I live in a village with two bakeries, a brewery, a dairy co-op, flour mill, a butcher, soap maker, technology company and numerous other small businesses. I work at the Community, Enterprise and Social Centre.
We have a community farm out by the allotments. I pay a set price to the farm every week then I email an order. I can get fresh eggs, cheese, yogurt, butter and as many veg as I want, in season. I can collect my order whenever I need them from the farm or in their stall at the local shop but I usually get to the market in town each week. With so many people working from home, or on 4 day weeks like me, there’s a great buzz at the market every Friday.
The town is powered by the solar panels on all the roofs, hydro systems on the waterways, anaerobic digesters at each farm and the 3 small wind turbines behind the sports field. We’re generating so much energy now that the we can export it. The energy co-op is looking for 2 more engineers and a project manager to work on the expansion. My daughter hopes to get a job there when she’s a qualified engineer.
My youngest is an apprentice at the joinery making furniture and my eldest son works in the community bank. I hear all the news from the primary school as my eldest daughter teaches 3rd class. The children learn in a way that suits them best so this term maths is being taught through football. Age Action meet them at the community garden once a week to share skills and stories.
The repair cafe is usually hosted by the Men’s Shed and the whole community gathers with their fixer uppers for a cup of tea. We got my radio working last week and fixed 2 bicycles for the youth club. Just past the Mens Shed is the local bog which has become a recreational space where we spend time getting in touch with nature. The schools run outdoor classrooms on the bog which engages the children with the natural world. The Tidy Towns group host workshops about topics such as biodiversity, composting and rewilding.
This is my vision for my village and it is already happening in some places.
We all know that WE have to change to address the climate and biodiversity emergencies. Individuals, communities, business, government – EVERYONE. By working together, creating a vision that we can share we WILL change the world. I’ve put together lists of climate action groups all around Ireland on to my website climatecare.ie. You can get in touch with groups in your county and nationwide. There are also lots of resources to help get the conversation going in your community. We CAN do this – TOGETHER!
Theresa O’Donohoe August 2021