Life

Saturday 19 October 2019

The three things you can do to alleviate climate chaos, according to former president Mary Robinson

Former President Mary Robinson. Photo: Frank McGrath
Former President Mary Robinson. Photo: Frank McGrath
Mary Robinson. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson says there are three things each individual needs to do to help alleviate climate chaos.

Ms Robinson, who gave an address on climate change yesterday at an event hosted by the Irish Woman Lawyers Association in Dublin, said the countries and governments of the world still have a lot of work to do to ensure that global warming does not exceed 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, and to achieve a 45pc reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.

“At the moment we’re on course for at least a three degrees warming world, and possibly 3.5 or four degrees. And that’s going to be catastrophic,” she said.

“If we don’t change that curve, reduce [carbon emissions to] 45pc by 2030, then we’re not going to be on course to zero by 2050.”

“We have to imagine this world that we want to get to.”

She added: “There are three things that everybody should do in the whole world.”

“Make Climate Change Personal”

“Make climate change personal in your life, because it’s that serious. We can’t afford not to. Make it personal in your life and do something that you weren’t doing before so that you know you’ve made it personal in your life."

"You’ve got carbon footprint. You’re responsible for that... you can do something, you can recycle more efficiently, you can use public transport, in my case I’ve become a pescatarian – I still like lamb from the west of Ireland - but I’m sticking to my no meat,” she added.

“Get angry and get active” 

"Get angry with those who have more responsibility and aren’t taking it seriously, and that’s basically government at all levels, all over the world, including down to the city level and the town level. There are so many things that they’re not doing that [they] should be doing."

"We [in Ireland] have an action plan, thankfully, it’s a plan still. Hopefully the whole thing will be seriously implemented. Get angry and get active in using your voice, using your vote and supporting organisations that are already very active in this space on conservation issues... organisations like Trócaire and lots of other organisations..,” she said.

Visualise the world you want to live in

“This is the most important one: Begin to see this world that we really want."

"What we have to give up is the throwaway society that hasn’t actually been making us terribly happy. We’ve made the start on plastics, thank goodness... when I was growing up, being an elder, we learned to darn, we learned to sew, we learned to sew buttons. My four brothers had hand-me-down clothes right down to the youngest... this is the way it was and there’s nothing wrong with that. I like slow fashion now, I like slow food, I like the way people are thinking about all of these things because this is about relationships and you can have a very good life."

The former President added that though she routinely flies around the world as a speaker, elder, and climate change activist, she ensures that every flight is offset (extra money is paid to compensate for the carbon emissions produced from the flights).

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