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SAGE SHANKILL ACTION FOR A GREEN EARTH

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FREE PRACTICAL WORKSHOP

FOR HOME ENERGY SAVINGS

AT ST. ANNE'S RESOURCE CENTRE, SHANKILL

T U E S D A Y 1 1 T H J U N E 2 0 1 9

A L L W E L C O M E

F R O M 7 . 3 0 P . M .

L E T ' S S A V E T H E E A R T H

L E T ' S S A V E Y O U E N E R G Y C O S T S

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Dr. Lorna Gold #ClimateChange talk 14.05.19

Dr. Lorna Gold will be speaking on Tuesday 14th May in St. Anne’s Resource Centre.

Lorna has to a great extent been responsible for the rising awareness of Climate Change in Ireland.

This is a free talk not to be missed. All welcome.

Feedback is that one in ten questions posed to politicians on the door steps now relate to Climate Change; a year ago that figure was zero. https://www.facebook.com/SAGEShankill

SCAN May 2019 Lorna Gold talk on Tuesday 14th May in St. Anne’s Resource Centre

March 15th greatly exceeded all expectations when over 10,000 school children and a few adults marched from St. Stephen’s Green to the Dail demanding action on Climate Change. This was part of a day of action all over the Country and around the world where some millions of children demonstrated to demand action on Climate Change since it is their lives and wellbeing that are at stake if we do nothing. The political world is slowly beginning to understand that they must take serious action and not keep putting off decisions, whatever the commercial pressures. Our own Government is planning to publish its Climate Action Plan shortly, indeed it should be available by the time this issue of SCAN is published. We must hope that it is a serious document and not another example of putting off difficult decisions.

SAGE, along with the other Sustainable Energy Communities around the Country, has been finding that the 30% grant for improving the BER is too small, making the payback periods too long to encourage people to insulate and upgrade their houses. This situation has been made greatly worse by a recent decision that the work done to upgrade a house must bring it up to B2 standard. In effect this means that the spend may well need to be €15,000 plus in many cases, which is clearly prohibitive for most people as a lump sum and it also has the disastrous effect of preventing incremental improvements over a number of years.

A Master’s student in Trinity is looking at the potential for setting up a Community Generation Scheme in Shankill. The aim would be to find people who wished to invest in the scheme which would install electricity generation panels on roofs, the investors would purchase their electricity from the scheme and also receive a dividend based on the sale of the excess electricity. Such schemes are running quite widely in other Countries. To make the scheme viable the Government needs to mandate the ESB to establish the necessary feed in points to the grid.

We apologise that it was necessary to postpone the talk by Lorna Gold in order to make way for the very well attended meeting concerning the proposed Bus Corridor through Shankill.

Lorna will be speaking on Tuesday 14th May in St. Anne’s Resource Centre. Lorna has to a great extent been responsible for the rising awareness of Climate Change in Ireland. This is a talk not to be missed. Feedback is that one in ten questions posed to politicians on the door steps now relate to Climate Change; a year ago that figure was zero.

 In connection with the Bus Corridor #13 SAGE will be making a submission to BusConnects taking the view that the proposals, especially when tied back to the National Transport Plan, do not in any way address in a meaningful way the changes which we must make as a Country if we are to meet our Climate Change obligations and not incur fines which could soon be running at €500m p.a. if we fail. The fines represent absolutely dead money which could be spent on schools or the health service. We need to make this clear to our representatives when they come looking for our votes towards the end of the month.

SAGE has been represented at the Climate Justice Demonstration each Friday at 1.00pm outside the Dail, anyone is welcome to join in.

SAGE was also present helping at the tree planting on Stonebridge Road on 4th April as part of National Tree Planting Week organised by Shankill Tidy Towns, Coillte, Crann Ireland and DLRCoCo, among other groups.

SAGE communication to NTA/BusConnects for May 2019

SAGE presentation to NTA/BusConnects.

SAGE [Shankill Action for a Green Earth] was established in 2015 to develop awareness of the critical importance of Climate Change, to establish activities in Shankill to mitigate the escalating damaging consequences of climate change if we take inadequate action to limit our national greenhouse gas emissions, to support the maintenance of an optimum environment and enhance biodiversity and to improve the understanding of, and commitment to solving Climate Change among our politicians.

Our Comments on the Route 13 Bus Corridor will be made from the perspective of the absolute necessity of taking action on climate change, something which must involve every citizen and every organisation, as made clear by Mr. Richard Bruton and to minimise environmental harm caused by the proposals.

Sage makes this presentation assuming that the bus corridors and other changes to the Dublin transport system are intended to improve the broad range of public transport in order to make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Thus it becomes necessary to consider Route 13 as part of a broader perspective than just the effects of the proposal on the village of Shankill.

Reading the section of the 2017 National Mitigation Plan concerned with transport, it is clear that the focus is on transport in general, it is also very vague with little in the way of clear proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are no policies discernible with the intention of strongly encouraging people to transfer from private motor transport to public transport, bicycles or walking.

It is clear that the thinking of the NTA does not include a national policy designed to sharply decrease the 19.8% of national greenhouse gas emissions due to transport. For this to be done it is essential that NTA and BusConnect policies are designed to move a significant proportion [majority] of journeys from private to public systems.

Returning to issues relating to Route 13 in general and Shankill in particular:

1. Why is it proposed to reduce the number of bus journeys through Shankill from 13 to 8?

2. Why is it proposed to change route 145 so that it no longer serves Heuston Station and instead almost entirely duplicates the route155?

a. Both of these changes reduce the incentives to change from private to public transport.

b. Both changes sit oddly with the claim in Bus Connect News of 7th February last that there will be a 27% increase in journeys.

3. What is the evidence that journey-time savings of 40 – 50% can be made on BusConnect route 13? And what proportion of that time is it suggested would accrue in Shankill? Many different sources are absolutely clear that current delays to the buses travelling through Shankill are either nonexistent or trivial. Significant delays either occur in Bray town which is not part of the BusConnect Route 13 plan, or en route due to the number of passenger stops required or due to the stopping of vehicles in the bus lanes, taxis and delivery vehicles being the most common. If alternate buses were ‘express’ with limited stops, we would suggest, Shankill, Foxrock to connect with 46 series buses, Stillorgan and UCD and Donnybrook onwards. This would greatly reduce journey times for those taking the longer journeys.

In general transport could be greatly improved by the establishment of a feeder bus service between Bray Dart station or better, the new station proposed at Woodbrook, Shankill Dart station, Loughlinstown Hospital and the LUAS, currently at Brides Glen. This would have the added benefit of reducing the demand for free parking. At present Shankill Dart parking is inadequate and overspill causes problems for the local estates during the working week. Luas parking is at capacity both at Brides Glen and Carrickmines.

4. Unlike many other named parts of Dublin, Shankill has a very strong identity as a village which residents greatly value. The proposal to effectively put a four lane highway through the village is totally unacceptable to the village of Shankill; it would have the effect of dividing the village, making contact between east and west [new and old] much more difficult. It is reasonable to expect that traffic on the road will increase in the future due to the amount of building proposed for the local area, which in principle could lead to delays, however one possible way to deal with this is to install traffic lights at either end of the village which will give priority to the buses. Obviously this would result in delays to private transport but this would have the desirable effect of encouraging private transport into public transport. If pull-ins were installed at the bus stops, which could be done with minimal disruption to pedestrian or cycle movements, this would facilitate the movement of necessary private transport.

5. Besides being concerned with issues of energy management relating to Climate Change, SAGE is also actively concerned with the environment and biodiversity. Shankill is a village which has a wonderful range of mature and developing trees which support a wide variety of bird, animal and insect life. Over 15,000 of these trees have been planted with the support of Dunlaoghaire Rathdown County Council, Shankill Tidy Towns and Crann, one for every inhabitant of Shankill.

It is clear from reading the BusConnect proposal for Shankill that the plan includes the felling of a very large number of mature and developing trees, a proposal which would have the most serious consequences for the ambiance of the village, reverse a long term program of enhancing our village environment and it would also be contrary to the needs of Ireland where maintaining our capacity to capture carbon is critical, as is the maintenance of biodiversity as explained in such detail in the recent United Nations report.

6. At a recent meeting convened by the EU in Mount Street each of the three speakers from Pontevedra in Spain, Paris and Amsterdam stressed the same points: to change an entire city requires:

a. A clear plan to move the city to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

b. That this plan equally importantly will make the city a more pleasant place for residents, due to much reduced pollution and greater safety and ease of moving around based on pedestrianisation, greater use of bicycles, Public transport and far fewer cars. Experience shows that people then move back into the city to live thus greatly reducing private car journeys.

c. All this to be done by improving public transport in favour of private.

d. Emphasising the importance of engaging the public and listening to their concerns and knowledge of local conditions. Planning officials must be prepared to walk the proposed routes and discuss proposed changes with interested locals.

7. In general it is essential that public transport is given full priority over private if private transport is to be reduced to the extent necessary to have any significant effect on Climate Change, which has to be our top priority. This will have two effects

a. Public transport will become more attractive as it is facilitated to keep accurate schedules.

b. Private transport becomes less attractive as it becomes subject to more delays, this will encourage change in transport habits in favour of the public systems.

8. Public transport must be seen as an integrated whole comprising bus, rail, bicycle and pedestrian systems.

a. Thus it should be an integral part of the planning process to ensure that private transport can easily integrate with public, to facilitate this it is essential that there is plenty of free parking available at park and ride connections, often rail but also bus. Bus transport should be frequent and reliable and should as far as possible allow easy exchange between systems and routes, as it appears the bus connect restructuring aims to do, all with decent shelters.

b. In general there should be a move to provide free parking and transport on all commuter routes as this will have considerable drawing power to bring private transport into the public system as it would provide considerable savings over fuel and parking costs. Congestion and other charges could add further incentives to change over.

9. In view of the climate change emergency the entire transport system should be converted to electric as soon as possible and the capacity of the Luas at least doubled with corresponding changes in the parking facilities. This would clearly require some new thinking on controlling transport in the City Centre. One possibility would be to terminate alternative LUAS trams at Stephen’s Green on the South and Parnell on the North side.

10. Members of SAGE are deeply concerned members of the community of Shankill and greatly value the village atmosphere which is nurtured so well by the many organisations we have functioning in Shankill. The proposed Route 13 changes will do immense damage to the ambiance of the village, will produce no significant improvement in bus journey times and rather than contributing to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will make the situation worse. Such serious damage to a community and to the national carbon plan for no discernible benefit is totally unwarranted.

Signed on behalf of SAGE:

Patrick Davey

p.s. please consider supporting Shankill Village communicate via ShankillMatters /Shankill TidyTowns and Save Shankill Village with NTA early in May 2019 via individual contributions via cbc@busconnects.ie or see signed petition

SCAN December 2018

The first major step in the running of the Shankill Sustainable Energy Community is the establishment of an Energy Master Plan for Shankill. This will define the range of house types, their ages, their energy use and the potential savings if particular works are undertaken. Our figures, which are very general at this stage, show that Shankill is spending around €20m per year on energy; the long term hope is that this can be reduced by 5% per annum.

Some households might like to be more closely involved in generating the necessary information and their opportunity to do this will be to keep a detailed energy audit for a few months with regular readings of electricity and gas meters and fuel purchases for vehicles. We will then be in a better position to identify possible savings which will feed into the National Plan.

The great news on the energy front was the recognition by Bord na Mona that due to climate change they must phase out the use of peat for power generation much quicker than originally planned. They are doing this in a structured way so as to minimise disruption to the local community who depend on turf cutting for income during the summer. The same creative thinking is needed by the farming sector which has a number of routes to reducing climate damage while at the same time maintaining their way of life and quite possibly increasing their income. The action of Bord na Mona is in stark contrast with the abject failure of the Government to increase carbon taxes in the budget.

On Monday 5th November there was an international meeting held in Trinity at which Mary Robinson was one of the keynote speakers. We are all well aware of her campaigning on Climate Change but this time she was speaking about the importance of Transition being planned. By this she meant precisely what Bord na Mona has done which is to recognise that communities which depend on a climate damaging activity cannot be thrown to the wolves but by getting Government, Workers and their unions, Management and the Community to work together the transition can be managed to cause the minimum disruption.

The second Keynote speaker was a lady representing her nomadic people from Cameroon and Chad. They have lived for millennia in the Sahel sustainably moving North and South, East and West as the seasons change, their cattle leaving fertilised land for farming as they move on. But now, due to Climate Change, Lake Chad has shrunk from 25,000sq.km to 2,500sq.km. As she told us the result is that all the communities and groups depending on the lake are under intense pressure, and are beginning to fight for what is left and that this is where Boko Haram come from, a direct consequence of Climate Change. It was also mentioned, again, as a reminder, that one of the reasons for the chaos in the Middle East is Climate Change causing five years of drought in Syria.

Many, if not most, of the refugees trying to get to Europe from Africa are doing so as a direct result of Climate Change because the land is drying and they can no long grow food and keep their animals and so have to move to the shrinking areas where it is possible to live and this, naturally leads to conflict and war. We in the developed part of the world have a tremendous responsibility to do everything we can to solve the problem of Climate Change since we have 80 times the carbon footprint of an African. If we fail, not only is that grossly unjust but it will come back to bite us with progressively more severe and erratic weather, including hurricanes.

There is no Us and Them with respect to Climate Change, we are all in this together.

SCAN October 2018

Most people are now well aware that we have a problem with Climate Change.

There are many sites which give suggestions for what we can do as individuals to reduce our use of energy and for those who live in Shankill we have made suggestions through SCAN of small actions that we can all do to reduce our carbon footprint, but does it make much difference?

In order to help in understanding how big the problem is and what we might change in order to further reduce our carbon footprint we can calculate how much carbon dioxide we produce in a year and what aspects of our lifestyle contribute most. Although it is almost impossible for us, here in Ireland, to reduce our footprint to a sustainable level in the short term it is important that we understand how much we need to do, both as individuals and as a nation.

On average, each individual in Ireland has a carbon footprint which is 20 times bigger that someone living in Africa and when you add other sources of CO2 from which we benefit, such as roads, public lighting, water purification, most of which goes down the drain, sewerage treatment and transport we are nearly 100 times worse than an African.

The Link to the carbon footprint calculator will help to show how big is our personal footprint. It will be immediately clear that there are certain activities which contribute significantly and which we can control: Private transport and whether we could use public transport instead, how many air trips we make, the energy we use in our houses and the source and type of  food we eat.

It is critically important that we take control, as best we can, of our footprint, Firstly as a matter of justice, since we are the ones who do the polluting but those in the more fragile parts of the world are those who do the suffering as a result of climate change. And secondly because if we don’t the world’s climate will change so radically that life as we know it will become a thing of the past with Food shortages, large parts of the world becoming uninhabitable and increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events everywhere. Life becomes impossible if temperature and humidity prevent one from controlling body temperature.

According to the IPCC we have 12 years to reduce our carbon use by 45% and it must be phased out by 2050 if we are to have any chance of keeping climate change within bounds. Individually this will be extremely difficult to manage which is why it is essential that the Government takes a much more serious approach than they have done so far. It appears either that they do not understand the severity of the threat or that they are almost completely under the influence of short term commercial pressures.

Please use the footprint calculator and see what changes you can make to help in saving the world.

SCAN March 2018

Eco-tip.

When bulbs fail, replace them with LED or low energy bulbs, they are more expensive but will save around 80% or more of your lighting bill. In my experience a few fail early on so I write on them the date when I put them in and if it fails early I take it back for a replacement. They should last 3 – 5 years. Check what it says on the pack because some say they should last 20,000 or 30,000 hours which probably means five years but do not promise or give a guarantee but some do guarantee the life and those are the ones to go for.

SCAN April 2018

St.Anne’s Parish and St. James’s Crinken were awarded the green flag by Eco-Congregations last Autumn.  We are now being asked to advise other parishes about how they can contribute to reducing Climate Change. The word is slowly spreading. St Anne’s parish was asked to pick one suggestion each week from one of four categories, during the rest of Lent. The interest was substantial. The lists can be found on the parish website as of course there is every reason to make the lifestyle changes now and not wait until next Lent. Water saving shower heads are perhaps the most effective way of saving water, energy and money [Perhaps €200 per year for a cost of €20 , but check they are suitable for your system

eco-tip.

To bring a kettle  to the boil will cost about 2.5c but only .7c if you just heat enough for a mug. If you drink six mugs a day, made at different times this means a saving of about 42c/day, not a lot per day perhaps, but about €150 over a year and about 500Kg of CO2.

If all 5000 houses in and around Shankill did this, it alone would save 2,500tons of CO2 per year.

SCAN January 2018

SAGE is now part of the Sustainable Energy Community [SEC] network and hopes to be a fully operating SEC before Christmas.

We hope that those who used the Energy Kits found them useful for planning possible work on your houses. We hope that a kit will be available shortly in the Library. If you think it might be useful to you but are not sure what it will show you or how to use it contact SAGE and we will try and arrange someone to help.

Some good news: the government has increased the insulation grants and will be introducing a new grant system for Heat Pumps later in the spring. If you have under-floor heating and are planning on changing your boiler a heat pump should be thoroughly investigated. They are more expensive but use one quarter of the energy of the best gas boiler.

Eco-tip.

Although each of us can do only a little, over the community these small amounts accumulate to significant savings.

Consider replacing you shower head with a water saving head. In our case we were using 15lit per minute and this reduced to 5.5lt per min, a saving of 9.5 lt per minute or 64%.

If we assume a five minute shower this will save 47.5lt of water and it will also save the heating of the water, some assumptions here but if the cold water tank is at 12degrees and we need a temperature of 40degrees the electricity saving will be about 24 cents per shower. With 4 people in the house taking five showers per week the saving will be nearly €5 per week which will pay for the new shower head in five weeks giving a saving of about €250 per year. Worth doing?  Purchase.ie, based in Kerry have the eco-showerheads. 

Don’t forget the most important thing is the bit you are doing to save the planet: about one ton of CO2. Over a year Shankill could save 3000 - 5000 tons of CO2 by this alone.

Note: If you use an instant heat shower it may not be compatible with the saver head.

SCAN Feb, 2017: The impacts of climate change on Shankill

According to Met Eireann, temperatures have risen overall in Ireland by 0.8 ˚C in the last century. The growing season is longer and frosts are less frequent. Climate change predictions for Ireland are for all seasons to be 1.0 ˚C to 1.5 ˚C warmer by 2050, there will be fewer cold spells and more heatwaves. Winters may be wetter and summers drier with an increased risk of drought. There may be a greater frequency of heavy rainfall events and hence flooding. Extreme events may increase in as we already seem to be seeing.

Shankill has a benign climate, tempered by the sea, and climate change impacts may be relatively modest and even positive. For example, garden plants will flower longer and we may need less heating in the winter. However, late frosts may destroy flowers on fruit trees and ecosystems may be disrupted leading, for example, to breeding failures among birds. Heavy rainfall may cause flooding locally, e.g. along the Loughlinstown River (although the County Council has put in effective mitigation measures), and storms may bring down more trees and damage infrastructure. The most important impact may be coastal erosion of the boulder clay cliffs, discussed elsewhere.

While we are an island nation, when it comes to climate change no nation is an island! Although Shankill, and Ireland in general, may escape the worst effects of climate change, we cannot ignore the impact it will have on other countries.