Ireland's vanishing nature is discussed by Pádraic in Delgany
Pádraic Fogarty, author, ecologist, campaign officer and former chairman of the Irish Wildlife Trust, was invited to Delgany recently to discuss his book 'Whittled Away: Ireland's Vanishing Nature'.
The event was organised by Laillí de Buitlear, wife of the late Eamon, who was a renowned ecologist, broadcaster and co-founder of Irish Wildlife. Keith Scanlon of Tidy Towns also put a lot of organisation into the talk.
Pádriac highlighted how nature in Ireland is disappearing at an alarming rate and how it has reached epidemic proportions that leave barren possibilities for the future.
Overfishing, industrial-scale farming and pollution have decimated wildlife habitats and populations. Locally, on Kilcoole beach washed up oyster shells provide evidence of once-abundant oyster beds which were dredged to extinction.
Padraic explained that, in one lifetime, vast shoals of herring, rivers bursting with salmon and bogs alive with flocks of geese have all become memories while birds such as curlew, which were once as common as the friendly garden robin, have vanished.
In the past few decades, the swiftness of destructions has increased rapidly, he said.
Pádraic presented some alternative paths that could lead to a brighter future such as re-planting native trees, the re-introduction of species, such as bilter and cranes, along the Shannon and leaving areas to return to nature. The takeaway message was that nature protection is not a threat but a salvation.
The talk was followed by questions and an open discussion about what can be done to change this situation. It was widely accepted that everyone can do their bit but that we need to think and act systematically to ensure change.
Speakers included Jennifer Who spoke about how we can raise environmental issues with our local representatives to bring increased awareness of the subject to local council. She also spoke about a campaign to develop a number of local bus routes with the National Transport Authority.
Rosa Murphy, who took part in the Save the Glen campaign 20 years ago that protested against plans for a road widening scheme at Glen of the Downs, highlighted the necessity for people to work together in order to affect big change.
Sr Collette from Wicklow Ecology Centre spoke about the work carried out over the past 30 years by the Dominican order, which has planted 10,000 trees and plays an important role in educating others on why the care of the earth and holistic and sustainable living is connected to spirituality.
There was a 10-minute workshop by Rachel Dempsey of Zero Waste brainstorming on how to affect change and reach sustainability.