Have you heard? Climate change needs behaviour change! Simple as changing your attitude, acting differently and you’ll save the world! Its true and yet it’s not that simple. Even when you decide to act differently, your environment may influence your ability to act out your action more than you simply deciding to make the action…..tongue twisting, head spinner I know!
Many small individual actions can create a ripple of change but for real progressive, lasting systems change we need collaborative action that builds community. A renewed supporting environment that makes all those little actions easier for you and others! We need to work together, talk together, meet up, argue and listen, start conversations that matter! We need to change the dominant story that frames many of our actions…… we need to hear from everyday citizens doing small acts, collaboratively with others. We need stories of citizen action in real-time, stories of change!
Meet Dermot from Monaghan Transitions Town;
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m from Monaghan Town, I’m married to Lynn and have two girls under 7. Traditional music, the Irish language, surfing and writing are passions of mine – I post my material at www.dermymcnally.com and have written for TheJournal.ie and Agriland.ie in the past. We have a small veg and herb garden in the back garden and we grow seeds in a small greenhouse – I’m trying to get the girls into gardening and growing and they love picking the fennel, chives and mint and tasting them!
What led you to where you are today working with Monaghan Transitions – what tempted you “to the green-way of life”?
I got involved in a family furniture business from a young age but always dabbled in growing veg and trees.I carried out a Masters Thesis on Development in rural Tanzania and traveled there and really began to understand how such farmers live. When back in the furniture business I soon began to question the way the world works especially the way so much of what we consume (goods and food) are imported from places far away. In the furniture business, timber is regularly shipped from Europe across Russia to China to be manufactured and sent back in cardboard boxes and polystyrene. So as well as writing on environmental issues I’m involved in helping mini projects locally such as forest school events for children, a school garden, family nature walks, Trees on the Land. I also assisted in press releases for a friend who stood for the Green Party.
What are the challenges you’ve encountered on your sustainability journey to date?
It can be frustrating to see such slow progress at an international level to reduce carbon emissions and all the other problems in the world. So learning to come to terms with this yet continue to make a contribution is important. Also sometimes the sheer convenience and temptation of modern life is a challenge to our ethics.
What do you hope to achieve at Transitions Monaghan?
Raising awareness and building a community of like minded people is a big part of our work and in this way we can provide support for each other. I’m glad to say that much of what we are doing is becoming more and more mainstream.
How are you going forward on your journey?
I’m one of a number of volunteers involved in some way and the group has decided to run more practical events and this is proving popular. We will continue to produce our popular “Sustainability Matters” Column and then each of the volunteers has their own mini-projects and activities and that feeds into the dialogue in a very positive and informative way.
When it comes to food, how do you choose what to buy?
Organic and locally produced is our preferred option. We also support fair trade products. A CSA type food basket initiative is in its infancy in monaghan and we buy weekly – it’s being extended to include dairy products, meat and bread. Over 60 local citizens tried the food basket at least once during its ten week pilot period and it will be re-launched shortly.
At foodture we refer to people as ‘food citizens’ instead of ‘consumers’, what does it mean to you to be a food citizen?
Its moving to more ownership and involvement in who grows our food and where it comes from. As consumers it’s too easy to disregard everything other than price and convenience. I find it inspiration to read about the rise of the CSA movement such as the one at Cloughjordan that guarantees employment for two full time farmers as well as giving great local food> this is where Ireland needs to go. The Camphill Movement are also miles ahead of the curve on this too.
Can you recommend any book/movie/podcast that inspired you on your journey towards sustainability?
I love Martin Crawford’s books on forest gardens. My brother recently gave me a copy of Charles Flowers, ” Where Have All the Flowers Gone: Restoring Wildflowers to the Garden and Countryside” and I found it very informative.
Is there any advice you could give to others who are starting their journey?
Trying to cooperate with other like minded people is a great source of support, information and enjoyment. And because most of the work is done on a volunteer basis we all have to think smart and to share experience and resources where appropriate. Talking openly and honestly to others while respecting their efforts is essential in this.