The town of Clonakilty in Co Cork has been recognised as a "cool community" because of the success of initiatives to protect the environment from climate change.
The local “CoolClon” committee has encouraged more vegetarian options in restaurants and supermarkets, installed 10 charge points for electric vehicles, set up three water points in the town to replenish water bottles.
It has also introduced an inexpensive “keep cup” scheme for coffee drinkers which will save up to 800 paper cups a week. Some 20,000 trees will be planted in the town during 2020.
Businesses have committed to transitioning to natural refrigerants, 11 restaurants have devised a mandate to reduce food and general waste, while five local hotels have committed to significant environmental improvements on their premises.
The Cool Planet Group, an Irish foundation promoting meaningful climate actions, has endorsed the town's efforts.The initiatives are all in line with "Project Drawdown" principles, an International research organisation that reviews, analyses, and identifies climate solutions.
Orla O’Donovan of Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce said: “Our experience with the campaign to date is that people want to make the changes, they just need to be given the tools and the knowledge to do so.”
An exhibition on Friday showcased initiatives in an effort to further educate the community. ‘Cool Planet slime workshops’ gave people the opportunity to discover how nature can solve some of our most pressing problems using biodegradable, natural materials to create packaging, and discover how hydrogen fuel cell could replace petrol or diesel in power cars.
The Cool Communities initiative was born out of the urgency for communities to come together and work to make small but effective improvements which positively impact the environment, said Cool Planet chief executive Vicky Brown. "Clonakilty has shown exceptional community spirit and we are in awe of their efforts in bringing this community project to fruition. It is our hope that Government agencies begin to assist communities with this initiative."