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Dark Skies Event in the Ecovillage

On Saturday 4th November 2017 a FULL MOON story telling event was held by the ‘Dark Sky Group’ in the new Skybowl Garden in the Ecovillage. We would like to thank the performers on the night: Bee Leitner, Mel White, Andrew Lummis and Nigel Quinlan who ended the story telling with a rollicking tale. Many thanks to John Flannery, our guest Astronomer, who travelled from Dublin for the event and was a font of information, technical and legendary, on our skies.. as well as donating two lovely astronomy books to the Raffle.

Special kudos to the children and young people who also read their own stories or found legends to read.. your courage and inventiveness were much appreciated and ye well deserved your prizes!! Thanks too to all the willing helpers on the night!

We look forward to the next Dark Sky gathering – to be announced here soon!
Dark Sky Group

View a selection of pictures by Eoin Campbell below;

 

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Cloughjordan EF compared

Ecovillage has an ecological footprint of 2 global hectares

Cloughjordan Ecovillage has an ecological footprint of 2 global hectares (gHa), the lowest of any community recorded in Ireland. The results, based on the first complete survey of ecovillage residents carried out last April and May, were presented at a meeting on November 24th by Dr Vincent Carragher of the Tipperary Energy Agency (TEA). This compares very favourably with estimates of other urban settlements in Ireland and of international estimates of Irish people’s average ecological footprint. A survey of 79 Irish settlements found an ecological footprint (EF) of 4.3 gHa.

The measure estimates the amount of global hectares required to sustain the lifestyle patterns analysed. It has been estimated that 1.8 gHa is the limit that the planet can sustain for any individual. The ecological footprint is an international measure of pressure on the environment. It measures stresses on natural resources and on ecosystems due to people’s patterns of consumption and mobility. The survey completed by ecovillage residents covered energy, waste, transport, water and food.

Analysis of the data was undertaken by the TEA and the response rate of 94% of households was far higher than has been achieved by similar surveys in other communities. Dr Carragher showed how the ecovillage footprint compares with others in Ireland. Along with the average of 4.3 gHa for 79 settlements, a commuter community surveyed had an EF of 3.9 gHa. Ballina, Co. Tipperary, having introduced a four-year planned campaign to reduce its footprint, ended up with an EF of 2.9 gHa.

As a measure of our footprint on the ecosystem, the EF calculates the carbon intensity of our activities, in other words how much ’embodied energy’ there is in them. So, for example, the calculation of an EF based on car usage doesn’t only take into account the emissions from the use of the car but also from the building of the roads infrastructure required for car use, the manufacture of the car and its destruction or recycling when its useful life comes to an end.

Or, to take another example, calculating the EF of a heavy meat eater not only includes the emissions generated by the animals themselves but also the emissions from the growing of the grain that they are fed and that is often transported over long distances before it gets fed to them thereby embodying many carbon miles.

Obviously, the calculations can only be approximations but the development of the EF as a globally used measure has had to develop formulae for such calculations. Based on these, our ecological footprint is the sum of the carbon intensity of the various activities it is based upon – car transport, air travel, water usage, energy usage, waste and food.

The Living Planet Report estimated ecological footprints for every country in the world. Though using a methodology somewhat different from that used by TEA in Cloughjordan, the 2012 LPR report found the average Irish person has an EF of 6.2 gHa while the EU has an average of 4.7 gHa. The 2014 LPR estimated that Ireland has the 14th highest EF in the world.

The EF is also used to calculate how many planets would be needed to support our current patterns of consumption. The Living Planet Report estimates that humanity as a whole would need one and a half planets today and if we keep living as we do now, almost three planets by 2050. By contrast living as we do in the ecovillage requires 1.1 planets at the moment. This compares to the 2.3 planets that would be required for the 79 Irish settlements surveyed or the 3.4 planets that would be required on the basis of the Living Planet Report’s measure of the Irish footprint.

Though we may have the lowest EF recorded in Ireland and one very close to the 1.8 gHa that is the maximum each member of humanity has, the ecovillage is now challenged to reduce our EF to at least 1.8 gHa if not more. I plan in the New Year therefore to put a process in place that will allow us learn more fully the lessons of the 2014 survey (the areas where we are strong and those where we are weak and why) and put in place a plan systematically to reduce our EF.

Knowing our EF, therefore, is only the first step in a long process of moving towards a low-carbon society living within the boundaries of the planetary ecosystem. In this way, the ecovillage is modeling how the whole of society (both in Ireland and elsewhere) can move towards living sustainably for the decades ahead.

The following pie charts give a comparison between Cloughjordan’s EF and those of a range of other Irish towns and communities, taken from the existing literature. There is much to be learnt from examining them.Cloughjordan EF compared

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Pride of Place

Cloughjordan has won first prize in the Eco-Initiative category of the Price of Place competition, announced in Ennis on November 16th 2014. In their citation, the judges said: ‘The judges were expecting something special from this community and they were not disappointed. The judges were well aware of the Eco-Village project having visited it previously and always wondered how the new village and old village would work together. They were extremely impressed with what they saw and the positive impact both have on one another. They were particularly impressed with the involvement of the businesses in the area, the heritage, environmental and art communities, the appearance of the village and the sense of confidence and positivity in Cloughjordan, which must now be a watchword for best practice in an Eco community.’

 

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Cloughjordan’s Eco Neighbourhood Wins International Award in China



Cloughjordan’s Ecovillage, or ‘eco-neighbourhood’, won First Prize at the International Awards for Liveable Communities in China on the 1st December 2013.

The prestigious LivCom International Awards are devoted to championing and rewarding sustainable development, quality of life and environmental best practice in communities around the world.

LivCom Awards 2013  Project Awards Winners Cloughjordan Eco Village

After three intensive days evaluating more than 60 finalists from around 30 countries, the judges reported that the standards being achieved by communities around the world were higher than ever.

The Ecovillage was entered in the category ‘Socio-Economic Projects’, which saw them compete against 21 international projects. The Project Awards recognise innovative projects which demonstrate sustainability and environmental awareness, and have a positive impact on the local community and environment.

The Ecovillage was nominated by North Tipperary County Council to take part in this competition in recognition of their outstanding efforts in the IPB National ‘Pride of Place’ All Island Competition, which is organised by Co-operation Ireland in conjunction with Local Authorities across the country

A video on the eco-neighbourhood, which was made with Nicholas Ryan-Purcell was included in the presentation. This has been watched over 1500 times on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn-ZVZY4SHs