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Recession pushes Laois communities into action on sustainability

The Leaf project has been working for the last three years to get communities in the county working together on all aspects of sustainable development.

Image: Leaf

COMMUNITIES IN LAOIS have been coming together over the last three years to learn about the environment and work on building sustainable practices in the county through a project called ‘Leaf‘.

Leaf was established in 2010 and coordinator Theresa Carter told TheJournal.ie that at the time, there was a “big need for people who are interested in the environment and in sustainability to network”.

“A lot of people are isolated and concerned about this so it’s all about getting people together and having a united voice,” she said.

Carter said that the recession has “made people more aware of the fact that things are just going to turn themselves around.”

They don’t have enough belief in the old system so they’re willing to listen more to what we have to say about sustainability.

The project, which encourages communities to self-organise to address environmental issues, meets once a month and the agenda is left open for discussion on all aspects of sustainable development. “Last year the focus was on energy though in most places it would generally be food because that seems to grab people’s attention,” Carter explained.

Food is an area that Carter said all local communities can work on to contribute to sustainability and the economy. “If we have sustainable, local food production that can be kept in the local economy you’re keeping  people in business – you’re not making them millionaires – but it makes a difference,” she said.

Leaf supports a number of local initiatives like men’s sheds, community gardens, farmer’s markets and development groups.

The sale of Coillte was also high on the project’s priority list over the least year with the group raising awareness of how forestry can play an important role in sustainable energy and local economies.

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“It was actually my one hope for the recession, that it would get people moving,” Carter said. “And now we have a bigger audience who are more willing to listen and take action.”

Recession pushes Laois communities into action on sustainability
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