The Environmental Pillar, which is made up of 27 national environmental groups, has asked the incoming government to ensure that it protects the fundamental needs of our society and economy by protecting and enhancing the natural environment. In a detailed submission to the Fine Gael and Labour Parties, the Environmental Pillar outlined what is needed to be done in order to set Ireland on the road to sustainable future.
Amongst a wide range of strong recommendations the submission calls for: the implementation and enforcement of all European Directives on the Environment, including the cessation of turf-cutting on protected peatlands; the retention of Coillte in state ownership, coupled with an overhaul of the Forestry Acts; an end to motorway building; the immediate introduction of Climate Change legislation; an amendment to the Constitution providing for the Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment; and the ratification of the Aarhus Convention.
Speaking on behalf of the Environmental Pillar, Joanne Pender of the Irish Wildlife Trust states: “Almost every family is affected right now by unemployment, loss of earnings or loss of hard earned savings, and as a consequence the economy is going to be in the forefront of their considerations. However, the long term sustainability of employment and a thriving society depends completely on having a healthy environment. Our society, and the economic systems that we have created, is entirely dependent on the fundamental resources of healthy soils, clean water and air, a stable climate, and a healthy diversity of life. Without these services provided by nature, the elaborate social structures and economic systems that we have created cannot function.”