9.7 Current debates and reforms
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The government is expected to publish a volunteering strategy for 2020-2025. However, the Working Draft of Volunteering Strategy 2020 – 2025 does not contain anything specifically related to Green Volunteering.
In recent years there have been an increasing number of discussions, debates and actions by young people surrounding environmental issues. This includes debates around the need and methods to reduce negative impacts on the environment (such as carbon emissions, food waste, etc.) and how to increase positive sustainable actions (such as rubbish collections, tree planting, etc.).
Young people are calling on the Irish government to make climate action a priority. As part of an international movement, thousands of Irish students took part in school climate strikes and marches on the 15th of March 2019. The demonstrations protested governments’ alleged inaction regarding climate change. In Ireland, the events were organized by Irish secondary schools. The main protests took place in Dublin and Cork, with smaller demonstrations in other counties. It received much media attention and public debate. The then Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD, met with student protesters in Dublin.
The Youth Manifesto on Climate Justice was created by the National Youth Council of Ireland’s Young People's Committee. The Manifesto was based on the findings from 2019's Climate Revolution Youth Summit, which included over 400 young people. The gathering and manifesto were created to give voice to young people’s ideas and concerns on Climate Change. Through the manifesto, young people call on the government to prioritize climate action and adapt a social justice lens to viewing climate action. The manifesto advocates for a socio-environmental transformation of the Irish economy.
The Youth Assembly on Climate (discussed in Chapter 9.3 Exchanges between young people and policymakers on global issues) have issued the following recommendations for action to stop climate breakdown:
- From your corner store to your supermarket, we call on the house to incentivize and obligate the installation of glass doors on open refrigerators
- For Ireland to ban the importation of fracked gas and invest solely in renewables
- Implementing measures that will allow that Irish goods be both eco- sustainable and affordable in todays' Irish Market
- Implement a tiered Tax on Emissions from large companies including those under capital ETS. This tax must be increased every year while threshold decreases, shifting the burden from individuals to corporations
- Investment in industrial hemp processing facilities to provide a viable, sustainable, and alternative land use for farmers as well as employment in rural Ireland
- A labelling and pricing system showing the climate impact of food products based on criteria such as impact of packaging and distance travelled
- Ireland to outlaw acts of ecocide – being the widespread and systematic loss of ecosystems, including climate and cultural damage
- Protect existing forests and make compulsory that at least 10% of all land owned for agricultural uses is dedicated to forestry
- A targeted nationwide Information campaign to educate the population about the climate crisis regarding the causes, the effects, and the solutions
- Mandatory "Sustainability" education from primary level to the workplace including a new compulsory Junior Cycle and optional Leaving Certificate subject.