A Quick Roundup of 2021
Robert Bourke

Spreading Our Wings

Having formed the Act Now Collective in the dark months of 2021, we had no idea how much the group would develop and how much we would achieve in our first year. 

After the launch of our website guide to low carbon living in May, we set about trying to gain as much exposure for the website as possible. Our ‘following’ on social media and via our newsletter has been increasing steadily, while we aim to provide useful guidance but not overload people with information!

We launched our first Eco Film Night in November and took part in several live and online events, encouraging people to further their transition towards a low carbon life. We invite you to read on for a quick overview of our most recent endeavours to inspire climate action through knowledge-sharing, creativity and collaboration.

Meeting the President

November was a busy month for the Collective and we were invited to present our work at five events – two live and three online. One of the highlights was meeting the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and his wife, Sabina, at an event entitled ‘Community Led Climate Action in Phibsborough and Dublin 7’. This event, organised by Seán McCabe of TASC, the think tank for action on social change, gathered community and environmental groups from all over Dublin 7. 

President Higgins gave an inspiring talk on the need for immediate climate action and the key role that communities must play in this challenge. Collective members, Rob and Rachel, presented our work to the president. We also made some great connections with other climate and community-focused groups in the Dublin 7 area.

Act Now in Spain

We are delighted to announce that our colleague, Ana, has set up an Act Now Collective in her home country of Spain and has also launched a Spanish version of the Act Now website. 

To help spread the word, Ana attended the BeVeggie vegan festival on 4th December in Irún, on the Spanish border with France. This was a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of diet for sustainability and how a diet mainly based on local whole plants can make a difference. The festival attracted more than 5,000 people and Ana talked not only about the importance of our diet for our first home which is a healthy body and mind, but also for our second home which is our planet. 

The final message of the day was that: “despite exercising, eating well, meditating etc. you can never be healthy unless the planet is healthy”. We can all make small changes today to create a positive impact for our future. Go to the What I Eat section of our website to learn more.

Eco Film Night

The first Eco Film Night run by Ecohun and Act Now Collective took place in ‘The Art of Eating’ in Dun Laoghaire, in November and was such a wonderful event. The theme of the evening was the Circular Economy and we watched the documentary Closing the Loop.

A big part of the Eco Film Night is to come together as a community, discuss the film, connect with each other and to write down an action that has been inspired by the film. So many great ideas were shared!

Here are some of the Circular Economy actions that were written on the board:

  • Buy second hand/ vintage where possible
  • Use Good On You – Sustainable and Ethical Fashion Brand Ratings to find sustainable clothing websites @goodonyou_app
  • Reread Bea Johnson’s zero waste book (The Book – Zero Waste Home)
  • Buy sustainable products such as sea net swimwear
  • Go back to using milk bottles
  • Think of how I can reuse tetra pak
  • Dispose of food waste more responsibly
  • Buy a swimsuit made from ocean plastic
  • Bring awareness to the shopping choices I make
  • Think ‘Do I need this?’ before I buy
  • Partner up with someone who can help you with eco actions

The Circular Economy is the opposite of our linear economy. It aims to keep materials, components, and products in-use in the economy for as long as possible. Resource extraction is responsible for half of the world’s carbon emissions. Extraction also causes 80% of biodiversity loss, according to a comprehensive UN study. The Circular Economy gives us the tools to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss together, while addressing important social needs.

Recent research by Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Material Economicsshows how designing out waste, keeping materials in use and regenerating farmland can significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In applying these principles in just five key sectors (steel, aluminium, cement, plastic, and food), annual GHG emissions could fall by 9.3 billion tonnes of CO2e in 2050. This is equivalent to eliminating all transport emissions globally. 

Here are some resources about the Circular Economy which might interest you:

  • Here’s how a ‘circular economy’ could save the world – nationalgeographic.com
  • 3 Ways to Transition Toward a Circular Economy | World Resources Institute – wri.org
  • CIRCULÉIRE – The National Platform for Circular Manufacturing in Ireland – circuleire.ie
  • Circular economy will help prevent climate damage and bring societal benefits – openaccessgovernment.org
  • Turning Food Waste into Energy to Power Homes – BiogasWorld
  • MOOC: Circular Economy: An Introduction (free online course) – TU Delft Online

If you missed the film night and would like to watch the Closing the Loop film please click here. The next film night will be held at the end of January 2022. We will keep you updated!

Talks in November

Finally, Act Now Collective co-founder, Rob, was invited to speak at three online events in November. 

A discussion entitled Action for Alternative Futures: Post COP26 was part of the Architecture at the Edge festival. Rob was joined by three distinguished speakers from the word of design and climate action. You can watch the talk here

At the Green Party Conference, Rob was invited to discuss ‘Grassroots Activism versus Political Action’ with architect and Green Party Councillor, Louise Heavin, moderated by MEP Ciarán Cuffe. 

We also got to present our work at a social entrepreneurs’ networking eventorganised by the Your Y Network, founded by Dublin-based Leyla Karaha. This was a great way to network with other inspiring groups from Florida to Uganda!

Seasons Greetings!

Thank you for your continuing support this year. We wish you a very relaxing and enjoyable Christmas break and look forward to sharing our news with you in the new year!

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