Tuesday 15 October 2019

'So important to humanity'

Niall Weldon with his thesis calling on the introduction of Climate Change as a core school subject
Niall Weldon with his thesis calling on the introduction of Climate Change as a core school subject

John Manning

A former company secretary of Aer Lingus and former chair of the Young Scientist Exhibition has put all of his experience and knowledge to work over the last decade to come up with a thesis at the age of 96 that calls on the Department of Education to introduce climate change as a full school subject at primary schools, secondary schools and indeed third-level institutions.

Niall Weldon's impressive career in business led him to the senior ranks of Aer Lingus and later to chairing Beaumont Hospital and Jury's Hotel Group and it was not until he reached the age of 86 that Niall, who lives in Rush, finally put the world of work behind him.

But still eager to make his contribution, Niall was sparked into action again after reading an article in the Irish Time regarding climate change and the subject sparked such an interest in him, that he began a decade of study into the subject.

The result is a thesis, completed just a few months ago where Niall recommends that climate change be elevated to a core subject in schools and not just part of science studies as it is now.

'The issue of climate change is so important now that everyone's helps is required so I'm recommending that it be given full subject status in schools,' Niall told the Fingal Independent.

Niall has shown the thesis to an expert in the field and former UCD professor, Dearbhla Donnelly who has commended the work and believes the central thesis of the piece, that climate change should become a core subject in schools, is worthy of consideration.

The Rush man said: 'I'm 96 years of age now and who knows how long I have left but I would like to see this idea given consideration and implemented.'

Talking about the weight of the environmental catastrophe that faces the planet if we do not ge to grips with climate change, Niall said: 'All the scientists agreed now that the earth is in danger of disappearing of becoming extinct if we do not get carbon emissions under control.'

He said the subject of climate change is 'so important for humanity' it deserves to be at the very core of learning for our young people who will inherit a planet under threat and must be given the tools to deal with it and perhaps start to reverse the mistakes of past generations.

Asked what is next for his thesis, Niall said he hoped to gain more publicity for the idea before getting it in front of the Department of Education for consideration.

The 96-year-old Rush man has already made an extraordinary contribution to Irish life and to the science world in his role at the head of the Young Scientist Exhibition for more than two decades but even at his advances age, Niall is clearly not done making a difference and if those with the power to do so, take up his innovative idea,

Fingal Independent