IRELAND is still one of the countries best prepared to take action on the climate crisis, despite faltering beliefs expressed during this week’s turf fights.
Yale University’s Anthony Leiserowitz, where he leads the climate change communications program, said the row showed what climate activists already knew – that “change is tough.”
dr Leiserowitz said the value people place on turf as a fuel and as a tradition must be respected, but they also need to be shown that there is a better alternative.
He said households in developing countries faced similar challenges, where burning wood and animal dung indoors for cooking caused huge health problems.
“It creates this toxic cloud and it’s mostly women and children who inhale it. Everyone says it has to change and you can give people alternatives.
“And yet there are entire cultures built around these forms of cooking.
“As someone once said, giving someone in one of these communities a solar cooker is like asking an Italian to make risotto in the microwave.
“What I’m saying is that change is hard. But in the end, people need to experience the difference and understand that hopefully the new way is better, that the benefits outweigh the losses.”
dr Leiserowitz spoke before a public lecture in Dublin hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
He said peat would and should retain a place in rural traditions, much like fireplaces in the United States, where solid fuels were hardly ever burned.
“We still have chimneys. We still have wood. And we use it on a cold winter night when we want to gather the family around the fire and enjoy something special on an occasion.
“You don’t have to give up tradition. You make it special.”
dr Leiserowitz has worked with the EPA over the past year to develop a series of surveys and public communications campaigns to engage people in climate action.
He said polls in Ireland had shown that the public was among the best informed in the world about the problems and among the most receptive to action.
“That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of really important work to be done to further engage Irish people.
“But compared to my country, where a significant proportion of the population still believes that climate change is not real or man-made or, worse, a conspiracy by scientists or the UN, Ireland is stunning.
“It just seems like Ireland is prepared. It is poised to do something truly remarkable, which is to help innovate and even pioneer what a societal response to climate change can look like.”
He stressed that there were still difficulties ahead, particularly with regard to the necessary changes in diet and agriculture, but he said this would pose challenges for many countries, not just Ireland.
“This is going to be even harder than peat. Now let’s talk about what we like to eat.
“But the fact of the matter is that beef as it is currently produced has a large amount of methane. It is much more potent than carbon dioxide and that needs to change.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/turf-row-wont-derail-momentum-on-action-climate-expert-assures-41598070.html The row of lawns will not affect the action climate, the expert assures