Jerome Connolly from this group sent ECI their update:
The Parish Environmental Group of Holy Family Parish, Kill of the Grange, Dunlaoghaire, was formed four years ago.
We meet monthly usually on a Wednesday for an hour and a half (no longer), in our parish resource centre to report on actions undertaken, agree new ones, exchange information and swap experiences.
Our activities include:
- A monthly litter clean-up of the church grounds and the roads and green areas within half a mile of the church.
- A regular nearly weekly insert on ecological topics in our parish newsletter; this helps to educate parishioners about Laudato Si and the Church’s concern with the environment, environmental and social justice and care for creation.
- Establishment of a wild flower area to one side of the church – we are discovering that this is not a straightforward matter, but we learning as we go.
- Preparation and display of environmental posters at irregular intervals at the entrances to the church.
- Reporting on our activities to each meeting of the Parish Pastoral Council.
- One information night with outside speakers on practical topics such as recycling, plastics etc. was held in 2018, follow up meetings are kept under consideration.
- Preparation of sample prayers on environmental themes, which are regularly included in the bidding prayers.
- Contact with our local deanery to encourage neighbouring parishes to set up their own environmental groups
- Our parish clergy and Parish Council have been very supportive, and environmental matters are included from time to time in homilies and bidding prayers.
- Arising from reflection on our monthly litter clean-up, roughly half of which we have found consists of single use drinks containers (cans, bottles and plastic and paper cups) we decided that more radical action was needed. We therefore prepared a briefing paper setting out the arguments for a national deposit refund scheme. Such schemes operate successfully in other countries and one is urgently needed in Ireland.
Under such a scheme, an addition charge would be imposed at source on all single use drinks containers (ranging in other countries from 10 cent to 22 cent). This can be redeemed if and only when the containers are recycled in designated recycling points, where a voucher is issued for each container recycled. Vouchers are redeemable e.g at supermarkets.
Where they exist such schemes have been very successful, raising the recycling rate to 85% -95%.
We have begun to lobby our local councillors and TDs about this and hope to become actively involved in DRS -Deposit Refund Alliance.
Given the urgency and crucial importance of climate and environmental issues to the care of creation, we realise that what we are doing is nowhere near enough, and so would appreciate more cooperation with interested church related groups, and suggestions as to what more we can do as a group.