The Green Appeal Proposal by Áine O’Boyle


Dear Parish Council, 

 

I am writing to you with an environmental initiatives proposal for the upcoming year. 

 

I have been thrilled to see such proactive changes around Killybegs over the last coming months - more recycling, compostable materials, clean ups and in general, awareness of environmental issues. However I feel we have an opportunity to go a step further, to make Killybegs a gold standard for ‘Green’ towns across Ireland. 

 

As a fishing village, I feel we have an opportunity but also a responsibility to take care of our oceans. 

 

Unlike cities or overly urbanised areas, Killybegs has the luxury of both land and water. This makes our town an interesting area to explore possible programs and initiatives which not only reduce our impact on the planet but increases community wellbeing and, likability towards rural towns.

 

I’ve particularly loved the idea of a sustainable community garden, which could possibly double as a social garden helping to combat loneliness. This model has proven successful in nordic countries such as Sweden and Norway, and could lend itself quite successfully to a village like Killybegs.

 

As a business and creative strategist, I investigate routes to improve business operations and communications with effective, creative solutions. I truly believe that Killybegs has the potential to grow and garner more interest with younger-diverse groups of people if we choose to think outside the box and talk about ourselves as a community more interestingly. 

 

If you have any interest in furthering this (which I hope you do), please feel free to contact me at 0872403068 or via this email address. 

 

Kind Regards

 

Aine O’Boyle 

Business & Creative Strategist 

Havas Dublin 

 

Environmental Project; The Green Appeal

Proposal by Áine O’Boyle

For the attention of the Killybegs Parish Council

You have my permission to distribute this document to any other necessary parties.

 

Dear Council,

 

The purpose of this proposal is illustrate how making incremental changes to the town of Killybegs, will assist in making it a) more sustainable b) more affordable c) a gold standard green town. Driving News, PR and press coverage of initiatives undertaken.

 

Having spent the last year and a half researching the effects of climate change and global warming, combatted by an all too poor communications effort by the government. I feel it is time for small communities to bound together in an effort to not only save and support our small towns, but to create a sustainable, greener environment which can afford better, cleaner and more effective living. In this proposal you will see problems identified under the scope of 1. Functionality and 2. Communication, alongside potential measures and recommended strategies.

 

Functional Issues

 

Fundamentally, people want to help the environment in the small ways  that they can, but convenience is the issue at hand. As a council, it is up to those with the knowledge and authority to facilitate these behaviours, by providing the necessary support and services to the community.

     As an oceanic village who rely heavily on the Sea as part of our daily lives, Killybegs should be a shining example of a sustainable fishing village – with all business taking part in this way of life.

 

Waste Management

 

It's great to see so many restaurants using compostable and biodegradable cups, cutlery etc., but arguably, all these incentives are wasted if they go straight into a black bin on our shore roads or around the town. They get mixed with all other types of food and packaging, and become very difficult to sort (Panda provide significant details regarding this issue).

 

How do we change our approach to waste?

 

By developing better waste recycling models, such as this one in Spain

https://almunecarinfo.com/how-to-recycle-in-spain/). 

 

By introducing Reduce, Reuse, Recycle schemes which offer convenient and cost-reducing incentives, such as this program in Kamikatsu, Japan.

The small community have been working together to develop a ‘zero-waste ‘ program. They have an operating facility in which all recyclables are sorted and either reused, repurposed or sold onto large companies who can recycle harsher materials – making it environmentally friendly and also, profitable for the town You can read up on the small town here https://www.businessinsider.com/zero-waste-town-kamikatsu-japan-2017-7?r=US&IR=T .

 

 

Flooding

 

Killybegs is a coastal town , which means it is in the direct firing line of rising sea levels. Over the last 10 years, the Ice Caps (especially those located in Greenland and the Arctic) have melted away larger areas and more quickly, than that of the previous 100 years (http://globalfloodmap.org/Ireland).  Accumulating inches of additional seawater, and putting pressure on coastal towns and cities. Researchers have indicated that large chunks of Ireland will be underwater by as early as 2050 if measures are not taken.

 

What sort of measures could be taken?

 

As seen with Hurricane Katrina, sea walls cannot uphold against the force and will of mother nature. A Dutch trend however, has been emerging in other areas of the world as part of grandeur scheme to combat rising sea levels. Strategies include the introduction of Wetlands and Waterfront Parks which allow flooding to be mitigated or redirected to other areas, rather than fighting the sea. You can read about places such as the Netherlands, Norfolk, Boston and Virginia beach in the article below.

 

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/11/coastal-cities-consider-waterfront-parks-over-sea-walls-to-combat-flooding?utm_source=Facebook%20Videos&utm_medium=Facebook%20Videos&utm_campaign=Facebook%20Video%20Blogs

 

 

Communication Issues

 

There is a general lack of awareness regarding the services available to us in Ireland, either through funding or providing by the state, in which we can make subtle but powerful changes in our everyday lives. The changes are not only environmentally-savvy but economically savvy in the long-term as well.

 

Aging Populations

Rapidly aging populations are one of the greater issues that Irish communities face. ‘The Death of the Town’ is becoming more and more true as young people migrate to bigger cultural hubs like Dublin, Galway, Cork and even, further abroad.

Rural towns like Killybegs and Donegal, offer an easier, more slower, peaceful way of life that fundamentally cannot be achieved in these urban jungles. For many years it has been argued that  money, jobs and nightlife were what attracted younger people to cities. With modern technology however, this is changing. We must be able to attract younger residents to help stabilize aging communities. The grants available to use can make living in rural Ireland less task-full for the elderly and could be an interesting way of attracting these younger residents.

As a planner and researcher in an advertising agency, I’ve had access to some key statistics from around the world which could be useful when applied to rural areas like Killybegs in County Donegal.

 

For example,

 

·       67% of young people would accept a pay cut if it meant they could live in the countryside / small town, rather than a city. From a tourism point of view, Donegal is somewhere that with better messaging and development of Airbnb or B&B platforms could serve to accommodate a younger audience. 

 

·       76% of people believe that city governments should be required to provide green spaces in which residents can grow their own food. People are going back to the basics, they want to know what they are eating is good, fresh, local food which is being re-distributed into their locality. Partnerships with local producers around Donegal would be an ideal scenario in which this could work. Local youth groups could facilitate gardening, planting or herbi-culture training/workshops to younger residents to support these desires.

 

There are many more useful statistics which can be transformed into usable and relatable data for places in Rural Ireland on our website https://havas.ie/work/new-cities-new-lives/ - I am also happy to help in any analysis or use of this data.

 

Funding & Government Grants

 

The SEAI is currently providing Solar Energy Grants

https://www.seai.ie/grants/home-energy-grants/solar-electricity-grant/

http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/housing/housing_grants_and_schemes/Grants_for_solar_panels_and_battery_systems.html

 

2013, Stoke-on-trent, in an effort to regenerate its property market allowed first time buyers with social ties to stoke, to be offered derelict housing for 1 pound. Each buyer was then given an additional 30,000 pound to renovate the property, which was to be payed off before the buyer could leave the residence. In 2015, Liverpool launched a similar scheme - purchasing 120 empty, unloved, victorian homes. This is a smart scheme which challenges traditional housing-development cycles and creates a more affording housing market for first time buyer – here is an article which shows how people have transformed their places https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5347623/Families-bought-homes-1-transformation.html.

 

Above are some of the challenges facing rural towns in Ireland. The world is changing, we can either fight against it or adapt as it moves. The predictions are clear, Ireland will fade unless we challenge our traditional strategies and lifestyle conventions. Regardless of scarce funding,  there is a movement championed by younger demographics, a want to do better for our society, this is where local and regional county councils could make a powerful mark and stand

Thank you, Aine O’boyle 

  

 

 












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