When we talk about Sustainable and Development Goals, we are talking about an international agreement about how we can manage to be more resilient to Climate Change, how to create a more peaceful society and more justice for people in the future. There are 17 goals and GEAI decided to focus on four of them:

  • 07. Affordable and clean energy
  • 11. Sustainable cities and communities
  • 13. Climate Action and
  • 15. Life on land

There are many ways to act, for example we can take action such as shopping in the circular economy (The circular economy is an economic model that is restorative and regenerative by design. It aims to keep materials and products in-use in the economy for as long as possible. The key objective is to design consumption and production systems to create and retain value). We can also take specific actions like going to demonstrations or taking part in campaigns to promote renewable energy. In our case, we are doing both.

7. Affordable and clean energy goal: Policy Statement & Energy uses

GEAI presented its wind turbine policy statement, where we said that “Wind energy is vital, and we fully agree with the creation of such farms. We must remember that there are three sustainability pillars: environmental, economic, and social. There will be no real transition to green models without a genuine inclusion of people and communities working together to solve identified problems.”[1]

An example of our routines is our energy uses, and how we are looking towards as much energy as we need. For example, our building is zoned, that means that each area of the building is controlled separately. We have four zones within the building. We have also installed 20 photovoltaic solar panels to generate electricity during the day. We use solar energy to generate electricity for our offices and excess electricity heats our water. We do not use any other energy resource to heat the water.

11. Sustainable cities and communities: Summer Camp & web site tips

One of our missions is work with the local community. For example, we undertake Climate Dialogues with local communities to create synergies for action to improve community welfare (GEAI)[2]. Another example is the Sunflower Summer Camp, which is undertaken done by GEAI in conjunction with Lorraine McHugh, The main goals of the camps were to demonstrate the use of mindfulness tools, to introduce children to local biodiversity and our recycling system plus have a really good fun time. 

We have energy saving tips on our website. There are four types of recommendations: space and water heating, electricity, lighting, and transport (GEAI)[3].

  • We recommend having some kind of heat control system on the buildings. Another tip is to have triple glazed windows, which save up to 35% on energy bills.
  • For electricity, we encourage people to use “eco” mode or “power saving” on their home appliances, for example washing machines.
  • Lights fall under the Energy Label directive so go for the highest class (A) when you are shopping for lights.
  • For the transport, the first tip is trying to use public transport, but as we know in rural areas can be pretty difficult.

13. Climate Action: Climate Action Days & volunteering project

Each year we undertake Climate Action Days. That programme is to raise awareness about climate change, and to encourage young people to plan and carry out innovative projects and campaign based on sustainability, such as energy, waste, food production, and other topics. This year’s course we went to Lough Allen College in Drumkeeran, where we spent two different days. In the first session was included ice breakers, presentation on climate change, a card game and brainstorming of sustainable actions.  The second day, the same class and GEAI team went to the Organic Centre in Rossinver.  The first part of the day included a tour of the grounds. The second half of the day was dedicated to a workshop on how to create a campaign.

An important GEAI activity is to bring young European volunteers to Ireland, and also, young Irish are sent to Europe to undertake volunteering projects. The aim of these projects is to tackle the Climate Change while giving the volunteers an opportunity to experience Irish culture. On these kind of projects young people can be the main character of the Climate Action.

15. Life on land: Biodiversity Project & Ballinaglera Clean-up Day

Now we are working on The Biodiversity Project. It consists of a survey and mapping of designated study area to better understand the local biodiversity and create more awareness of the richness of our local environment (GEAI, 2022)[4]. It will also motivate landowners to employ sustainable methodologies to improve their land, hedgerows and soil and encourage biodiversity.

Finally, on 29th June this year, our volunteers undertook a Clean-up on the road from Ballinaglera Community Hall to the village centre. The roads were cleaned with materials provided by the local authority, such as: sticks, gloves or bags.

We have explained our actions to tackle climate change. It’s important that everyone recognises within their routines actions they can introduce or change to improve their green footprint. What can you do next?

Written by: Daniela Gil Gamboa

[1] GEAI. (2022). Wind. Retrieved from GEAI Corporation Web site: https://www.goodenergiesalliance.ie/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Policy-Statement-Wind-turbines.pdf

[2] GEAI. (n.d.). leitirm Cróga Climate Dialogue. Retrieved from GEAI Web Site: https://www.goodenergiesalliance.ie/projects/leitrim-croga/leitrim-croga-climate-dialogue/

[3] GEAI. (n.d.). Join the energy saving revolution. Retrieved from GEAI Web Site: https://www.goodenergiesalliance.ie/key-topics/energy-efficiency/energy-efficiency-tips/

[4] GEAI. (2022). Ballinaglera Biodiversity Project. Retrieved from GEAI: https://www.goodenergiesalliance.ie/projects/ballinaglera-biodiversity-project/