Youth must pave the way to ensure city adapts to new climate change measures says Lord Mayor

Winners recognised for Making Dublin Greener by Dublin Gazette

by Rachel Cunningham
0 comment

While the Christmas lights of Grafton Street were spreading festive cheer, Dawson Street was basking in a glow of green last Thursday, during the Dublin Gazette’s Making Dublin Greener prize giving. 

The Mayor of Dublin, Caroline Conroy, and Making Dublin Greener sponsors from Dublin’s Climate Action Regional Offices and Grown Forest, in addition to the winning schools, teachers and members of the local community, gathered in the Mansion House to hear the announcement of the winners of the second Making Dublin Greener competition. 

Still in its infancy, this event, which is also sponsored by the Department of Education, marked the first time that Making Dublin Greener heard from Dublin’s secondary schools. 

Dublin Gazette extends its congratulations to St. Raphaela’s Secondary School, Stillorgan, who were awarded the special merit prize and to Mercy College, Coolock, who took the title as the overall winners. 

St Raphaela’s Secondary School accepting the Special Merit Award from Lord Mayor Caroline Conroy at the Making Dublin Greener Awards held at the Mansion House.

This prizegiving is especially apposite in light of recently published Youth Climate Justice Survey results by ECO-UNESCO, which found that 97 per cent of young people are concerned about climate change. 

Sixty per cent of 1,000 young people in Ireland aged 16-25 years old have felt personally affected by climate change, according to the survey, which aimed to highlight how young people in Ireland feel about climate justice issues. 

The survey was conducted online through a collaboration between ECO-UNESCO and and its findings were presented at The Earth Gala last Friday night, December 2. 

Events like this and Making Dublin Greener amplify the voice of our local youth, highlighting their stake in the decisions we make today. 

With nearly half of survey respondents saying they felt no one listens to their concerns, it is apparent that we must do as the Dublin Gazette’s editor PJ Cunningham suggested at the ceremony and engage with today’s students also as our teachers if meaningful and urgent change is to come into effect to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis on Ireland’s capital. 

The Lord Mayor, Caroline Conroy, pointed out that today’s student were left an unkind legacy by those who have gone before. 

“ You have inherited a trail and tale of destruction from your forebears. Put simply, the past two generations before you have almost destroyed the planet on which they lived and which you now must put right in the coming decades of your own lifetime if the world is to have a future at all. Sorry about that, but we have left you some legacy, haven’t we? 

“However, I have great faith in the younger generation because you not only have desisted from burning coals, buying plastic products and polluting our air and waterways, but you have begun to right the wrongs of previous generations by highlighting such subjects as sustainability, natural energy and decreased air-travel,” she stressed. 

Making Dublin Greener Awards at The Mansion House.
Special guest Lord Mayor Cllr Caroline Conroy

She went on: “As Lord Mayor of this great city, it is my intention to use my term in office to make Dublin greener. One small but important part of that is to increase our denizen’s response in every and any way…whether it is in encouraging households to desist where possible from using fossil fuels to deciding on initiative such as walking instead of driving to work or school one day a week. 

“I know I am pushing an open door with you of school-going age so I am asking you to be the educators of your parents and those of the previous generation who need direction. 

“From today, let us all begin anew… if we do, then straight away we will have stepped up that response I spoke of earlier. ‘The longest journey begins with small steps’… tip-toe if you must, but please start taking those steps for mankind now,” she added. 

The coordinator of the Dublin Climate Action Regional Office (CARO) David Dodd said his office were delighted to be a co-funder of the ‘Making Dublin Greener’ primary school competition and awards earlier in the year and now awards for the secondary school sector across the Dublin regions. 

“When I was younger there was a phrase that ‘children should be seen and not heard’, but when it comes to climate change – children and young adults need to be both seen and heard. With the Fridays for future movement, School Climate strikes, the Green Schools programmes, Youth assemblies on biodiversity and climate – the voice of youth is more important now than ever. 

“It was heartening to see youth delegates from around the world at the recent COP27 climate conference in Egypt not afraid to challenge national leaders and government representatives on their ambition or in some cases – lack of ambition on climate action,” he emphasised. 

Mr Dodd added that a report last week from the ERSI (Economic and Social Research Institute) surveyed 500 young adults across the country and found that many were willing to support measures like car-free towns and cities, mandatory renewable energy, eating less meat and many other measures to reduce their carbon footprint but they see the government as having the responsibility to bring about change. To do so we must vote for leaders who will bring about such change, he added.

Featured Image: Pictured is Lord Mayor Caroline Conroy presenting Mercy College Coolock students with their award after taking out the top prize at the Making Dublin Greener Awards in the Mansion House

Pictures Alison O’Hanlon

Related Articles