14 May 2023
By Elaine Murphy
What’s the story with Biodiversity? CECAS to host Biodiversity Q&A Event on May 25th 2023
In May 2019 the Dáil voted to declare a Biodiversity Emergency, making Ireland the first country in the world to do so. This year, in April, The Recommendations and Report of the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss was launched. This is the first such national citizens’ assembly anywhere in the world. It contained over 150 recommendations that have the potential to dramatically transform Ireland’s relationship with the natural environment.
On May 25th, at this unique event at CECAS, Leap, a Panel of local experts will share their thoughts in response to questions from the audience about the fate of the living world in West Cork. Many people are now asking more questions about how we live with nature and how we understand our dependency on the natural world. CECAS is inviting people in West Cork to come and ask those questions.
Can we stop the rot and begin to restore nature? Will we see more nature friendly farming & forestry in West Cork? What about our coastal wildlife and fisheries? Can each of us do more in our gardens? How do we support nature friendly businesses in West Cork? Does ‘rewilding’ have a role to play?
The CECAS Panel, Chaired by Mark Robins, a retired biodiversity specialist, will be Ann Haigh, a qualified veterinarian at UCD, who also has a Master’s degree in global wildlife health and conservation, David Rees, a wildlife and nature conservationist, who now works for the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as the Conservation Ranger for the Skibbereen area, Madeline McKeever, owner at Brown Envelope Seeds and a West Cork farmer ‘trying to live gently on the land’, Dolf D’hondt, who joined the Bantry Bay – Protect Our Native Kelp Forests campaign in May 2017 and since then has become involved in many different marine based organisations, such as Coastwatch, Streamscapes, Fair Seas and many more, and Nikki Keeling, an ecologist who has been working in all areas of woodland activities for the past 30 years.
Members of the audience will be invited to submit questions and we look forward to a robust and engaging debate on all these issues.
David Rees, in anticipation of the event, stated.
“Nature and biodiversity fascinate me. I love the challenge of identification, of knowing how ecosystems and habitats work and that through this we can understand why certain plants and animals exist in particular areas. I believe in the adage that we should leave the world in a better state.”
Ann Haigh added.
“We are losing and destroying naturally functioning ecosystems and we’re releasing more carbon than these ecosystems can sequester. If we want to ensure life on earth thrives for future generations, overconsumption and unsustainable harvesting of the planet’s resources can’t continue. We all need to take action and make space for nature and allow ecosystems to function in the way they are designed to do. I believe that biodiversity and nature based solutions are an integral part in the fight against climate change. Additionally, I had the privilege of growing up in West Cork and I am a mother of two young boys. I am sad to think that future generations may not get to enjoy the wonders of nature that I have been able to.”
Nikki Keeling, who works with the Green Economy Foundation, now based at CECAS, added.
“The biggest loss I see to our biodiversity is in loss of diverse grassland/meadows and the “reclamation” of wet grassland etc. I also see a lot of people working to make positive changes for more biodiversity.”
The event starts at 7.30pm and is at CECAS Myross Wood House Leap, Co. Cork. Booking is essential and details can be found on Eventbrite, or CECAS social media on facebook and twitter or on their website cecas.ie.