Limerick to be national exemplar in fight against climate change for European Green Leaf Year 2020

European Green Leaf Year 2020

European Green Leaf Team: Pat Stephens, Simon Jennings, Sinead McDonnell Environment Awareness & Education Officer LCCC, Sharon O’Regan, Environmental Technician LCCC, Karen Burke, LCCC, Anne Goggin, Green Leaf Project Team lead at Limerick City and County Council and Laura Ryan, Head of Communications/Marketing with Limerick City and County Council pictured as Limerick launches its programme for European Green Leaf Year 2020. Picture: Don Moloney.

Limerick to be a national exemplar in the fight against climate change for European Green Leaf Year 2020

Limerick’s green credentials deepened today as it launched its European Green Leaf Year with the announcement of a programme of events to mark the European Commission designation.

Some 26 events and initiatives are so far scheduled for a packed programme in Limerick, which was awarded the designation along with Belgian city Mechelen in recognition of its commitment to better environmental outcomes.

Among the events set to be held across the year in Limerick will be the first-time hosting in Ireland of Ireland’s Buzzing: An international conference on pollinator conservation.

Being held in May at the Limerick Strand Hotel, Ennis Road, the conference will provide an opportunity to learn from international experts.

They will be talking about successful pollinator initiatives around the world and hear about key successes from the first phase of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan (2015-2020).

This week alone sees the programme kicked off with the launch of a ‘Let’s Think About Consumption’ exhibition at the Council Headquarters, Merchants Quay.

It challenges us to think about what we consume and brings us beyond the idea of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ to be more conscious consumers with a ‘prevention first’ approach.

Also, this week sees the promotion of a ‘Hush City App’ that maps the tranquil spaces to enjoy in and around Limerick City – spaces with a positive impact on our health and quality of life.

The app, which was developed by Dr Antonella Radicchi in Berlin, can be used to identify and share places to enjoy and relax in the city. It will also facilitate the protection of these valuable areas.

Next month sees the ‘Creating a Biodiversity Garden’ programme launched at the Council Headquarters, Merchant’s Quay.

Located in a small green space beside the Council Offices, the garden will be developed into a biodiversity garden. It aims to provide an example of what can be done in a small urban garden to invite nature in. 

In March, the theme for the 2020 St Patrick’s Day Parade will also be ‘Our Future is Green’, focusing on environmental issues.

European Green Leaf Year 2020

Environmental Activist Saoirse Exton pictured with Artwork from “Think About Consumption” Exhibition as Limerick launches its programme for European Green Leaf Year 2020. Pic: Don Moloney

A total of 12 cities from across Europe entered the competition, with Limerick one of three cities shortlisted, winning the award with Mechelen in Belgium. 

The award, which goes to towns and cities with between 20,000 and 100,000 inhabitants, was given as much for Limerick’s vision and commitment to a more sustainable future as it was for anything already achieved, along with the city’s ability to act as a green ambassador.

Limerick turned the heads of judges because of its ongoing commitment to monitor air quality and improve noise levels in the city.

It has transformed itself into Ireland’s first digital city by integrating several public services, creating smart neighbourhoods and energy districts.

It follows hot on Limerick becoming Ireland’s first ‘Lighthouse City’ in 2018, Limerick City became Ireland’s first Lighthouse City.

This is done under a Horizon 2020 – the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever – funded project called Positive City Exchange.

Limerick will invest over €6.5m to establish Ireland’s first energy block in the heart of the city.

Launching European Green Leaf Year, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Sheahan said that Limerick ticked all the boxes for the judges. 

 “We made a very strong case for the European Green Leaf Year.  We had a fantastic story to tell about a range of areas like our Climate Change and Energy Performance; sustainable urban mobility; nature, biodiversity and sustainable land use programmes; noise/air improvement initiatives; what we have done on waste and the circular economy and on water.

Limerick is synonymous with green in terms of our county colours but now we want to be synonymous with green in terms of what we are doing to tackle climate change. 

This is a priority for me as Mayor and for the city.  We are national leaders this year and we want to continue to be.”

Said Minister Patrick O’Donovan: “At a national level we have an ambitious Climate Action Plan which is basically about developing a sustainable pathway for Ireland to achieve its long-term vision for decarbonisation.

Everyone needs to play their part in this; government, the public, industry and, indeed, local authorities. Limerick City and County Council, I am happy to say, is delivering in that regard, as this designation shows.

I am looking forward to a really exciting programme of events that by year-end will have more and more of our green army here in Limerick on what’s going to be a winning team.”

Said Anne Goggin, Green Leaf Project Team lead at Limerick City and County Council: “The words ‘climate change’ is ringing in our ears. It is our crusade and with any battle, you need leaders to step forward. 

We are seeing them in people such as Greta Thunberg, back here we have Saoirse Exton. We also need leadership at government level and local government level and Limerick City and County Council is stepping up to the plate in this regard. 

We really want to make a difference with this designation and, indeed, the Lighthouse City suggests, Limerick City and County Council is giving the leadership that it should.”

About European Green Leaf Award

The European Green Leaf Award is a competition aimed at cities and towns across Europe with populations between 20,000 and 100,000. Each entrant in the competition was judged under 6 themes:

  1. Climate Change and Energy Performance
  2. Sustainable Urban Mobility
  3. Nature, biodiversity and sustainable land use
  4. Air Quality and Noise
  5. Waste and the circular economy
  6. Water

About the “Think About Consumption” Exhibition:  The Exhibition includes works from the following:

  • Catherine McCauley School, Ashbourne Avenue Artworks that illustrate the creative response of young people to single-use items and marine litter
  • Dance Academy, Limerick – “Dance for the Oceans” is a creative dance piece asking us to say no to single-use plastics today
  • Caoilfhinn Geary – “Balance in Nature”, Mixed Media. Climate change is a crisis we are all facing, and I wanted to create art that touched on its negative ecological and social impact.
  • Ingrid Hess’s ‘Consumption, Considering Resources and Waste’ – encourages the viewer to consider their relationship to consumption
  • Limerick College of Further Education’s Student Project Work about single-use cups and a series of posters
  • LIT Limerick School of Art and Design Graduate Jackie McGrath’s “Drowning in Plastic “is about climate change and the plastic pollution in our oceans and on our beaches. It challenges us to change our ways. Jackie collaborated with Limerick’s Fridays for the Future on this piece.

For more information about the European Green Leaf City, click here.

For more environment stories, click here.

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