Earth Day: 55 reasons to be hopeful for our future, by Michael D Higgins, Colm O’Regan, Ella McSweeney, Manchán Magan and many more . . .

Irish activists, environmentalists, thinkers and doers on what gives them hope for our future on planet Earth

Greta Thunberg is very clear about the nature of hope. “Hope is not passive. Hope is not blah blah blah. Hope is telling the truth. Hope is taking action. And hope always comes from the people.”

Ahead of Earth Day today, we asked 55 activists, environmentalists, thinkers and doers to tell us about the one action that gives them hope for the future of the planet. It could be something they were doing or witnessing in their own life or work, something small or a larger shift at societal level, something obvious or very hidden. We asked whether there had been a shift in reactions to their work, or if they were hearing louder conversations about the environment.

It might be something already happening, or a shift that they hope for in the future. It might be a pledge or promise to make to each other for our shared home. The action could be an idea or an approach, a sideways workaround on an intractable culture war, a lesson already learnt or one to be learned.

We were inspired and heartened by what this group of humans had to say. Happy Earth Day fellow earthlings.


Colm O’Regan

Comedian and author of Climate Worrier: A Hypocrite’s Guide to Saving the Planet.

Colm O'Regan montage for Earth Day feature

The one thing that gives me hope is that there are lot more people quietly giving a sh** and doing a bit to help. Away from the sponsored electric 4x4s and performative tree-planting, there are millions who do work for which they will never be thanked: ecologists, corncrake minders, freedom of information petitioners, experts in regulation, public transport drivers, people within insurance companies lobbying against insuring rigs, cyclists blockading private jets (being chased by police on bicycles), farmers making hedges and planting clover, people making ponds on their tiny lawns. The sheer number is growing. If we’re going down, it’s not without a fight.

Eoghan Daltun

Farmer, sculpture conservator and author of An Irish Atlantic Rainforest.

E Day 02 online Eoghan Daltun

The thing that gives me greatest hope, on an almost daily basis, is witnessing in my own patch of temperate rainforest here on the Beara Peninsula in west Cork the power of nature to resurge if we only cease the actions that constantly block it. Nothing beats seeing a wild native ecosystem – trees, flowers, ferns, birds, mammals – spontaneously return, where before there was only barren grass. All it takes is preventing overgrazing by livestock or artificially high numbers of deer.

Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin

Chair of the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss

E Day 03 Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain

Each of us can make a positive choice to act for the environment. Biodiversity can be restored by individuals taking actions in their own back gardens; the All Ireland Pollinator Plan is a great place to start. Local clean-up groups are a great way to get everyone involved in looking after our surroundings, and local authorities have lots of free resources available. I’m hopeful that the recommendations from the assembly are a catalyst for the conversations we need to have about our environment, and how we can be good ancestors for the generations coming after us.

Michael D Higgins

President of Ireland

E Day 04 online Michael D Higgins

We are in urgent need of recovery of those brightest moments of hope for the future of the planet which we share – those agreements reached in Paris and New York in 2015 on the Climate Change Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals – which mobilised our young people in such an inspirational way.

We are now halfway towards the 2030 target date for implementation of the sustainable development goals, and it is vital that countries across the world redouble their efforts. The recent agreement on the High Seas Treaty to protect our oceans is further evidence of the concerted multilateral action which we need to save our planet.

Manchán Magan

Writer and broadcaster

E Day 52 online Manchan Magan

The slow dawning of awareness of the depths of knowledge and insight held by indigenous people around the world about how to live sustainably upon the earth in a fruitful and harmonious way gives me hope for the future. After centuries of slaughter and abuse by colonising forces, there is a belated awareness of the wisdom within the matriarchal tribes of China, the First Nations people of Canada, the Aboriginal tribes of Australia, and Ireland’s mincéirí.

Mamobo Ogoro

Founder of Gorm Media

E Day 06 online Mamobo Ogoro

One action that gives me hope for the future is “compassion”. It is quite simple but can be so impactful. I like to think of compassion as empathy plus action. When we have compassion for people and the planet, we not only feel for the cause, but take actionable steps to create positive change for each other. It does not have to be a massive protest, or a big movement; compassion can be as little as having a healthy conversation, or making different buying decisions. I believe that you can’t make an ocean without individual drops of water, so if every one of us had a bit more compassion for people and the planet, the world would be such a more pleasant and unified place.

Anja Murray

Ecologist, broadcaster and author of Wild Embrace

E Day 51 online Anja Murray

Many small acts for biodiversity offer false hope, such as when tiny corners of a local park are planted with “wildflowers” when the rest is bereft of native trees and tightly mowed, for example. But people are becoming wise to this, and one of the key movements that really gives me hope in recent years is when conservation scientists and communities join forces to implement real change. Rivers Trusts are a prime example, as are community wetland trusts and citizen science projects.

Flossie Donnelly

Founder of Flossie and the Beach Cleaners

E Dayb 07 online Flossie Donnelly

To save our planet, we have to take action to protect a number of things including the sea. The sea stores 20 times more carbon than all land plants and soil combined. It’s also home to at least 236,878 marine species, some of which have been around a lot longer than us. My favourite way to protect the sea is by beach cleaning because it’s relaxing and I know it’s making a huge difference.

Jess Murphy

Chef and owner of Kai restaurant in Galway, and supporter of the UN refugee agency

E Day 08 online Jess Murphy

We need to welcome people whose lives have been turned upside down by conflict and climate change. Often, making people welcome happens in small ways like saying hello in shops or inviting them to local sports and community events. Some of the people who took part in the United Nation of Cookies book that Eoin Cluskey and I put together came from countries on the frontline of the climate crisis.

Oisin Coghlan

Chief executive of Friends of the Earth

E Day 47 online Oisin Coghlan

As we move from talk of laws and targets to implementation and delivery, we need people to “act local”. Standing up for climate action locally means speaking up for more road space for cycling and walking, pushing councils to help retrofit whole streets and estates. Why not start by having a “cuppa for climate”. Invite a group of family, friends or neighbours together to talk about the climate crisis and explore positive actions for change in a friendly and informal way.

Eamon Ryan

Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport

E day 09 online Eamon Ryan

This Earth Day, I’m looking forward to the rapid roll-out of solar power across the country, to balance the wind power potential we have already harnessed onshore and will build on with our offshore wind programme. We’ve set a target of 5GW of solar power by 2025, which includes our solar schools programme. Just one gigawatt is enough to power 750,000 homes, giving us clean, home-grown energy independence and moving us away from dirty and damaging fossil fuels.

Earth Day 2023 feature for Magazine. Illustration by Anne O'Hara

Duncan Stewart

Architect and environmentalist

E day 10 online Duncan Stewart

Our greenhouse gas emissions are 50 per cent above the European average. All political parties must agree to put a price on carbon which will rise every year until our emissions are sufficiently reduced to meet our targets by 2030. The only way we can stop our addiction to fossil fuels is by making them too expensive to use. The money raised from carbon taxes must be ring-fenced for climate solutions.

Ella McSweeney


E day 11 online Ella McSweeney

Farming is the key to restoring nature, reversing water pollution and sucking carbon out of our air. A radical public procurement strategy for food – where the immense buying power of the government is directed towards ecologically-friendly farming methods and local production – is one way to have a significant impact. From hospitals, schools and nursing homes to canteens and prisons, procurement can also support healthier diets and promote connections between farmers and the Irish public. Denmark has done it; Ireland should follow.

Dr Cara Augustenborg

Assistant professor in environmental policy at UCD and member of Ireland’s Climate Change Advisory Council

E Day 12 online Cara Augustenborg

Most people my age and older, including myself, did not get much environmental education in school, so it’s taken significant effort to educate the public in how dependent we are on our environment and natural resources and how we have been relying on those resources in an unsustainable way. When I hear adults talking to each other about biodiversity or climate change as part of their normal conversations, I feel hopeful that people are finally beginning to understand this crucial issue.

Anthony Freeman O’Brien

Operations manager, Bee8

E day 13 online Anthony Freeman O_Brien

I have a lot of hope for the future, especially when it comes to urban spaces, since I’ve started expanding my knowledge and seeing the impact in the community around me. This year a lot of people are going to plant a window box for the first time. Three flowers will feed a wild bee’s larvae for the summer. These are small things people can do to support their environment and their own mental health. The insect activity is something you begin to notice. It’s like bird watching.

Yvonne Buckley

Professor of zoology at Trinity College Dublin

E day 14 online Prof Yvonne Buckley

The one action that gives me hope for our future on this planet is large-scale habitat rehabilitation, restoration and rewilding. By restoring natural processes in wetlands, woodlands, grasslands and salt marshes, more space is provided for biodiversity and the ability of nature to store and sequester carbon is enhanced. There are public bodies, semi-State companies, NGOs, private businesses and individual people all working towards habitat restoration, taking important actions for nature and the climate.

Hans Zomer

Chief executive Global Action Plan

E day 15 Hans Zomer

Talking. Although we love talking about the weather, we are surprisingly quiet about climate change and how it affects us. We’re not sharing our worries, we’re not voicing our fears, and we’re not even bragging about the many small things we are already doing to reduce our impact on the climate. As long as we don’t talk about climate change, we are fuelling the false impression that it doesn’t concern us. Opening our mouths is the first climate-smart action we all can take!

Prof Jim McAdam

Director of the Irish Agroforestry Forum

E day 16 online Jim McAdam

All my life I have been passionate about the role trees can play in our lives and our future on this planet. My career was researching how to introduce trees to farms – I was largely beating my head against a wall. To my great satisfaction, agroforestry – integrating trees into profitable farms – now offers a real option. It is great to be working with a group of people utterly committed to this objective.

Cliona Kimber

Chair of Comhshaol, The Climate Bar Association

E day 17 online Cliona Kimber

All the ordinary people I meet and all the small things they do, every dandelion we let grow in our gardens, every time someone speaks up for a local otter, every journey by bus or bike or legs.

Elaine Harrington

Artist and researcher

E day 18 online Elaine Harrington

Growing more of our own food. It’s not about being totally self-sufficient but growing more, even just salads and vegetables, connects us to the earth and season, to the soil itself and the living organisms within it. It’s about connecting with neighbours, community groups and local producers so we are part of the conversation about our food. Growing our own, sharing what we grow, seed-saving, they’re small acts of preservation, of hope for the future.

Orla Farrell

Project leader of Easy Treesie

E day 19 online Orla Farrell

We are planting one million native trees with Ireland’s one million schoolchildren and their communities. Inspired by our Easy Treesie project with Crann – Trees for Ireland, can you plant some trees in your own garden, on your farm or have someone like us plant trees on your behalf? Putting back a trillion trees during this UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration can reduce the planetary temperature by one degree Celsius, buying us 17 years to adopt lasting decarbonising solutions.

Brendan Dunford

Manager, Burren Programme

E day 20 online Brendan Dunford

There is a beautiful project by the Burrenbeo Trust called The Hare’s Corner whereby, with advice and support, landowners create a pond, heritage orchard or native woodland on their land – their “gift” to nature and, ultimately, to themselves. T

he enthusiasm with which people have engaged in creating their “hare’s corner”, and the sense of fulfilment generated, offer hope – that people want to do the right thing, and all they need is a little nudge to set them on their way.

Peadar Kirby

Educator, activist, author and resident of the Cloughjordan ecovillage, Co Tipperary

E day 20 online Peadar Kirby

What gives me hope is knowing that the latest scientific discoveries, the outpouring of books and films on our fragile planet and species, and the socialisation of the young into radical action all mark a sea change in human consciousness which is gradually replacing the values and structures that emerged with colonialism and capitalism to shape today’s world. The challenge of this century is to reshape the world in the light of this emerging consciousness.

Bernie Connolly

Cork Environmental Forum

E day 22 online Bernie Connolly

We have to consider that less is more when managing green spaces for biodiversity. That means less cutting (join the No Mow May campaign or use an Austrian scythe instead of a mower), less planting (let the wildflowers come up), less buying (save your own seeds) and less tidying up. We should have Wild Towns competitions instead of Tidy Towns competitions. We need to become towns and cities in nature and have hedges instead of walls so other species can live in our midst.

Kirstie McAdoo

Director of education and research at Airfield Estate, Dublin

E Day 54 Kirstie_McAdoo

Some experts suggest that we have only 60 harvests left before soil becomes too degraded to produce nutrient-dense food. For too long we have been looking above ground for environmental solutions, but we need to look below the ground to ensure our food will be nutritious, sustainable and climate-resilient.

In May, an exhibition on soil opens at Airfield which will explore the importance of soil, its role in biodiversity and how we can help to protect and improve it.

Earth Day 2023 feature for Magazine. Illustration by Anne O'Hara

Dr Derek Cawley

Member of Doctors for the Environment

E day 23 online Dr Derek Cawley

The HSE is one of the biggest employers in Ireland and it is our responsibility to create a more sustainable working environment in Irish hospitals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is a huge amount of waste generated in hospitals through the use of disposable tools and equipment. If healthcare staff called for replacements of these single use items with higher quality reusable equipment, that would reduce emissions from the production and disposal of plastic in our environment.

Marie Donnelly

Chairperson of the Climate Change Advisory Council

E day 24 online Marie Donnelly

I would like people to become active electricity consumers to allow the democratisation of electricity in a decarbonised world. Electricity will become our energy vector instead of gas and oil. I would like the Government to give further incentives for the installation of solar panels on homes, hospitals, schools and factories so people can produce electricity for themselves and their communities. In Flanders, for example, over one million prosumers produce their own eco-power and sell it to the grid.

Pádraic Fogarty

Author and Irish Wildlife Trust campaigns officer

E day 25 online PADRAIC FOGARTY

In Ireland there is virtually nowhere for nature to go; practically all of our land and sea is devoted to uses that are primarily for economic exploitation. Rewilding would address this by devoting large expanses of land and sea which are principally for the recovery of nature. Rewilding is the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to address the climate and biodiversity crisis.

Aoibheann O’Brien

Co-founder of Food Cloud

E day 26 online Aoibheann O_Brien

Food waste is often not taken as seriously as recycling and many people don’t realise that about 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from food waste. Often we are disconnected from where our food comes from and therefore don’t value it fully. So, the key is to consume the food you buy – plan ahead and only buy what you need, store food correctly and be creative with leftovers.

Pat Barry

Chief executive of the Irish Green Building Council

E day 27 online Pat Barry

Planning everything around the car over the last 60 years created urban sprawl, wasted money and resources and destroyed biodiversity. By radically reducing the space given over to cars in our towns and cities, we could free up enough space to build most of the homes we need at less cost, on existing serviced land. Good dense urban design integrating biodiversity and walking/cycling infrastructure is more energy efficient and reduces carbon emissions from industry, transport and buildings while creating healthier communities with cleaner air.

Chris Uys

Abbeyleix Bog Project

We need to realise that we are part of the environment and that protecting it gives us a great connection, sense of belonging and fulfilment.

We can learn from the Bishnoi Community in the Rajasthan state of India. The devotees of this Hindi sect, who live in harmony with nature, are the original tree-huggers. They inspired the modern-day Chipko movement, one of the strongest forest conservation movements in India.

Dr Sean Owens

GP and pharmacist interested in lifestyle medicine and planetary health

E day 28 online Sean Owens

By far, the biggest carbon footprint in general practice comes from prescription medication. Studies have shown that spending time in nature reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improves the gut microbiome, so why not prescribe nature as well? I would like if all GPs had access to a social prescriber to give patients access to the myriad health benefits from hiking, countryside walks, allotments, community gardens and more.

Dr Elaine McGoff

Natural environment officer with An Taisce

E Day 56 Elaine McGoff

Rivers are the ultimate truth tellers – whatever happens in the landscape eventually shows up in rivers. Over half of Irish rivers and lakes and two-thirds of our estuaries are polluted. We need to manage them holistically, in terms of what’s coming off the land into each river system. How much forestry and agriculture can one waterway support? We have to impose limits on certain activities, particularly in already polluted or sensitive areas. Otherwise, our rivers and lakes will remain polluted.

Klaus Laitenberger

Horticulturist and inspector for the Organic Trust

E day 29 Klaus Laitenberger

It’s not sustainable that Ireland imports almost 70 per cent our fruit and vegetables when we could produce enough vegetables for 20 million people using only one 20th of our land area.

We could start with Jerusalem artichokes, which grow in all soils and don’t succumb to blight or other diseases.

They also sequester more carbon dioxide than sitka spruces. And they contain lots of inulin, a scarce resistant fibre and prebiotic widely used in food processing.

Dr Tara Shine

Environmental scientist, author and co-founder of sustainability business Change by Degrees

E day 30 online Dr Tara Shine

Engaging people with what we can do to solve the climate, nature and inequality crises gives me hope. People are the solution – not technology and science, which are the tools people need to make better decisions. I am passionate about educating, motivating and inspiring people to transform their lives, jobs and businesses. That is what we do every day in Change by Degrees.

Joseph Little

Head of Construction and Building Performance at the School of Architecture at Technological University of Dublin

E Day 31 online Joseph Little

My proposed action is: when in a very large hole, stop digging. Look around, find common cause, build relationships and together start climbing upwards. To quote Greta Thunberg from the Youth4Climate summit in Milan in 2021: “We can no longer let the people in power decide what is politically possible. We can no longer let the people in power decide what hope is. Hope is not passive. Hope is not blah, blah, blah. Hope is telling the truth. Hope is taking action. And hope always comes from the people.”

Laura Burke

Director general of the Environmental Protection Agency

E Day 55 online Laura Burke

There is now a high level of understanding about climate change and support for climate action right across Ireland. Nine in 10 adults in rural and urban areas believe we have a responsibility to act on climate change, and almost eight in 10 believe acting on climate change will improve our quality of life. That gives me hope.

Diarmuid Torney

Codirector of the Centre for Climate and Society at Dublin City University

E Day 32 online Dr Diarmuid Torney

Getting governments to deliver on the high-level targets they have pledged is essential for planetary health. We have strong laws and targets, but we need to do better at following through. Our public service needs to be better equipped and resourced to tackle the climate challenge. Our politicians need to be able to see beyond the next election. In Wales, a Commissioner for Future Generations represents the interests of those not yet born. We would do well to consider something similar in Ireland.

Mindy O’Brien

Co-ordinator, Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment

E Day 49 online Mindy O'Brien

My hope for the future is seeing the narrative shift away from unbridled capitalism towards “sufficiency” and “wellbeing”, where our happiness is not based on material things. Reducing consumption and embracing a zero-waste ethos recognises that we must live within planetary boundaries and value Earth’s limited resources. We are starting to move on from the “take, make and dispose” economies towards a more circular model to ensure that future generations have the resources in place to live happily.

Hannah E Daly

Professor in sustainable energy at UCC

E Day 33 online Hannah E. Daly

Activists such as Greta Thunberg and the climate movement give me hope for the future of humanity on this planet. Non-violent but disruptive collective action has been one of the main forces for positive change throughout history: progress and freedoms, from LGBTQ+ rights to women’s suffrage, were won by protests, activism, and legal challenges. Now, the climate movement is gaining momentum all over the world and is tipping the world on a more sustainable path through action on the streets, in the courts, and in politics.

Catherine Joseph

Green Party local representative, Longford

E Day 34 online Catherine Joseph

I spoke in a school this morning about climate change. Young people are really interested in doing things differently.

I talk to them about things like composting, turning food waste into good soil or reusing old clothes. Opening their eyes to really practical things is my own style of motivating them.

We have a group called Longford Green Earth with lots of older members and they’re all so eager to do their part. I have people calling me, offering to help. There’s been such a positive response.

Suzie Cahn

Permaculture designer and director of Carraig Dulra teaching farm

E Day 35 online Suzie Cahn

It’s hard for me to focus on one thing because that’s not how I think. But if there’s a direction of travel that gives me hope it’s one of anti-fragmentation. The thing I’m seeing increasingly is the breaking down of barriers. The collaboration and synergy of the citizen assemblies, of arts and ecology. These interconnections are the most engaging for young people. They bring fresh perspectives. It’s not new knowledge. We already have everything we need to heal our relationship with the earth.

Claire Downey

Research and policy director of The Rediscovery Centre

E Day 36 online Claire Downey

There has been a sea change in policy and funding for the circular economy at European and national levels in the last five years, with plans to introduce ambitious targets that will help to foster a culture of reuse in our everyday lives. Essential policy building blocks such as these should help to make it easier and more affordable for businesses and citizens to avoid waste, to reuse and to repair.

Deborah Blankson Oniah

Secretary of Saoirse Ethnic Hands on Deck, a social enterprise formed by women living in direct provision

E Day 37 online Deborah Blankson Oniah

For me, hope is the belief that life will be better, that change is possible and good can come out of whatever situation you are in right now. Hope is also using my imagination. When people ask me, “How are you still smiling?” it’s because while my body is in my current situation, my mind is imagining a better one. Hope is also embracing myself with a lot of compassion. I too deserve to feel ease, to feel peace.

Craig Benton, aka Dr Compost

Environmental consultant

E Day 38 online Craig Benton

Regenerative agriculture. To really get an idea of its potential to help us solve the climate crisis, the Netflix documentary Kiss the Ground will give you hope and inspiration. The answer to our problems from many angles, including food insecurity, global warming, biodiversity loss and growing economic inequities, is right in front of our noses. How we grow, produce and consume food really does make a difference.

Stuart Davis

Regenerative farmer, Fairfield Farmacy, Dublin

Hope? Ah yeah. Flows out of me in abundance. An inside job. Never dimmed, untameable. Hope that we can turn things around. Make this planet that we borrow from the next generation fit for them. Not a big ask. Foundational to this? Production of nutrient-dense food. Moving from a state-subsidised nutrient deficiency programme to a nutrient dense food system. Regenerative agriculture, chemical free. A microbiome that hums at a high vibration. That kinda hope, ‘tis strong inside me.

James McConville, Kevin Loftus and Tom Lyndsay

Founders of Accelerating Change Together (ACT)

E  Day 48 online James McConville, Kevin Loftus and Tom Lyndsay

The action of setting up a sustainable enterprise and seeing it flourish. Two years ago, we started the type of architecture practice we thought was needed to accelerate Ireland’s green transition. We knew a new approach was needed but didn’t know if it would work. Two years on and we have been blown away by the level of demand for green transition design and meeting amazing people developing their own sustainable enterprises.

Patrick McHugh

Founder, Community Retrofits Ireland

E Day 40 online Patrick McHugh

In my Community Retrofits work, it’s the simple actions that we advise people to do to help reduce their energy consumption and save money. This year I also helped develop Discover Sheanadha Mhacha, a 24km multi-use trail in Connemara. Landowners, the rural recreational officer, a local development company and Údarás na Gaeltachta all worked together to make it happen. We opened access to the lakes adjacent to the trail, increasing tourism for walking, cycling and fishing.

Sadhbh O’Neill

Co-ordinator of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition

E Day 50 online Sadhbh O'Neill

Cycling. It brings joy, fresh air and freedom. It simply is the most fun and healthy way to travel. Cycling doesn’t even need to be about climate action: it’s a way to free up our streets from pollution and congestion. It’s a way to get fit. It is often the fastest, and cheapest, way to get around. E-bikes and cargo bikes now make cycling possible for everyone of any age or ability, and for ferrying more stuff and people around. It has truly transformative potential.

Kit Christina Keawwantha

Fibre Artist & cofounder of Fibreshed Ireland

E Day 41 online Kit Christina Keawwantha

The growing desire for greater equality and connection – between people, nations, and nature; the realisation that neither nature nor people are commodities to be extracted, but that the value they bring to life on Earth as a whole, as individuals, communities or ecosystems, is something much deeper, something priceless. As we choose “co-operation” rather than “competition”, with each other and with nature, we become able to reach beyond our fears and take action towards building abundance for all life.

Leif Barry

Environmental scientist and OPW guide

E Day 42 online Leif Barry

People are starting to pick up on what our planet is putting down, that we are all learning the language of our nature again. Understanding that the indigenous species of our island is the genetic resource that is key to surviving what the future will bring. Anyone can now attend a seed-collecting workshop from a seed-collecting specialist to learn how to collect local native tree and wildflower seeds without causing adverse environmental effects.

Alma Clavin

Geography researcher, UCD, and project lead with Teresa Dillon of Repair Acts, a Creative Ireland project based in Westmeath

E day 43 online Alma Clavin

Writers such as Dara McAnulty, Anja Murray and Eoghan Daltun provide us with subtle yet profound messages of hope. The ability to identify plants and understand landscapes is declining, but natural history skills and the ability to connect with nature have never been so important. These writers share wisdom and observations to enhance everyday joy and happiness; they heal, transform and replenish lost narratives around our relationships with land and with other species.

Karin Dubsky

Co-ordinator of Coastwatch

E Day 44 Karin_Dubsky

After near despair, the EU Nature Restoration Law, the European Green Deal and the new Common Fisheries Policy package are all grounds for hope for the marine at an international level. More and more people understand that the biodiversity and climate crises are linked and want to do something about both. Young people’s participation in citizen science and action to protect and restore our Irish coast is on the rise too. It’s late, but not too late.

Liam Lysaght

Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre

E Day 45 online Liam Lysaght

We need to change the perception that biodiversity action is largely about enforcing regulations in a punitive way. Instead, individuals and organisations need to be empowered to improve their local environments for the benefit of all. The goodwill of different sectors about conservation needs to be nurtured, supported, and their successes and achievements highlighted. Only when this is done, will the momentum shift towards seeing the conservation of biodiversity as a positive, achievable objective which is widely supported by everyone.

Tania Banotti

Director of the Creative Ireland programme

E Day 46 Tania Banotti

The one action that gives me hope is seeing how climate action can be supported by artists and the wider creative community. The Creative Climate Action fund – the first of its kind in the EU – allows artists work with farmers, football clubs, community groups and climate scientists to make their local areas more climate-resilient. I have seen how communities respond more to solving problems when artists galvanize action and work alongside them on projects.

Catherine Cleary

Catherine Cleary

Catherine Cleary, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a founder of Pocket Forests

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about health, heritage and the environment