On 13th April 2022, the second Green Forum - newly expanded to include Kilcock - was held in the New School of Education Building, Maynooth University. The key focus of this forum was on brainstorming and connecting around ideas for climate projects and the upcoming Climate Innovation Fund (CIF) - (now open for applications here!).
The Maynooth & Kilcock Forum started off with an exciting overview of one overview from Kevin Mullen of Climate Response Ireland on his innovation that was awarded funding from the CIF in 2020 before Covid.
Kevin Mullen, Climate Response Ireland, Celbridge
Dr. Jim Carolan of Maynooth University then gave an overview of the Maynooth Green Campus and invited people to join the committee.
Dr. Jim Carolan, Maynooth Green Campus, MU
Paula O'Rourke the Climate Action Officer of Kildare County Council then gave a presentation about the upcoming launch of the Climate Innovation Fund.
Climate Innovation - brainstorming session
Following the presentations of information, everyone broke into groups around key themes that they felt were important for climate innovation. Ideas were shared around each of these themes to form the basis for collaboration on projects, and on proposals for the Climate Innovation Fund and other potential funding streams. Participants contributed ideas to one or more theme discussions.
If you are interested in connecting with people around the ideas shared at the Forum, or other ideas, please contact us at email@example.com and we will aim to put you in touch.
The following were discussed: Biodiversity & water; Transport; Emissions reduction; Waste; Community; and Smart Technology. Ideas were discussed and posted under each theme as follows. A member of each theme discussion then explained the ideas shared to the full group.
Community (Pink sheet)
- How do we make community relevant?
- Disaster planning
- Set up community resilience using risk analysis + toolkits
- No time or connections -> Action: Time booking, helping each other.
- Social enterprise -> products + services à try out cargo bikes,
- repair shops
- energy clinic
- Biodiversity garden
- Zero waste shop + café
- Toy + tool swaps
- Problem: lack of engagement + support network -> Solution: Physical climate hub.
- Engagement no time
- Fun street fest
- Employer lead reward -> volunteerism
- Zero waste festival
- Integrate with sports
Biggest issue around community is lack of engagement and support network. Physical climate hub could help with other things on the list such as a biodiversity garden, a zero waste shop + café and a toy + tool swap area. Engagement is a big issue, due to lack of time. Ideas to solve this = make engagement fun (streetfest), have it employer lead so employers get involved in the community. Have rewards and integrate it with sport. We need to analysis risks to prevent disaster in the community.
Biodiversity & Water – (Purple sheet)
- Micro forests.
- Water: Temp measurements + aquatic plant species survey.
- Information points across Maynooth on biodiversity initiatives
-> or codes
-> guide to next station.
- Ponds + water bodies.
- Biodiversity bulb planting for housing estates + common areas around towns.
Install coherent information points around the locality to educate people about the flora, fauna, birds, animals, etc. Could have QR codes so its like a guided tour. Revamp waterways around towns and get more aquatic biodiversity. Forest on roundabouts near local schools, -> scaleable project. Bulb planting around the area.
Transport – (Orange sheet)
- Private bus sharing app/ car sharing app.
- Next bus.
Improved public transport
- Dart to Kilcock?
- Train capacity
- Connect smaller towns
- Cycle to school
- Split books
- Limit school runs
- Walking bus
- Barriers to cycling -> Incentive, Flexibility, E-bikes.
- Sli na Slainte – e.g. 1km distance A -> B or 5km loop encourage exercise
- Bike dock / Rental
The theme was reducing car journeys by using alternative modes of transport. Public transport needs to be improved capacity wise and route wise to connect smaller towns with each other. There is also the need for the DART to go to Kilkock. We also need to break down the invisible barriers of cycling by providing incentives for it, and create safe cycle lanes as there is a huge lack of them today. Cycling to school has to be incentivised as uniforms as school bags are stopping many people from cycling.
Emissions Reduction! (Light orange sheet)
- Community energy
- Management company
- Renewable energy
- Funding / incentives
- SME tax breaks for low carbon towns
- Decarbonization zones
There will be a lot of tension caused by the decarbonization zones because it will see things like a reduction of car traffic. Tax breaks especially for small businesses particularly in retail as they will be the most impacted.
Waste (Yellow sheet)
- Distance to waste centre
- Community knowledge recycling/ repair
- Civic respect
- Bin design
- Food waste
- Repair centres/ cafe / toy library/ swap shop.
- AD/ my UGG
- Circular economy
- Key question: Need vs Want
Could community collection points for waste be introduced to help with the distance of waste centres? The community need to be informed more on how to actually recycle or repair things. Trying to move from linear to circular economy. Bins might have to be redesigned to prevent birds from getting into them and putting the rubbish everywhere. Food waste is a huge issue that can be combatted simply by checking what you already have in your fridge/ presses. AD (anaerobic digestion) you can get a machine called my Ugg that is shaped like an egg and is basically a small anaerobic digestor that creates gas from green waste that can be used to cook food.
Smart Technology (green sheet)
- Using technology to manage data so that we can make decisions based on what we’re looking at. Some of the observations were an app for data on the phone that limits our carbon emissions. An app similar to this tells the user how much carbon they’ve used that day and if they need to stop emitting carbon for the rest of the day. This will allow us to manage our carbon emissions on a daily basis.
- Create “smart houses” by doing things such as putting a timer on appliances such a showers. A reward system can then be put in place to encourage this.
- For community awareness raising, smart technology can be used as a digital notice board that gives citizens information about relevant topics and is interactive.
- An app that tells young people about jobs related to climate change so young people can earn some money and help out the climate. "It gives us young people something to do and allows us to enhance our CV’s for when we are looking for a job in the future." Like Linkedin but for young people.
- A dog poo powered street light system as piloted in other countries. This would reduce the amount of dog poo on the streets, and would also help with the emissions created by the street lights.
At the end of the meeting Prof. Sweeney and Dr. Robert Moss gave news about new Life funding for a project on decarbonising towns and communities. We look forward to the chance to hear more about that at an upcoming Forum! The next date is set for the 25th May.