Environment and Sustainability – project planning

Contributors: Elizabeth Creed (acting coordinator), Tara Shine, Madeline Murray, Andy Ashford, Piluca Garcia

A vibrant and resilient economy is based on societal well-being and can only exist in a healthy environment. A key learning from the survey carried out by ‘Inspired by Kinsale’ was the priority given by respondents to both, looking after our environment, and how we plan for our sustainable future.  We may not talk in ‘zero or low carbon’ terms, but 76% of the respondents believe that Kinsale should be at the forefront of climate action.

Echoing the Citizens’ Assembly recommendations to the houses of the Oireachtas in 2018 there is a recognition that we need to do things differently; and that our vison of a sustainable future must determine the actions we now take across all sectors. What we do, and how we do it over the next 12 years, is going to impact, more than any other time in history, the ‘place’ we leave for future generations. 

As a town we understand that this pillar of environment / sustainability isn’t an isolated pillar but needs to underpin our vision for Kinsale and all the projects been undertaken under the ‘Future of Kinsale’ banner.  We have identified four sectors not covered by the other pillars – food, waste, energy and biodiversity. We will look at these.  But firstly, we’ll acknowledge what we have been doing already so we can build on it:

  • Tidy Towns has worked for over 40 years to promote Biodiversity in the area. 
  • Kinsale College was the birthplace of the global Transition Movement; the Permaculture course is internationally recognised.
  • Transition Town Kinsale has been working towards our low carbon future since 2005 across many forums.
  • Plastic Free Kinsale created momentum in 2018 looking at how to reduce our use of single use plastics
  • Kinsale Environment Watch has been lobbying for many years in the Cork area.
  • Table 1 outlines activity already ongoing under the headings, food, waste, energy and biodiversity.

The first project we will undertake is awareness raising and education which will empower us to recognise and take the actions to create our sustainable future.

  • Food:  Where do we get our food from? Could more be sourced locally?
  • Energy: How could we be more energy efficient? Could we power our own town?
  • Waste: Where does our waste go now? How could we reduce our waste?
  • Biodiversity: What steps can we take to protect the biodiversity of the area?

Workshops will give us the opportunity to explore where Kinsale is now, and where it could be if we take action, or where it would be if we make no changes to how we live our lives.  Finally, to achieve success across the projects undertaken by ‘Future of Kinsale’ we have to:

  • Engage with each other, reach consensus as to what we want to achieve, acknowledge the risks and benefits while understanding that some of the work we undertake may bring with it some disruption temporarily! This initiative needs to earn what is described as its social licence.
  • Work with the decision makers within Cork County Council, and other state agencies, towards participatory engagement, and decision-making.

Activities ongoing, and some proposals, under the sectors; food, energy, waste and biodiversity.  We hope to build on these and we would love to see more people getting involved with their ideas and their energy to get things done. Apologises for any omissions (this is a working draft!)

Transition Town Kinsale and sustainability

Kinsale Community Orchard has been planted at the site of the Sports and Leisure Complex in conjunction with Saile Community Association and is now maintained in collaboration with Donal Chambers of Kinsale College. Fruit & Nut trees have also been planted in 3 residential areas in Kinsale and at the Allotment site at Ringrone.

Interest in developing Community Garden, like TTK had at Sean Hales Terrace in the past, possibly at this location.

Margaret Thuillier, Mary Minihane and Mary Heffernan have maintained the Edible Landscaping trail, with some helpers, over the last number of years. This is marked on Kinsale Maps.

Plans for 2019

  • Work with Tidy towns and Kinsale College to develop and link biodiversity areas
  • Continue to highlight invasive species to the relevant authorities so action can be taken
  • Sow & Grow Workshops
  • Develop Commoge Marsh area – build centre- connect with Saile

Kinsale Community Energy Project has been set up.

  • Funding application has been put in to prepare Energy Master Plan for the area by Donal Chambers and Elizabeth Creed.
  • Application under new Community Energy Grant Scheme under consideration
  • Public meeting being planned for Q1 2109
  • Phase 3 for KCEP is Community Energy Generation – phase 1 & 2 will enable capacity building and interest in the community for same

Waste Reduction Forum

5 events run through 2018 in collaboration with Plastic Free Kinsale and Tidy Towns.

Plans for 2019 include

  • Further Zero Waste Workshops (Margaret Thuillier, Olivia Ormston)
  • Composting workshop/ Community composter
  • Repair Café
  • Skill share
  • Work with Clubs etc in Kinsale following on from successful ‘Green’ Open at Kinsale Tennis Club