February 2016: What is Sage and what do we want to achieve?

SAGE is an organisation committed to raising awareness of, and taking action on, climate change. It was set up by representatives of Rathmichael, St. Andrew’s Crinken and St. Anne’s parishes, in response to the papal encyclical “Laudito ‘si”. The group welcomes people of all beliefs, and none, and is happy to include people who live outside the Shankill area. SAGE was launched on 22nd October and 60 people attended.

We believe that each of us have a responsibility to reduce our negative impact on climate. We must think globally but act locally. While the Paris Agreement is a great achievement, each country will voluntarily set its own target for CO2 reductions. However, we can follow cities, towns and villages throughout the world that aim to be carbon neutral, such as Adelaide, which aim to be carbon neutral in less than 5 years.

We need to set ourselves achievable targets and not attempt to do too much, while we gain experience. Consequently we have decided on a number of short term projects:

·         energy audits of the parish churches and halls, local schools and local businesses, followed by investment to reduce energy use

·         invite a group of houses to jointly apply for a grant to improve their energy efficiency

·         lobby politicians

·         encourage political support for Shanganagh Communities allotments

·         support the Eco Community Initiative in planting trees in Shankill