous change in recent years. Jobs are returning and many those who had considered leaving for better opportunities have discovered new ones right here, although the old jobs may have morphed into different ones. The textile industry has found new life although those jobs may now be more oriented toward the export market. Some folks will luck out and find a position that is somewhat familiar. For instance, perhaps you lost a mill job in a textile company. Getting a position in the workroom with a company that makes draperies may not be such a stretch as would be getting a job at an airline. At a custom drapery / curtain company you would still be around all sorts of fabrics. If you worked sewing machines at your old job, moving into a seamstress position creating custom curtains or drapes would not be all that different. It would be the matter of learning to use high quality fabrics and materials to make the drapes to whatever exact specifications you were given. And since high end quality custom drapes are usually lined, you would have to be taught that step as well. Or you might become a “cutter” for the company, selecting the proper fabric and making sure the lengths were accurate to the custom order request. This type of transition from being laid off from one job and gaining employment in a similar field would be most fortunate.
On the other hand, a worse case scenario would be that the person out of work would sink into a depression that might lead to drugs and alcohol abuse. I have seen that occur in my own family when I was growing up and my father, after being injured in the factory where he worked turned to heavy drinking which of course didn’t solve anything. There was no rehab center close by nor did we have a AA organization whose meetings he could have attended if he felt so inclined. Unlike today where one can now take meds to recover from alcoholism, my father had no outside support whatsoever to help him. I just recently read an article about the medication baclofen that is normally used to treat muscle spasms, stiffness, and other back conditions. However, researchers are exploring what factors are predictive of a favorable response to baclofen when used for treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction. Considering that doctors in Europe prescribe baclofen as the primary treatment for people who drink excessively, baclofen, it looks like a potentially impressive alternative to rehab and 12 step abstinence programs that are so popular in the US. Too bad this med wasn’t around when my father was alive.
Such ideas aside, it is the very character of Ireland that is in jeopardy. Inextricably tied to the land, is it any wonder that the abundant gifts of Irish art and culture have begun to dwindle along with the climate? Have we truly come to the point where ‘sustainability’ and ‘preservation’ are merely the desperate final acts of the embalmers of the Irish body of work?
Does this all sound dramatic. Perhaps so, but the point needs not to be made , but also to be acted upon.
Peat is one of the few fuel sources worse than dirty coal (as you may know, peat is a very early stage of coal development). However, it is not the environmental concerns which are closing down the peat plants, but the fact that the bogs are nearly spent; one may only surmise how long Bord na Móna would continue with greater natural resources to exploit.
A number of governmental and conservation agencies recognized bogs as a significant/specific habitat. Although there are many highly specialized animals and plants associated with bog habitat, bogs are not conducive to farming because of a combination of low nutrient levels and waterlogging.
In the years following the disaster, a large number of wrongful death, personal injury and class action lawsuits have been settled. And in an unusual show of bipartisanship, in July of 2011, nine Gulf Coast senators joined forces to introduce a bill that would require at least 80 percent of penalties from the BP oil spill paid under the Clean Water Act be directed to restoration projects in the five Gulf states: Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Texas.