Swifts slice in twos and fours. Photograph: iStock

Spend it Better: How we can all help protect these beautiful birds

A ringlet butterfly pollinating a wildflower. Photograph: Getty

Wildacres in Co Wicklow shows how damage can be reversed in a relatively short time

Opening your eyes to the natural world soothes you like nothing you can ever buy. Photograph: Getty Images

A new year is like a new page, the perfect place to start doing things to benefit our planet

Mindfulness can free us from the monkey cage of a noisy brain. Photograph: Getty Images

Spend It Better: In the face of climate catastrophe we need to look after ourselves

Choosing a climate-friendly diet is an action each of us can take. Photograph: Getty Images

Spend It Better: Evocco and FoodCloud are new enterprises hoping to reduce food waste at home

A recent study found that Covid deaths were lower in the more forested parts of Italy. Photograph: iStock

Spend It Better: The aim? Just sit and let the surroundings provide sounds, smells and sights

Detail from A Fox Observes the Milky Way on Winter Solstice Night, by illustrator Enagh Farrell.

Spend It Better: Thinking of a gift? Here are some that say, ‘I care about you and a habitable planet’

Knitted hot water bottle covers by Fisherman out of Ireland, available in the Irish Design Shop

Spend It Better: Ease off on the central heating with a hot water bottle

We need everyone to reduce their meat consumption, human’s best friend included

Spend It Better: Dogs and cats could account for a quarter of farming’s emissions

‘Green exercise’ comes  with added benefits like vitamin D and burning more calories. Photograph: Getty Images

Spend It Better: ‘Green exercise’ is better for your body and the planet

Mushrooms are a low-cost, zero-cruelty protein source. Photograph: Wladimir Bulgar/Getty Images

Dublin urban farm is growing mushrooms in coffee grounds, collected from coffee shops

The SUV virtually killed the station wagon, the original extra seating and cargo option. File photograph: Getty

Spend It Better: Rise of all-conquering SUV is story of runaway corporate greed by car companies

Inter-generational conversations on the climate crisis with Eamon Ryan, Dr Tara Shine, Dara McAnulty and others

Actor Patrick Dempsey wearing a coat from Inis Meáin Knitwear

Spend It Better: Irish labels and tailors are breathing life into our own clothes

Dublin Zoo’s spectacular night-time experience ‘Wild Lights’ 2019  theme: Stories, Myths & Legends.Photograph: Dave Meehan

Spend It Better: This season’s beautiful lanterns become next season’s junk pile

Bí Urban rain garden

Spend It Better: These simple devices reduce waterway pollution and provide habitat

These apples have fallen as far from the tree as it’s possible to be. Photograph: Getty

Spend It Better: Kiwi apples in Irish shops is a troubling sign of a wayward system

The object most associated with CFCs was the aerosol. The gas that puts the foam in your shave has been replaced by hydrofluorocarbons, which have zero effect on the ozone layer. 

Irish shavers use about 20 million pressurised aerosol cans a year

Our carbon footprint is not a footprint at all. It’s a bubble. There is nothing earth-bound about our emissions. Photograph: Getty Images

Project seeking 1,000 citizen scientists aims to measure air pollution in the capital

Insulation once again: building regulations now make retrofitting standard practice. Photograph: Getty

Spend it Better: Insulation, insulation, insulation is the new mantra in housing

Do walk, cycle or take public transport. Do shop more mindfully and support local. Photograph: iStock/Getty

Looking at what you can do to fight climate change is easier than focusing on what you can’t

Composting our food waste reduces the fossil fuels used to transport it to waste depots. Photograph: Getty

Spend it Better: Unlike real compost, peat moss contains no nutrients

Manchán Magan's 32 Words for Field is a gentle, proud and fierce plumbing of the deep connections between land and language. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

If you’re on a camping trip or just shuddering at the thought of one here are some good ways to entertain yourself

A  washing machine drum that has been turned  into a fire pit

Ger Whyte went exploring the Silvermines mountains and came back with 13 washing machines, all of them dumped off remote roads

‘Bikes are, for me, the height of human evolution,’ says Catherine Cleary.

A real democratic leveller for urban transport is the e-cargo bike

Davi Leon of Hazel & Davi, Wicklow Farm, Ashford Co Wicklow. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Trees can be the answer and Ireland has a pioneering study of livestock agroforestry

Harrison Gardner’s Build Everything out of Anything course

Rise of eco-building could yet make Dermot Bannon’s glass box extensions look dated

The Fairphone 3: it scores  8.7 out of 10 on the Index of Repairability, which is as good as any smartphone gets on the scale

Spend It Better: A repairable phone is now an option

A $55 yearly subscription gets you a serious array of power tools, with staff who organise their lending and maintenance. Photograph: Getty

Instead of everyone buying tools to mostly lie redundant, why not just borrow as we go?

The solution to food waste is to stop wasting it. Photograph: Getty Images

Spend It Better: This system makes food waste look as if someone tapped on an Instagram filter

Hopefully soon the idea of binning empty pump dispensers after a single use will seem preposterous

Plastic is the basis of a lot of our domestic liquid holders – and that’s where we can use it better

We know that healthy soil means healthy carbon sequestration, and hugely healthy food. Photograph: Getty

Spend it Better: Regenerative farming can help on a small and a mass scale

On a submarine there’s zero capacity for multiple leisurely hours in the shower so it’s 10 seconds to wet, 10 seconds to lather and 10 seconds to rinse

Our solar panels heat almost all our water on sunny days. They connect us to the seasons

Peat in Co Kerry. Photograph: Getty

Why, as one arm of the State is getting out of peat, is another still planting tulips in it?

Walking is easier than jumping on a bike for the first time since you were a kid. It is NLR (No Lycra Required), and the more you do the more you can do

Spend It Better: This summer make time to walk a route you typically dash

But 77 of the 98 Irish bee species are solitary bees. And their habitat loss has been so catastrophic that a third of all species are threatened with extinction

Glossy fields of grass might look like lush rich countryside. To our bees they’re a food desert

Botanist Dr Noeleen Smyth made a heartfelt plea to resist planting the fake, frothy and entirely unregulated “wildflower” seed mixes in areas where native pollinator-friendly plants would seed naturally

Spend It Better: The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan advises doing nothing to our lawns this month

A proper circular economy would ensure that manufacturers make mattresses from natural materials that can be recycled into new products. File photograph: James Braund/Getty

Staff at Bounce Back dismantle mattresses by hand and recycle individual components

Single-component runners could reduce the legacy of pollution for our great great grandchildren to deal with long after we’ve passed the final finish line and eaten our goodie bag. Photograph: Getty

90% of trainers end up in incineration or landfill where components can last 1,000 years 

Thriftify is a power for good in the frail new world that lies ahead. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell/The Irish Times

Rónán O’Dálaigh has created a virtual space where the shops have the convenience of Amazon but no horrors

If the sea has saved you, or even if it hasn’t, think about saving rainwater. Photograph: Getty Images

Spend it Better: A water butt to harvest rainwater can help keep our seas clean

The urge to nurture things during the pandemic gave us a better understanding of how the nurturing nurtures us back. Photograph: iStock

In her new weekly column, Catherine Cleary looks at how we can use our spending power to look after the world, and each other

There is a visual allure to a stack of thick American pancakes. Photograph: iStock/Getty

Shrove Tuesday: Use a good pan and have kitchen roll to hand, advises Catherine Cleary

Activists: Caelainn Hogan, Tobi Lawal, Alannah O’Neill Murray (top row); Megan Sims, Amika George, Lisa Nic An Bhreithimh (middle row); Síona Cahill and Saoi O’Connor

Young Irish activists are fighting for change, inspired by fellow campaigners like Amika George

Catherine Cleary with Minnie on her last Christmas Eve walk on the South Wall

Knowing the moment is coming doesn’t make it easier when it rushes towards you

Ken Kinsella, owner of The Source Bulk Foods in Rathmines, Dublin 6. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

In the war against plastic, small battles can be won at the food and produce shelves

It is easy to grow your own salads in a window box at home. Photograph: iStock

No more black salad mulch in the fridge drawer when you compost and grow your own

Richard Nairn: his book, Wildwoods,  draws from 40 years of experience working as an ecologist

‘Long life and stability’ of threatened habitat inspired ecologist to write Wildwoods

Catherine Cleary at Beach House in Tramore. Photograph: Patrick Browne

For her last assignment, Catherine Cleary tries socially distant dining

Chef Mr Wang  cooking in kitchen of Musashi. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

The innovative ways in which restaurants are reaching customers under lockdown

John Green of Green’s Berry Farm, Gorey, Co Wexford, used to sell 75 per cent of his strawberries to supermarkets. Now he’s reversed that and 75 per cent of the crop is bought by customers who come to his farm.   Photograph: Patrick Browne

Students who might have been on a J1 might be strawberry picking in Wexford instead

Volunteer Jen Coonan and Slunchbox CEO Hanan Swan deliver lunch and dinner to local   resident John Fitzsimons in the Tenters area of Dublin 8. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

A hot school lunch idea has pivoted to a food service for locals on lockdown in Dublin

Maria and David Flynn at  their recently opened drive-thru’  spudshack at Ballymakenny, Co Louth. Photograph:   Johnny Bambury

Ballymakenny Farm Potatoes has moved from supplying chefs to a drive-through and courier service

Katherine O’Hanlon with seedling trays of Oriental Mustard Greens at Jackdaw Farm near Oldcastle in Meath. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Is farming a two-acre smallholding in Co Meath for the birds? Not at Jackdaw Farm

A McDonald’s Big Mac. Photograph. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via Getty Images

How I re-created McDonald’s most famous burger in my kitchen (It’s all in the sauce)

Irish Times restaurant reviewer Catherine Cleary: ‘Serious State support will be needed to salvage anything from the wreckage.’ Photograph: Tom Honan

My reviews are on ice. What will be left of our restaurant industry when the thaw comes?

The wild salad.

‘It’s the food we want to eat ourselves and we want to share it with other people’

Imogen Rabone started Trees on the Land to encourage landowners to plant native Irish trees.

Imogen Rabone started Trees on the Land to encourage landowners to grow native trees

From a loft-like cafe in Kildare to a fine vegetarian in Sligo, these great places make for a terrific pit stop

The dining room at Ballyvolane House. Photograph: Jacqui McSweeny

Restaurant review: Ballyvolane House is a lovely way to experience the food of home

The Old Spot in Dublin 4: Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

From shameless 1970s indulgence to a late afternoon feast, you won’t go wrong with these great spots

Kitchen 85 is on Marlborough Street in Dublin 1.

Restaurant review: ‘It's weird not eating this food from some kind of cardboard box’

Restaurant review: Woodruff has spades of ambition and makes the most of its space

Robert Mungo (centre) tends to guests at Grano in Stoneybatter, Dublin 7. A two-course lunch costs €12. Photograph: James Forde/The Irish Times

These 10 places have one thing in common: it’s all about the food. Treat the kids – and yourself

This Dublin newcomer uses the best ingredients and cooks them lovingly

On February 14th, restaurant staff place bets on who will storm out first from a St Valentine’s date

Restaurateurs share trade secrets of the ‘worst night of the year’

Lunch is sorted. Photograph: iStock

Try these 16 places for great food that won't cost you a fortune

Restaurant review: This new Italian operates at breakneck speed, but does so very well

Liath, at Blackrock Market, Co Dublin:  reverent and irreverent in equal measure. Photograph: Alan Betson

Review: Liath is a beautiful, joyful one-man show with no stiff service or reverential whispering

Review: This accomplished cooking is wildly successful with the after-work crowd

Lignum would look at home in Norway or Copenhagen. Photograph: Julia Dunin

Review: This impressive restaurant weaves culinary magic and produces fine dining

Catherine Cleary: when I was 19, I lived on tinned tuna and pasta for days so I could spend a week’s salary on a black swing coat with a high collar that felt like a hug. Photograph: Tom Honan

After years of full-strength retail therapy, charity shops would be my nicotine patches

The Georgian dining room at Cornucopia

Review: One of the few places you can eat well, in a lovely room, for a reasonable price

The menu has potential but the food is mystifyingly lacking in flavour

Food heaven: Soup, Aimsir, Tiller + Grain (top row), and the Cheese Press, Ox and Bia Rebel

My most memorable food of 2019 was made by cooks and chefs who put food joy on plates

Taza Restaurant on Ardcollum Avenue in Artane, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Review: This Pakistani restaurant in Artane proves dinner in the suburbs needn’t feel like a consolation prize

Liath, in Blackrock Market in south Co Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

From The Irish Times’s Delicious List 2019: fine dining without overdoing the formality? We think these hit the spot

A bowl of ramen, at Bia Rebel, 409 Ormeau Road, Belfast. Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

From The Irish Times’s Delicious List 2019: Our go-to informal restaurants and bars

Glas Restaurant: maybe it needs to decide if it’s a vegan or a vegetarian restaurant, or a restaurant mimicking nonvegan foods. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Restaurant review: Glas seems to be vegetarian and vegan, which makes the vegan Parmesan a bit of a head-scratcher

 Maciej Garbas, (left) with Robert Skuza and Liz Devine, in kitchen in the Rotunda Hospital. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Food at the Rotunda is tastier, healthier and probably cheaper than in other Irish hospitals

Jonathan O’Grady with restaurant critic Catherine Cleary. His muscular atrophy is progressing gradually as his muscles lose their strength. ‘I used to be able to lift a pint of Guinness. Now I have to drink it through a straw,’ he says.

Catherine Cleary changes her restaurant ratings after dining out with wheelchair users

Houses of the Oireachtas: its Members’ Restaurant serves seven kinds of potato if you count ‘skinny fries and chunky chips’ twice. Photograph: Alan Betson

Restaurant review: This Leinster House venue the has air of a pricey nursing home

Some say it’s a solution for a growing world. But it could be a Frankenfoods nightmare

Sinéad Ní Gháirbhith in her shop, The Cheese Press, in Ennistymon, Co Clare. When it opened two years over ago it was assumed to be a summer thing; a tourists’ deli, for seasonal blow-ins. File photograph: William Hederman

Restaurant review: Almost every morsel of food that Sinéad Ní Gháirbhith serves is local and Irish

A generation of cooks seems less likely to be dazzled by sleek lines and an Argos catalogue of electronic goods. Photograph: Getty Images

A cooker, chopping boards and a good knife are all some cooks need to work

‘Old-style’ fish andseafood soup at the Bistro

All the playful bells and whistles of a fine-dining establishment, at a heist-worthy steal

The balcony at the Farmgate Cafe, in the English Market in Cork:  A bowl of piping-hot lamb stew is everything the day outside needs. Photograph: Jessica Spengler/Flickr

Restaurant review: The English Market cafe sets a standard anywhere in Ireland should be proud to follow

The Commons Cafe at (Moli) Museum of Literature Ireland, Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw / The Irish Times

Restaurant review: Beneath the city’s newest museum is a little cafe with a big personality

Our favourite places for lunch, from quick bites to special occasions

Spitalfields pub and restaurant on The Coombe in Dublin 8. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Restaurant review: A real pub with great food in a real part of Dublin

Jeni Glasgow and Reuven Diaz, whose Eastern Seaboard restaurant and Brown Hound Bakery in Drogheda closed on Wednesday. Photograph: Barry Cronin

It's like a bereavement, say owners of Eastern Seaboard restaurant in Drogheda as Fish Shop plans a move out of Dublin to Tramore

Mamó restuarant Howth.Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Restaurant review: Outside are tables and blankets for outdoor lunch. Inside, the aroma of buttery fish

Everett’s in Waterford

Review: Peter Everett charges steep prices, but this is exactly the hearty cooking I need

 Aimsir restaurant, Cliff at Lyons Estate, head chef Jordan Bailey. Photograph Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Good luck booking at Aimsir. It has six tables and only opens four nights a week

The Muddlers Club, Belfast: a great restaurant hiding in plain sight Photograph: Elaine Hill Photography

Review: The menu may have few words, but the food screams quality on a plate

Soup,  Dún Laoghaire, Dublin. The walls are half-white, half-peppermint green, and the floor is painted. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Review: An unpretentious place so good it should become a destination in itself

Review: This ambitious secret-garden cafe combines history with a glimpse of a better future

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