December Eco Notes

December 2023


Yet again, another COP is in the news, this time COP28 (the 28th Conference of Parties, or UN Climate Change Conference) being held in Dubai. Thus far, a positive development has been the launching of a “loss and damage” fund for vulnerable countries, to which wealthier nations, including Ireland, will contribute. The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, highlighted the many benefits of reducing emissions, while acknowledging that the concerns of certain sectors need to be addressed and finance provided to change to a carbon neutral future. In his address, UK’s King Charles made a heartfelt plea that this COP MUST be a “critical turning point” in the fight against climate change, with “genuine transformational change”. He also made the sage observation that “The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth” – it would behove us all to echo those sentiments. The UN Secretary General António Guterres seeks the phasing out of ALL fossil fuels and has prevailed on the fossil fuel companies to transition to renewable energy, rather than extract more coal and oil, which in the long run will jeopardise the economic sustainability of those same companies. It is to be hoped that the “phasedown/out” of fossil fuels, contained in the first COP28 draft, will be agreed by all, as these contribute overwhelmingly to greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions. COP can seem far removed from our everyday lives, BUT we can (MUST) play our part. As Christmas approaches, we could all think before we buy – for example, how far has the proposed gift travelled? Is it made of plastic? Is it sustainable? Is it durable? Can it be reused or recycled? Is all the food in the trolley really going to be consumed? Would it be better to purchase one good quality item rather than many of poorer quality? Buying local where possible reduces air miles and aids the local economy.  

Eco Notes May 2023

May 2023

Government action not fines

Mary Donnelly heads the Irish Climate Change Advisory Council. It would make huge economic sense for the government to take on board some of her comments. To increase carbon uptake, Ireland needs to plant 8,000 hectares of woodland annually, but at present we are only achieving 2,000 ha/year. We urgently need to set specific targets on land use to indicate how we will reach net zero C emissions. Farming practices have always changed through time and this needs to continue, but farmers will need advice and substantial financial support to adopt sustainable farming practices. Emissions need to decrease across ALL sectors, yet in Ireland they are actually increasing. By 2030, it is estimated that Ireland will be paying a minimum of €8 billion on carbon credits to offset emissions, BUT carbon credits may not be available as so many other countries will be doing likewise. It would make much more sense to spend €8billion on reducing our emissions, instead of paying fines, and to transition to a low carbon lifestyle, not just on farms but in urban areas too. The challenge is for individuals, companies, industries and government to heed the advice of Mary Donnelly.

April Eco Notes

April 2023
IPCC Report
One of the best-known bible stories,
immortalised and popularised in the
musical “Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolour Dreamcoat”, is that of
Joseph interpreting the Egyptian
Pharaoh’s dreams. He foretold seven
years of plenty followed by seven
years of famine. Accordingly, he
organised the saving and storage of
grain from each of the good years.
When famine came, he rationed out
the grain to the Egyptians and they
survived, whereas people from other
nations starved. We could all learn a
valuable lesson from this biblical tale.
The International Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) has just issued its most
stark report yet. Global temperatures
are already 1.09⁰C higher than before
industrialisation took place.
Eco Tips
Once the increase reaches 1.5⁰C, more
catastrophic effects of climate change will
manifest themselves – untold human
suffering from increasingly violent storms,
sea level rise from melting ice, floods and,
conversely, drought and desertification
etc.; famines and food shortages will be
rife. Environmental damage and the loss
to biodiversity will escalate and become
irreversible. However, if we follow
Joseph’s example, but in a modern
context, we could avoid precipitating
such global disaster. The good news is
that IT IS POSSIBLE – e.g. by investing in
technological change and by voluntarily
reducing our consumption. We can ALL
play our part now by not buying products
we don’t need, reducing waste, excessive
travel, fuel from overheating homes and
businesses. Test yourselves and see how
much you can reduce consumption –
saves money too!

Walking and talking – Series of events focus on mental health and wellbeing

A series of events to encourage and support positive mental health will take place in the dioceses this spring. Organised by the Revd Garth Bunting, Rural Dean of St Mary and Canon Lesley Robinson, Rural Dean of Fingal, the events are part of the Church of Ireland’s MindMatters project.


Free talks, entitled ‘What is Mental Ill-Health? Signs, symptoms and what to do about them’, will take place in each Rural Deanery. The first, on Wednesday February 8 at 8pm, will take place in St John the Baptist Parish Centre, Seafield Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3. The second will be on Friday March 10 at 8pm in Castleknock Parish Centre, Castleknock Road, Dublin 15. The speaker will be Cariosa Walsh, ICP accredited individual and group therapist and the talks are aimed at resourcing those struggling with their own mental health or who are supporting others who are.


Walks of Wellbeing – gentle guided walks with a focus on friendship and mindfulness, will take place in three different locations in April and May. On Sunday April 2 the Revd David White will lead a walk in St Anne’s Park in Raheny (meet at the Red Stables) from 3pm to 5pm. On Sunday May 7 the Revd Ruth Noble will lead a walk in the Phoenix Park (meet at the Papal Cross) from 3pm to 5pm. On Saturday May 27 the Revd Brian O’Reilly will lead a walk in Glendalough (meet at St John’s Church, Laragh) from 11am to 4pm. Walkers in Glendalough are asked to bring water and a packed lunch.


Canon Lesley Robinson has encouraged people to come along and spread the word about the events. “The Mind Matters project is a great opportunity for us in the Church to reach out to those who may be struggling with their mental health, supporting others who are, or just conscious about the need to protect it. I was delighted when the Revd Garth Bunting approached me about organising some joint events in our Rural Deaneries and hope they will be of benefit to many people,” she commented.


The Revd Garth Bunting added: “I’m especially looking forward to the walks we have planned. The idea of combining exercise, promoting friendship and taking pauses to reflect and pray, seems to me to be like little pilgrimages or caminos right on our doorstep. And they help promote mental health.”


“I have benefitted personally from seeking out help with my mental health. About 15 years ago I went to see my GP about feeling down. I was diagnosed with depression. My GP set me on a journey to improve my mental health and psychotherapy has been at the core of that. Today, I manage my mental wellbeing in a much better way, and know quickly when I need to give it more attention,” he added.


For more information on any of these events contact 086-0386415/087-9091561.

Arklow Inch and Kilbride Mental Health Talks

Arklow, Inch and Kilbride Parishes are hosting a short series of talks, to help promote good mental health, to help us understand our own mental health better, and to help reduce the stigma of mental health. These are in association with the Church of Ireland MindMatters initiative, and funded through the generosity of the Benefact Trust.

The talks will take place in St. Saviour’s Hall, Arklow, beginning at 7.30pm

Wednesday 1st February

Mental Wellbeing for Young People

(a talk for adults – anyone with the care of young people)

Presented by Steve Grasham,

Youth Ministry Development Officer (Southern Region),

Church of Ireland Youth Department

Wednesday 8th February

“5 Ways to Wellbeing”

Presented by Mental Health Ireland

Due to a change of format, this talk no longer has a limited attendance,

so all are very welcome to come along.

Wednesday 22nd February

Mental Health and Faith

Presented by Lydia Monds, Ministry Leader,

The Church’s Ministry of Healing Ireland

Wednesday 1st March

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Presented by Sarah Lawlor, Mental Health Nurse

Everyone is very welcome to attend all of these talks.

For further information, please contact Brigid Barrett

Email: or phone 0402 32439

Eco Tips – February 2023

The Clothing Industry

There is currently much discussion about the climate impacts of the clothes industry. Fashion production accounts for up to 10% of worldwide carbon emissions and uses vast amounts of water. Up to 85% of all clothes end up in landfill. Washing synthetics releases micro plastics, many of which end up in the oceans. “Fast fashion” results in people buying cheap clothes and discarding them after very few wears. We can all reduce our impact by following some of the steps below:

1. Wear your clothes until they have worn out.

2. Buy fewer outfits of high quality rather than many of poor quality, which do not last.

3. Repair and/or upcycle clothes. Accessories (scarves, belts etc) can freshen up old outfits.

4. Don’t discard clothes that are hardly worn.

5. Wear clothes made of natural fibres. Nylon and polyester are made from petrochemicals and are non-biodegradable. Woollen jumpers are much warmer than synthetic ones.

6. Look after clothes well and they last longer. Wash at lower temperatures, use tumble dryers minimally, air drying is better for fabric and prolongs its life.

7. Buy clothes in charity or swap shops or vintage shops.

8. Donate clothes to needy people or charity shops rather than throwing them out. Clothes may also be sold on line.

Planned Giving

Please consider renewing or beginning your financial commitment to Killiskey Parish by way of Planned Giving. By doing this you can maximise the amount of money received by the Parish and greatly assist the Parish to meet its financial commitments. Planned Giving is making a pledge to donate an amount of money regularly over the course of the year whether weekly, monthly, quarterly or by a single donation. Under the tax regulations, the Parish, as a registered charity, can obtain a tax refund from the government for recorded donations from tax payers (PAYE and Self-Assessment) who contribute a minimum of €250 in the tax year. This is the equivalent of €4.81 per week. The parish can claim a further approx. 45% of the amount donated from the government. Cash donations on the plate, while very gratefully received, are not eligible for a tax refund. If you are contributing more than €250 over the course of the year through this method, you might like to consider Planned Giving.

Planned Giving can be done in any one of the following ways:

*The envelope system enables parishioners to donate regular cash amounts which can be recorded for tax refund purposes. Envelopes can be obtained from the churchwardens.

*By setting up a standing order with your bank for a minimum donation of €5 per week (or monthly or quarterly equivalent).

*A donation or donations totalling at least €250 can be made directly to the Parish Treasurer, Scott Golden, Malvern House, The Glebe, Wicklow Town.


COP 27 Conference of Parties has just concluded in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The good news is the creation of the Loss & Damage Fund, which will assist 77 less developed countries to pay both for the effects of climate change and for ways to adapt to it. The richer, more developed nations, who have produced most of the carbon emissions to date, will pay to this fund. However, there is an overwhelming sense of disappointment at the lack of progress in addressing the issue of reducing our carbon emissions: at present, far from decreasing, they are actually increasing.

Incredulously to some, the phasing out of fossil fuels and coal was excised from the final text. Developed nations’ failure to provide the previously promised $100,000 billion for developing nations to fight climate problems has led to less developed nations increasing their use of oil, gas and coal.

It IS possible to keep temperature increase to 1.5⁰ C above pre-industrial levels, but that will only happen if all countries take active steps to reduce emissions NOW. Individually, we can all play our part by examining our lifestyles and devising ways to reduce our own impacts.