Thursday, 30 August 2012

Sept 4th - Green Drinks Enda Reilly's Songs

On Tuesday Sept 4th IWT Dublin Branch assembled in Messrs Maguire pub for its monthly Green Drinks to hear singer songwriter, Enda Reilly perform some of his educational, informative and very witty songs about the environment and climate change. Enda normally sings these songs in schools as part of his Climate Change Songs Workshop Initiative, which brings fun educational songs in English and as Gaeilge into schools. Everyone present was greatly entertained by a medley of songs suitable for all ages. 

Highlights included 'Chewing the cud' about a cow digesting his meal to make milk - and lots of methane! -, and 'The Polar Bear Song' about a poor polar bear losing his home as the ice melts.  Also good was the 'Oxygen song' about how 21% of our atmosphere is oxygen, and it might be a good idea to keep it that way! We all sang along to the chorus of 'inhale, exhale' with appropriate deep breaths and heard about Enda's unique idea for renewable energy - harnessing all the people peddling 'in gyms around the world!' 

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one night, Green Drinks Dublin and the Irish Wildlife Trust also launched their new Logo!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

19th August - Heritage Week Walk Carrick Gollaghan

Dublin Branch IWT Celebrates Heritage Week – 19th August

A group of Dublin branch members and non-members arrived at Carrick Gollaghan Hill to explore the built heritage and natural heritage of the area. Thankfully the weather held for us most of the afternoon and we just had a few light showers. We headed first for the tunnels and chimney of the Ballycorus Leadmines where we explored a short length of the now protected Ballycorus Leadmines complex. The main purpose of the tunnels and chimney was to convey the fumes up to high ground and be expelled into the air at higher altitudes away from the smelting works below in the valley.

From these structures, we meandered through the neighbouring Coillte forest, walked along a short length of the Dublin Mountains Way. We took a small detour before climbing up the mount of Carrick Gollaghan by walking along a forest path that appears on the old 1830s Ordnance Survey map. Doing what thousands had done before for maybe 200 years seemed fitting for the occasion.

A few mushrooms were looked at but none tried. It was too early for blackberries and too late for fraochan. With bottles of water and snack eaten we gently climbed to the 927 feet altitude. Various mountains of north Wicklow, and Dublin were pointed out. In the heather vegetation, swallows darted in and out. After a much needed rest, we made the descent and returned to the car park.

Scots Pines

Entrance to leadmine tunnel

Leadmine chimney

Lichen showing the air is clean now

Carrick Golloghan mount

7th August - Green Drinks - Fracking

This month Dublin Branch Green Drinks heard Ineke Scholte of talk about the controversial issue of fracking. At the moment exploratory licences have been granted to companies in Ireland north and south of the border to look at possible sites for fracking. This has generated local opposition from those opposed on environmental grounds, but proponents of fracking say that it will reduce our reliance on fuel imports and generate much needed local employment.

So what is fracking? Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing which involves pumping a mix of water, sand and chemical under huge pressure into gas bearing rocks. The first step in the process involves drilling a shaft to reach the shale layer, sometimes as deep as 2.5km. Small explosions are then set into the shale layer fracturing it. The water, sand and chemicals are then pumped in at high pressure to enlarge the cracks and release the gas. Supporters of fracking say that this can be done safely and has been done in many places before. Opponents of fracking say that it is an inherently risky process and can contaminate ground water and destabilise local geology, and that it has never been done in a country with a geology like Ireland's.

After Ineke's presentation, a lively and sometimes heated discussion followed between those in favour and those against fracking. The arguments for and against fracking involve very technical issues, and also the broader issue of whether fracking can act as a bridge to tide us over until renewable energies come on stream, or whether it is actually a distraction, helping to postpone action on renewables. The discussion ended without agreement except that people should inform themselves further on this very important issue.