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Sustainability at the National Residents Advisory Group

The National Residents Advisory Group (NRAG), coordinated by Mick Mooney, Clúid’s Community Development and Resident Engagement Coordinator, was set up in February of this year. The NRAG includes residents from around the country. Sustainability is one of the key areas that they identified as a priority for the group to focus on. The sustainability subgroup of NRAG was formed in August.

The subgroup has met monthly to discuss their thoughts, ideas and how they can be translated into projects. The group has started work on creating a biodiversity plan for communities to explore sustainability projects that they can support.

“To be honest, we didn’t know much about sustainability and biodiversity and we are still learning every time we meet up at our zoom meetings. It means a lot to us to learn and to be a part of it as our community will benefit from it. It’s great to know we will be a part of it and pass it on to people around us. We also love the fact that we have met great people along the way that want the same thing”, said Bernie & Mag, two Clúid Residents in Co. Wexford.

Susan Vickers, Clúid’s Energy and Environmental Manager coordinating this subgroup said, “We have also discussed plans to develop a peer to peer education programme centred around environmental themes and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals”.

The subgroup is currently focusing on a pilot biodiversity and wider sustainability plan for the community in Sleaty Park, Carlow. This work includes identifying stakeholders that can support the sustainability group in things such as delivering workshops. Some of the stakeholders identified so far include the Climate Action Regional Office (CARO), Development Perspectives and Trees for the Land.

Susan said,” There are four Climate Action Regional Offices, or CAROs in Ireland. They were set up to support local authorities in their work around driving climate change. These offices are seen as a way to centralise the work and efforts, so local authorities can have a more targetted approach.

“Development Perspectives is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which was set up to provide educational resources that help tackle the root causes of poverty, inequality and climate change. For example, they have a project called the SDG Challenge, which is about educating people on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

“Trees on the Land is a cross-border initiative working to establish young native trees across the 32 counties of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. They run an annual tree planting event where landowners and groups of helpers turn out to plant their trees on a selected Saturday in February”, she continued.

One resident of Sleaty Park, Ger said, “Sustainability and biodiversity are important to me because, I believe if I don’t give some thought to my everyday activities and lifestyle, particularly more sustainable practices, then our planet will be a far more difficult place to live for my 3 adult children, 4 grandchildren, and my greater community long after I’m gone.

“I intend to be a part of the forthcoming projects we have planned for our communal areas in our relatively new community such as wild flower gardens, composting, water butts, encouraging wildlife into our estate, vegetable gardens (if feasible). I hope that we can work on many other projects going forward and that our efforts can be an example not just to my children and grandchildren but to the residents of our scheme and the wider community”.

The Subgroup will continue to develop and deliver the peer to peer sustainable education programme next year and there will be a number of workshops and talks arranged for the sustainability subgroup throughout 2021. Well done to everyone involved!

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