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Meet Ireland’s costal eco-warriors: ‘We’re in a climate crisis yet we’re continuing to destroy the sea’

The ocean is two-thirds of the earth, sequesters more carbon than the rainforests, and if we don’t protect it now, there’s no way back to a healthy planet. We hear from the people fighting to save our marine wildlife, stop sea levels rising and put an end to ‘plastic soup’ 

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Saving our seas: (From left) Florence ‘Flossie’ Donnelly, Ceara Carney, David Duffy, Marie Power, and Sinead McCoy

Saving our seas: (From left) Florence ‘Flossie’ Donnelly, Ceara Carney, David Duffy, Marie Power, and Sinead McCoy

Ceara Carney of Extinction Rebellion Ireland. Picture: Gary O'Neill Photography

Ceara Carney of Extinction Rebellion Ireland. Picture: Gary O'Neill Photography

Marine conservationist David Duffy with a green sea turtle

Marine conservationist David Duffy with a green sea turtle

The Sea Gardener, Marie Power, foraging with helpers Katie and Harry Earl. Picture: Patrick Browne

The Sea Gardener, Marie Power, foraging with helpers Katie and Harry Earl. Picture: Patrick Browne

Beach cleaner Flossie Donnelly in Sandycove, Dublin. Picture: Fran Veale

Beach cleaner Flossie Donnelly in Sandycove, Dublin. Picture: Fran Veale

Sinead McCoy of Clean Coasts

Sinead McCoy of Clean Coasts

Beach cleaner Flossie Donnelly in Sandycove, Dublin. Picture: Frank McGrath

Beach cleaner Flossie Donnelly in Sandycove, Dublin. Picture: Frank McGrath

Sinead McCoy of Clean Coasts

Sinead McCoy of Clean Coasts

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Saving our seas: (From left) Florence ‘Flossie’ Donnelly, Ceara Carney, David Duffy, Marie Power, and Sinead McCoy

When it comes to sheer size and variety of marine life, it’s hard to beat Ireland. In fact, Ireland is technically one of the largest countries in Europe when you factor in seabed territory — some 880,000 square kilometres in all, and with over 3,000 kilometres of coastline.

Living in our waters are more than 24 species of whales and dolphins, 35 species of sharks, 24 species of seabirds and over 250 species of fish and invertebrates. And they’re all in danger as a consequence of climate change and ocean pollution. Some of the damage is now irreversible, with plastic pollution in particular being a chief culprit, but there are a new breed of Irish people doing their best to minimise the damage. Weekend spoke to five of them.

David Duffy, marine conservationist


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