February 22, 2024

MALCOLM NOONAN: ‘Be on the right side of history: our planet is burning’

TOMORROW marks the biggest mobilisation of climate and environmental activism in history – and the Green Party is urging the people of Kilkenny to rise up and join the movement.

History is being made, and we all need to decide which side of history we want to be on. Young people inspired by the actions of Greta Thunberg are leading this global movement for change because they see that it is their futures that are being threatened by the scale of unprecedented climate chaos and ecological destruction.

2019 is set to break all records for heat and extreme weather events and much of the planet is literally burning before our eyes.

There has rightfully been much condemnation of the fires in the Amazon, but the Artic tundra has been on fire for much of the summer too and temperatures in Antarctica are rising to a scale that is baffling scientists.

Young people are ready to take to the streets all over the world because they are fighting for the very future of the planet. I am calling on the wider community here in Kilkenny to join them at 2.30pm tomorrow at our Town Hall, to leave the office or workplace early, to bring families and to join in this mass movement for system change. We must rise up to send a strong message to political leaders and the corporate world: change or be changed.

The scale of the challenge appears daunting, but it is achievable, albeit through a narrowing window of opportunity. Governments need to rapidly decarbonise economies, shift budgets towards cycling, walking and public transport, diversify agriculture and farming and to deep retrofit every home in the country.

We need to re-programme our way of thinking and doing things, stop the throwaway economy in favour of a circular, reuse and repair economy. We need to plant millions of broadleaf trees, rewild many rural and indeed urban areas, reskill people to grow food and transform our education system to bring forward a new generation of ecologically literate young people who are ready to meet the challenge ahead.

We have a job to do tomorrow – and that is show solidarity with our young people by joining them on the streets of Kilkenny. Political leaders will only respond if they see that this movement will not go away and has popular support. I am encouraged by the spirit of this young generation who are not willing to have their futures stolen from them by the mistakes of my generation.

They are willing and ready to fight the good fight and I will be there with them, I am urging everyone to come out and be a part of history in the making.

*Malcolm Noonan is a local councillor and the Green Party spokesperson for local government, regional development and rural affairs

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