Ireland Gathers to Tackle Climate Change

Ian Somerhalder Foundation

Last month Green Foundation Ireland (GFI) hosted the Climate Gathering, the first in a series of annual gatherings held in the west of Ireland, with the goal of creating a diverse network of political, business, scientific, and cultural leaders who will work together to address climate change. This first gathering took place at the Burren College of Art in Ireland, a liberal facility known for its encouragement of creativity and introspection. Among the goals addressed were:

  • What are the political, practical and cultural obstacles to climate action?
  • What tools are available to us to create new narratives and inspire change?

  • How do we go forward to create a network of leaders with real capacity to address these challenges?

The list of attendees was a diverse and impressive one. Each individual invited to the gathering was expected to enter on middle ground, keeping an open mind to all opinions expressed on how a solution could be made. Those in attendance included: Daniel Schrag, Director of Harvard Centre for the Environment and member of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Bob Inglis, former Republican member of the US House of Representatives and Executive director Energy and Enterprise Initiative, Andy Hoffman, Director of the Erb Institute and Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, as well as many more great minds from all over the world who united to learn from one another.

The Climate Gathering began as a project last year when GFI started working with a group of Irish experts in climate policy, mediation, and problem-solving to evaluate whether Ireland would be suitable for leaders to meet to address climate change. The project is funded by the Tony Ryan Trust, a philanthropic foundation set up as a legacy for the founder of Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline. Ultimately, the mission of Green Foundation Ireland “has a vision of hope and renewal, of sustainable prosperity, grounded in community living and embodied in practical action. We have a vision of cultural change that would make Ireland an international hub in the response to the climate change challenge in the 21st century." They also seek to "promote cultural change and political education in Ireland... to create vibrant and sustainable living communities." With the success of the recent Climate Gathering, it seems as if they are off to an excellent start.

But why now? According to Fatih Birol, the International Energy Agency's chief economist, during his address to the Reuters' Global Energy & Environment Summit, the door to slowing global warming is swiftly closing. IEA previously reported that “around 80 percent of total energy-related carbon emissions permissible by 2035 to limit warming were already accounted for by existing power plants, buildings and factories, leaving little room for more.” Therefore, such projects like Ireland’s Climate Gathering are looking for solutions to prop that global warming door wide open. And as we all know, once that door closes the damage to the planet is irreparable.


To learn more about the Climate Gathering, or Green Foundation of Ireland, we invite you to click on the links embedded in the post above.


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-Written by Heather M.