Don’t Just March, Join.

I have been avoiding as much trump (refusing to capitalise) related material as possible, including those campaigns that are trying to galvanise opposition to the new presidency.  Sorry, I am just not ready.

But

THIS article by Micah White on where to go, what to do with the anger and protest is spot on.

Marching is not enough and will not change anything unless and until it is backed up with strategic campaigning.

That means:

Join a political party.  I say join the Green Party  because it is the only one which is explicitly not funded by corporations or any other large bodies (i.e. unions) and retains policy independence.  It remains the only party to really understand the ecological crisis – and that the environment includes taxation policy although others do give lip service and some are genuinely well-meaning.  If, for some reason, you don’t want that then any party that has a policy platform that is based on inclusion and equity would do.   Canvass, promote, fundraise, give backroom (admin etc) support or even run for election.   It’s time we got real about politics ‘they’ will continue to be ‘all the same’ until we, in all our diversity, get involved.

But if you don’t want to have to make the compromises necessary in the party political world then join a campaign group.  You won’t make the same amount of progress; compromises will still have to be made but you won’t have to take responsibility for them.

Talk about issues with ‘real people’ but have somewhere for them to go, a policy proposal, a green paper, a research document.

Be educated and be active.

Green Farmers

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Amy Nora Fitzgibbon’s article in the Farmer’s Journal covers the Green Party agriculture manifesto, copied below:

Among the range of agricultural policies in its manifesto for the 2016 general election, the Green Party has endorsed finishing young bull beef and veal production at home.
The Green Party launched its manifesto for the 2016 general election on Friday 12 February in Dublin. The manifesto devotes a page and a half to agriculture and almost a page to forestry in the document.

The party, led by Dublin Bay South candidate Eamon Ryan, says it recognises that agri-food is Ireland’s “largest indigenous industry” and the “main economic driver” in many rural areas.

One of the Green Party’s proposed policies for the sector is supporting methods of adding value to beef production, such as finishing young bull beef and veal production at home. The party says this policy can add value in the region of €300m and reduce live exports.

It also wants to support the “generally extensive, grass-based nature of cattle, sheep and goat production in Ireland” and ensure this nature of production is not compromised by the planned increase in production under the revised Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

It also wants to make it easier for young farmers to acquire land by “encouraging access schemes” for young farmers who do not have title to their own land.

Link to environmental impact

As would be expected of the Green Party’s manifesto, many of the agricultural policies are crafted with a view to their potential impact on the environment.

For example, the party wants to encourage farmers to move to “polycultural grazing systems which reduce carbon emissions and help pollinators”.

It also promises to promote organic farming to achieve a target of 5% of land in organic agriculture by 2021. Ireland currently farms 2% of land organically.

Forestry

On forestry, the party is also looking for a “massive increase in afforestation consisting of native and continuous cover woodlands to help offset carbon emissions”. Only 10% of land in Ireland is under forestry, which, according to the party, means Ireland has the second-lowest proportional percentage of forestry of any country in Europe.

Linking its policies on forestry to flooding, the party says it supports the planting of broadleaf forestry and willow for coppicing (cutting back a tree or shrub to ground level periodically to stimulate growth).

Still on flooding, the party also proposes to alter the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environmental Scheme (GLAS) to fund local projects to give revenue to farmers to future-proof their lands from degradation.

Comment

Commenting on the manifesto and its clear emphasis on tackling climate change, leader Eamon Ryan said any plan that does not have “climate as a foundation stone is a plan that is bound to fail”.

“It cannot do otherwise, as it will wilfully ignore the clear and signposted dangers ahead,” he said. “Any plan that relies on fossil fuels as the driver of an economy will see us falling behind, as the rest of the world switches to a cleaner renewable future. Any plan that thinks Ireland can set the course of our own destiny without an appreciation of global trends is fraught with risk.”

Ryan added that the party’s plan focuses on “what we can do best at home”, which includes agri-food alongside tourism, manufacturing and new digital services.

Feed In Tarrifs need to come back

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Ireland needs to go fossil free by 2050 and solar is going to play a vital role in making that happen.

The Green Party has outlined how a solar power revolution could help us end the use of fossil fuels in Ireland, and create up to 100,000 jobs.

Renewable electricity will run our cars and heat our homes as well as powering our industry. This transition will be a central part in the move to a 100% renewable power system that could provide an estimated 100,000 new jobs in our economy.

The cost of photovoltaic (PV) solar power is continuing to fall and the level of investment is continuing to rise across the world. The Green Party want to put PV solar panels on the roof of every public building, and will encourage households to do the same.

When Tipperary County Council installed PV solar panels on their buildings, they saved 11% on their electricity bills. A €326,850 investment will pay for itself in just 7 years. Combine this with a massive roll out of home retrofitting and we’ll have warmer homes, growth in local jobs, cheaper electricity bills, less electricity demand, and more community generated supply.  Anything Tipp can do, Kildare can do better!

Let’s put power back in the hands of the people of Kildare.