Biodiversity – by Moze Jacobs & Sekeeta Crowley
“Cork County Council plans to play a leading role in making the island of Ireland a place where pollinators can flourish,” the Council wrote in February. It should adopt the All Ireland Pollinator plan in full, obey the law, and stop cutting trees and hedgerows out of season. Plus, refrain from using environmentally damaging pesticides and herbicides! There are alternatives. Some may be labour-intensive but in an era of unemployment that is surmountable. Even two hours of research brings up relevant links such as https://www.pesticide-free-towns.info/towns-network. The Skibbereen garden centre, Deelish, stocks organic products that go a long way towards eradicating invasive species.
Awareness of biodiversity can be created through education (schools and agricultural colleges). The study of ecology/biodiversity should become compulsory in secondary schools and in agricultural courses. Also include biodiversity at the planning and development stages of ALL projects. Expand the knowledge base for the conservation and restoration of biodiversity by employing biologists and ecologists and/or funding university research. There is a wealth of knowledge in organisations like the Burrenbeo Trust and Farming for nature which can be accessed, implemented and expanded. Sustainable Skibbereen wants the Marsh to become a biodiversity park and improve the townscape in terms of tree cover, riparian corridors, and ecosystem restoration. It could use the Council’s support and help!
The Climate Change and Biodiversity Crisis, declared in Dáil Éireann in May 2019, is the most serious threat facing today’s world. Ireland needs to do its part and so does the County Cork. Councillor Marcia D’Alton put forward a motion on 08/04/2019, “That Cork County Council would become a partner to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan”. Among her arguments, “In climates like ours, about 78% of flowering plants require pollination. Without pollination, we could not grow fruits or vegetables. Consumers would have reduced food choices, fewer indigenous food choices and higher prices. … the annual value of pollinators for human food crops in Ireland is €53m; that’s about €2,400 per hectare. And the number of pollinator-dependent crops is growing.” The response was evasive. “Cork County Council is supportive in principle of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and would give favourable consideration to becoming a partner with a view to giving effect to same on a case-by-case basis, and in as far as is practicable” (Michael Lynch, Director of Planning). 17 county councils around the country have fully signed up. So have Cork, Dublin, Derry city council. What is stopping Cork County Council? The plan contains 30 pollinator-friendly actions to choose from. What is the excuse for non-implementation?
Looking at the County Cork Biodiversity Action Plan 2009-2014, we see a long list of actions that obviously haven’t happened (yet) but should be implemented. For starters.