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Out with melting ice, in with living a balanced life

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Out with melting ice, in with living a balanced life

Dublin Climate Gathering dropped global-warming scare tactics in favour of a new green narrative

Melting ice: Dublin Climate Gathering looked for ways to become a low-carbon society. Photograph: Reuters

Melting ice: Dublin Climate Gathering looked for ways to become a low-carbon society. Photograph: Reuters

Sat, Jun 22, 2013, 01:00

First published:Sat, Jun 22, 2013, 01:00


There were very few facts and figures about the speed of the Arctic ice cap melting, freak flooding, hurricanes and extreme heat waves at this week’s Dublin Climate Gathering. Instead, a group of about 80 people – academics, technology experts, politicians, entrepreneurs, students, business leaders, artists, homemakers and environmental campaigners – mapped out their vision for a low-carbon society.

“We’ve realised that if we are to stop people going in an unsustainable way from A to B, then we have to offer them a better alternative C. It’s about eating better, wasting less, travelling lighter and being energy clever,” said Green Party leader Eamon Ryanat the opening event in Tailor’s Hall.

Over the following two days in the Mansion House and the CHQ building in Dublin’s Docklands, smaller groups discussed everything from redesigning capitalism and transforming the education system to drawing on the wisdom of the elders and the energy of youth to create sustainable homes, communities and cities. Climate scaremongering was out and in its place was how to live happier, more balanced lives. Participants responded well to the new narrative.

John Ashton, director of Third Generation Environmentalism and a former advisor to the British Government on Climate Change, said, “The system pulled us over a cliff in 2008 and business as usual is over. If we want to flourish, we have to build something that’s different and put people back at the centre of it. We can do better and design a future we want to live in.”

Linking technology with sustainability was a key feature of the event, which was attended by representatives from the major technology companies based in Ireland, the European Commission and international experts in renewable energy.

Martin Curley, vice-president of Intel Corporation and director of Intel Labs Europe, spoke about how technology industries must work with academia, government and citizens to create more connected cities.

The idea that Ireland could be a test-bed for electric cars resurfaced at the gathering, along with the idea that smart technologies can allow householders in communities to develop targets for energy use and conservation. But there were others who advocated the need for privacy policies around “open data” and that smart cities had to be people-centred.

Colette Maloney, head of the Smart Cities and Sustainability unit in the European Commission, said, “I think there is huge momentum in Dublin to move forward on sustainability, with technology playing a role. But, we must remember that digital technology has its own energy consumption and it’s worth stepping back and really thinking, if we want technology to contribute positively, we need to measure what they save and what they cost us. There are well-developed international standards on carbon accounting of companies, services and cities. If it’s not measured, investments in technology might add more to the environmental problems in the long run.”

Lobbying for a new legal entity that allows companies to annually monitor their social and environmental impact as well as their economic return was an idea developed by the “redefining capitalism” group. Such benefit corporations already exist in the US. But, external auditing of the environmental and social impacts would be required to prevent the practice of “green-washing”.

Although undoubtedly a seedbed for renewal of the Green agenda, a networking opportunity for technology and renewable energy experts and a rallying call for volunteers to be involved in creating a low-carbon society, the Dublin Climate Gathering also had three distinct channels to feed into. These are the forthcoming Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change; the European Union Science/Culture Horizons 2020 project and the Terenure 2030 project. The latter has been chosen as a template for change – using Terenure College Rugby Club as an example of a project which has already energised a diverse range of local intergenerational initiatives.

“Consume less, produce more” was the rallying call of American farmer Shannon Hayes at a public meeting towards the end of the Dublin Climate Gathering. Founder of Radical Homemakers, Hayes promotes lifestyles that embrace “ecological sustainability, social justice, family and community” and believes that each family member can be responsible for producing something – food, clothing, education, healthcare and even entertainment.

“This event has offered people a fresh spirit to connect with. But the real decision for society is to change to a climate-friendly world,” said Green MEP Rebecca Harms at the closing event.

“We need to build on what works as well as fix what’s broken” said Eamon Ryan, who organised the event. “This new economy will be both collaborative and competitive but we must start by listening rather than telling people what to do.”

Further proof of global warming – Irish Times.

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Don’t be fooled by the spring snows, they are further proof of global warming

Action must be taken now to have any hope of limiting the damage

Farmer Donald O'Reilly rescues a sheep trapped in a snow drift in the Aughafatten area of Co Antrim last week. Photograph:  Cathal McNaughton/Reuters Farmer Donald O’Reilly rescues a sheep trapped in a snow drift in the Aughafatten area of Co Antrim last week. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

David Robert Grimes

First published:Mon, Apr 1, 2013, 06:00   

What a difference a year makes; a year ago Europe was basking in some of the warmest spring temperatures recorded. Last week all that seemed a very distant memory as we shivered through a prolonged freeze, with snow encroaching into what was once the height of spring.The reason for this worrying; Arctic ice melted at record rates last year, releasing heat energy. This altered the fast-flowing air currents above our planet, known as the Jet stream, allowing cold Arctic air to travel much further south than usual.While it may seem paradoxical that Arctic warming can freeze us so much, it is exactly what climate scientists have long predicted. And it will get worse. Prof Jennifer Francisof the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University in the US notes soberingly that “sea ice is… 80 per cent less than it was just 30 years ago… This is a symptom of global warming.”

The scientific consensus is unequivocal: climate change is happening right now, at a rate unprecedented in Earth’s history.

Earth’s climate is sensitive to change, and temperature swings are only the tip of the rapidly-melting iceberg. Despite the gravity of this threat, reaction has been somewhat muted, hovering somewhere between apathy and denial.

Understandably, climate science can be confusing, perhaps explaining some of our inertia; “global warming” refers to the increase in average global temperature. Counter-intuitively, this can lead to regions of cooling. The mechanism behind this is the greenhouse effect, which arises because certain gases have the ability to absorb thermal radiation from the Earth’s surface.

These gases then re-radiate it in all directions, including back towards Earth and essentially act as a heat trap, warming up the planet. This is long since understood — it was hypothesised by Joseph Fourier in 1824 and experimentally verified by Irish physicist John Tyndall in 1859. The fact that humans can thus affect climate is no surprise, what is surprising is just how fast we’re doing it.

Some question whether this effect is anthropogenic; perhaps this is all just a natural cycle? Sadly, no — ancient ice cores yield a record of temperature and atmosphere over hundreds of millennia, and shows our current rate of warming is hundreds of times beyond anything that has gone before, coinciding with the dawn of industrialisation.

More alarming is that while at no point during any previous glacial or interglacial period has the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration level reached as high as 300 ppm (parts per million), current levels are 390 ppm and rising, with predictions of up to 600 ppm in coming decades. This is most distinctly not natural variation.

Nor can we evade responsibly by postulating that this level is unrelated to human activities — CO2 released from fossil fuels has a distinct chemical signature, and points to our guilt as readily as fingerprints at a crime scene. This leaves only the inescapable conclusion that we are driving the destruction of our own environment.

The discussion is no longer about avoidance, but limitation. The most optimistic prediction is that in order to have a chance of limiting temperature rises to “only” 2 degree Celsius, we would need a global “carbon budget” of less than 886 gigatons between 2000 and 2050. By only 2006, we had already produced 234 gigatons. Coal is without a doubt the worst offender, both in terms of CO2 output and health, killing 1.3 million annually. Yet despite this, 2011 saw an ominous 5 per cent global rise in consumption of coal.

Since 1992, global CO2 emissions have risen 48 per cent, with power generation making up the bulk of this. To mitigate this, low carbon energy is imperative. Renewables are part of the solution, but they simply do not have the required yield or reliability.

Nuclear energy does, but still provokes an emotional rather than a rational reaction, and is all too frequently ignored for the sake of political expediency. Two years on, it bears repeating that the Fukushima accident of 2011 has killed nobody and likely never will. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, by contrast, killed more than 18,000. If nothing substantial is done, such disasters will increase in both frequency and intensity

It is also vital we reduce our personal energy expenditure. Home insulatation and reducing car usage can substantially reduce one’s carbon foot print. Perhaps the most powerful thing we can do collectively is insist our elected leaders take action, imposing carbon levies, rewarding energy efficiency, and most crucially, moving away from fossil fuels towards renewable and nuclear energy.

Climate change is not someone else’s problem — it affects all of us. To have any hope of limiting the damage we have already wrought, action must be taken now. The writing has been on the wall for some time. Whether we heed it remains to be seen.

Dr David Robert Grimes is a physicist and cancer researcher at Oxford @drg1985

Notes & References; Sustainable Tourism; by Peter O’Connor.

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Notes & Refs; Sustainable Tourism; by Peter O’Connor.


Table of Contents

Notes & Refs; Sustainable Tourism; 1

Strategic Planning. 3

Community Involvement; 4

Brundtland Report. 5

Technology, Museums and Sustainability; 5

Birth of the Participative Web; 6

References. 7

Resources. 8

The Museum as Lived Place: Bunratty Folk Park, Ireland. 9

Sustainable tourism management practice; 9

Tourism Policy and Planning: 10

Tourism Ireland; 10

Birth of the Participative Web. 10

 Sustainable Tourism

In the very first volume of Journal of Sustainable Tourism 1993 the co-editors of the journal pointed out that over the last half century of peace the developed nations have enjoyed “exceptional periods of both peace and economic expansion …. The post-war era has brought beneficial changes, notably in decolonisation and self-determination”. (Bramwell,B. & Lane, B. 1993). Added to that is ease and speed of transport. For the first time in man’s history we are free to roam the entire world at relatively low-cost and with great ease. For much of the post-war period the growth models of Rostow and Myrdel were unchallenged. Bramwell & Lane; Journal of Sustainable Tourism. Volume 1, Issue 1, 1993. The desire to push for change and economic development was “unchallenged”. However from the mid-6o’s onwards the ideas of continuous growth began to be questioned as unrestrained growth was seen to have the potential to cause irreversible damage Environmentalism was born when scientist Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring 1962 was printed and began to inroads in the thinking of many – even the Times of London started to feature articles from 1953 onwards but though that was minimal and steady there was a(modest) explosion of 300% from 1965 to 1973 (Brooks et al 1980). Sandbach and others point to similar phenomena in other ‘developed’ countries. With this came the rapid development of environmental pressure groups – leading eventually to Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, CND and ever more radical groups. The later publication of The Ecological Principles of Economic Development  by Dasman, Milton and Freeman developed work carried out by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources at (IUCN) Geneva. They in turn developed The World Conservation Stratagy – launched in 1980 on the global stage and this in turn lead to the Brundtland Report in 1987. However even in 1990 when Nelso Mandela was released amid a wave of optimism as Conor Mark Jameson reminds us in Silent Spring Revisited pg 151of the situation in Britain of the Green Bill which did nothing about the shortcomings of the SSSI’s at a time when the industrial-scale stripping of the peatlands (just like currently in Ireland) had become frightening in scale. Even the then prime minister was encouraging people to buy peat – to burn. Prince Charles was a lone figure standing against this – in the end less than 4% of raised peatbogs survive in Britain. In Ireland the figure is (currently) much higher but only because foreign (Dutch mostly) groups have bought parts of bogs and bequeathed these to the state with the proviso that they (and the surrounding areas) must be maintained (this has forced the Irish authorities to protect large areas of peatlands – to comply with the terms of the bequeaths). Around this time 10% of all UK corncrakes survived in Co Fermanagh. Researchers worked with farmers yet in 2 years the numbers fell from 70 to 17 and in the rest of that part of the province went from 60 to 10 even in spite of help from RSPB and late harvesting. Scotland and the free-part of Ireland followed these studies with their attempts the following year – to mixed response.

To put this into perspective – according to RSPB; sand martins have declined in numbers by 92% since the publication of Silent Spring.

Around this time a ‘league table’ of Europe’s offenders against nature saw Spain heading the league with 57 threats of legal action for violation of directives- ignoring legislation and putting roads across wetlands. 12 of the most important wildlife sites in European Mediterranean area were under threat. This compares to legislation against Belgium (46 warnings) and UK (31 warnings). EU figures.

Strategic Planning.

Under the heading Sustainable Tourism: An Evolving Global Approach the point is made in the introduction that reference to sustainable tourism is now made in most strategic tourism planning documents. Yet, despite its common use, definitional arguments exist over its meaning and subsequent operational functionality. In addition to this, literature on sustainable tourism rarely discusses its development prior to the publication of Our Common Future (World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), 1987) and its relevance to current conceptualisations of tourism. Sustainable Tourism


Indeed, the mid 1800s saw the focus of economics rest squarely upon industrialisation, economic-growth and prosperity. … Economic models such as those by Rostow (1960) and Myrdal (1959, cited in Oppermann, 1993) were based upon this notion and were successful in developing a form of “colonial-style tourism that created little value for the denizens of the area visited. Nor indeed little understanding of the local issues learned by the visitors. In their excellent workbook on Sense of Place the Lake District, Cumbria Sense of Place Toolkit points out that each and every area/locality has particular distinctive qualities that make it special in some way. “By recognising and valuing these qualities, tourism businesses can use them to improve their marketing and promotional activities and enhance their customers’ experience of the area”. A ‘Sense of place’ can be hard to describe, but essentially it covers all those attributes that make a locality special and unique and give it a sense of identity. (

Community Involvement;

A paper by Anne Hardy, Robert J. S. Beeton & Leonie Pearson (pages 475-496) analyses the context within which sustainable tourism has been developing and the conceptualisations used. The paper argues that sustainable tourism has traditionally given more focus to aspects related to the environment and economic development and that more focus should be given to community involvement. (Hardy, Beaton & Pearson) 2002). This is a major theme in the paper by Stoma Cole who spent time in Indonesia working with various villages 2006 – ‘08 (among them; Wogo & Ngadha villages) to develop sustainable tourism ventures that were in the community, run by the community and were seen as independent of government administration in a country where this author felt that the government seems to micro-manage to the nth degree during an extensive visit in mid-1990’s. Community-managed tourism businesses tend to work well especial outside of urban areas because they are seen as providers of employment, economic-drivers but just as importantly they bring a sense of local pride that is inestimable in value as was seen in late 1960’ – early 70’s Co Clare when Bunratty Castle became famous. Alongside the castle is an extensive folk park, particularly popular with families, tourists and schools. It provides visitors a glimpse into Irish life in the 19th century: This features reconstructions of historical cottages and buildings, recreating the general feel of the 19th century with a period style village main street. Old tools, furniture and artefacts are displayed, with the village kept alive by some inhabited shops, an old home bakery and peat fires in cottages. Recently the governing body of Bunratty has installed QRcodes and many other technically advanced ‘gadgets’ that allow visitors a chance to ‘go deeper’ into the history or technique of a particular artefact or building/feature.

Often the sight of participants scanning QR codes, recording comments, or opening a token also led onlookers to strike up conversations. People were particularly interested in the content recorded by others; their stories, comments, and reflections provided different perspectives on what they encountered.  ().

Brundtland Report.

Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development; Our Common Future

In the Brundtland Report we read “Environmental degradation, first seen as mainly a problem of the rich nations and a side effect of industrial wealth, has become a survival issue for developing nations. It is part of the downward spiral of linked ecological and economic decline in which many of the poorest nations are trapped … Despite official hope expressed on all sides, no trends identifiable today, no programmes or policies, offer any real hope of narrowing the growing gap between rich and poor nations. And as part of our “development”, we have amassed weapons arsenals capable of diverting the paths that evolution has followed for millions of years and of creating a planet our ancestors would not recognize.”

The downward spiral of poverty and environmental degradation is a waste of opportunities and of resources. In particular, it is a waste of human resources. These links between poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation formed a major theme in the analysis and recommendations of the Brundtland report which stated that “what is needed now is a new era of economic growth – growth that is forceful and at the same time socially and environmentally sustainable”.

Technology, Museums and Sustainability;

We see more and ever more technology in use in museums and folk-parks (eg Bunratty Co Clare) where QR codes, re cording comments (see above) are in use but also becoming more common and viable is a technology that one carries with them on a note-book, smart-phone or other device where one can listen/watch articles/notes/videos about a section of wall/building/tree/top of a mountain ot whatever. GPS-enhanced one simply walks/drives along routes where experts/locals have told their stories/played music/sang or other media-enhancements mean that one has a ‘personal-guide’ with one and can accept differing layers of knowledge – from superficial to extremely in-depth at the touch of a (virtual) button. These media-units can be played before –during or after a visit and of course can be upgraded 24/7. An excellent example of this technology is supplied by John Ward of Navigatour ( The company offers native apps for both Android and iPhone, cross platform apps that work on most GPS devices and are also partners with Trip Advisor to allow for maximum tourist exposure with your app. Navigatour claim that pride themselves in producing native apps that truly reflect the character of an area, rather than simply offering tourists a variety of commercial partners selling their wares. The visitor needs to know what makes a place special and that is what can be highlighted – the quirky, the hidden, the unique brought together through text, pictures, audio and visual media that will enthuse visitors to an area. This author can be heard speaking about the area on various clips of the Blackwater Valley. ( ‘Meandering of the River’, ‘Dromore View’, ‘Kiltera Standing Stones’, ‘Villierstown’, ‘Dromona Gate Lodge’, ‘The Henley of Ireland’, ‘Glenribbeen’.

In recent years there has been a dramatic rise in the number of participatory media technologies that museums have begun to use to engage with the visitors and indeed to ensure these visitors promote the venture/museum while or shortly after attending. The use of; Web 2.0. Blogs, wikis, podcasts, vodcasts, photo and video sharing, virtual environments, tagging, annotation and other authoring tools offer people better and more immediate ways to engage with museum content processes through co-creation and interactive cultural experiences and not rely on the written word/tour-guide alone. (Russo & Peacock; 2009). Arguably, these platforms and tools are creating new relationships between institutions and the public. We contend that to create sustained participation in social media spaces, museums need to reconsider their relationships with the public and thoroughly explore user motivations and intentions for participation in social media activities. We suggest some ways in which museums might design and evaluate their social media initiatives to ensure their success and sustainability, and offer some questions for further research.

Birth of the Participative Web;

Great Expectations: Sustaining Participation in Social Media Spaces; Museums and the Web; Angelina Russo, Swinburne University of Technology, and Darren Peacock, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.

See Resources below or go direct to; Birth-of-the-participative-web


Bunratty; Bunratty Castle”. 2011-05-18 also Shannon Heritage;

Bramwell,B. & Lane, B. Sustainable Tourism: An Evolving Global Approach; Journal of Sustainable Tourism. Volume 1, Issue 1, 1993

Brundland Report; Oxford University Press. 1987 Accessed 12-01-2013.

Carson,R. Silent Spring; Houghton Mifflin, Cambridge, Ms, USA 1962.

Ciofli,L.&McLoughlin, turf-fires-fine-linen-and-porter-cake M. FORUMS XIX.5 September + October 2012, Page: 18.

Cole, Stroma; Information and Empowerment: The Keys to Achieving Sustainable Tourism 1998

Cumbria Tourism; Accessed 12-01-2013.

Hardy,A. Robert J., Beeton S. &  Pearson,L. Sustainable Tourism: An Overview of the Concept and its Position in Relation to Conceptualisations of Tourism; Journal of Sustainable Tourism; Volume 10, Issue 6, pages 475-496;  2002.  DOI:10.1080/09669580208667183

Jameson, Conor Mark;  Silent Spring Revisited; Bloomsbury NY, Berlin, London 2012.

Kiel, C. Sightseeing in the mansions of the dead, School of Environment, University of Gloucestershire, UK.

Ward, J. Navigatour

Russo, A., & Peacock D. Great Expectations: Sustaining Participation in Social Media Spaces; Archives & Museum Informatics, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA 2009. ( – accessed 13-01-2013).



Cumbria Tourism is committed to developing ‘sense of place’ as an asset for visitors and tourism businesses to use. This toolkit provides you with the means of accessing the rich environmental, cultural and historical facets of Cumbria for yourself. Discover woodlands brimming with wildlife, upland hay meadows awash with wild flowers, sandy expanses of beach backed by rolling dunes, ancient prehistoric stone circles, Roman forts, Anglian and Norse art, Norman churches, medieval abbeys, classical Georgian elegance, Victorian architecture, not forgetting the distinctive flavours of traditional and modern Cumbria foods. The historical, cultural and environmental resources of Cumbria are just waiting to be tapped to enhance your customer’s experience of all the county offers.                     

Sense of Place by Cadwyn Clwyd – Rural Development Plan for Wales.

Summary of project

The project aims to develop a sense of place in rural Flintshire through combining the area’s unique natural, cultural and heritage assets to develop the tourism product in the area. The project will seek to develop a sense of place in all areas within rural Flintshire. It will also use environmentally designated areas such as the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Halkyn Mountain SSSI and SAC and the Dee Estuary SSSI and Natura 2000 site to develop a sense of place in the area. It is noted that the project does not intend to create a new brand for the area, its intention is to develop the tourism offer and foster a sense of place in rural Flintshire within the context of Borderlands – the North Wales regional marketing initiative and Visit Wales.

The Museum as Lived Place: Bunratty Folk Park, Ireland

A concern for place experience, or how people connect to locations in ways that are personal and meaningful, is key when designing the augmentation of visitor activities at a heritage institution, especially one specifically trying to communicate authenticity and character through the physical environment and its fittings. The curatorial goal of living history museums is to provide reconstructions of everyday life in times past by showcasing material and engaging visitors through costumes and crafts. Living history museums offer a unique multisensory and immersive experience often not possible in enclosed museums that includes smell and taste as important ways of exploring what is on display. A living history museum showcasing a collection of 32 historic dwellings with period-appropriate fittings, Bunratty Folk Park is appreciated by many visitors for its authentic charm and for allowing the exploration of ways of life of Ireland’s rural past. The park comprises farmhouses and craftsmen cottages (shown in Figure 1), a manor house, a fully reconstructed village street, and other environments, such as farmyards, gardens, and animal enclosures;

Sustainable tourism management practice;

 Sustainable Tourism Management, CABI, 1999  John Swarbrooke; Sustainable tourism is attracting enormous attention today throughout the world. This book provides an up-to-date, comprehensive coverage of the practice and management of the subject. It offers a range of definitions of sustainable tourism from different sectors of tourism and different parts of the world. Key issues and current debates are also discussed and a range of examples of sustainable tourism management practice are given. The book is designed to be interactive, with group and individual exercises and discussion points to further understanding of the subject.

Tourism Planning;

Tourism Planning: Policies, Processes & Relationships; Pearson Education, 2008; By Colin Michael Hal. Seen as the core learning resource for students of tourism planning; with, a wide range of international case studies and examples.

Tourism Policy and Planning:

Tourism Policy and Planning: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; David L. Edgell, Sr., Maria DelMastro Allen, Ginger Smith, Jason R. Swanson; Routledge, 2008. “From the perspective of economic policy, tourism for local communities is a vital economic development tool producing income, creating jobs, spawning new businesses, spurring economic development, promoting economic diversification, developing new products, and contributing to economic integration. If local and national governments are committed to broad based tourism policies, then tourism will provide its citizens with a higher quality of life while it generates sustained economic, environmental, and social benefits”.

Tourism Ireland;

Tourism Ireland (Fáilte Ireland’s ‘foreign wing’) Marketing Plan sets out our priorities for marketing the island of Ireland overseas, on a market-by-market basis and has been developed as part of a three year strategy.

Birth of the Participative Web

The second generation Web, or the ‘participative Web,’ can be dated from shortly after the turn of the millennium, although the term Web 2.0, by which it is also often known, was not coined by Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty until 2004.  In 2007, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) offered the following definition of the participative Web as,

…characterised by increased participation and interaction of Internet users who use it to communicate and express themselves.

See; Birth of the Participative Web; Birth-of-the-Participative-Web

Plato’s Symposium contrasts two odes to Love, one presenting Love as sophisticated and reasonable and luxuriously fused in beauty the other as a street kid starved for beauty. And Plato opts for the latter as more real.

International Review of Sociology, Monographic On Modernization

Theory: Monographic Series, 3, 1991, Rome: Borla, 213-226.The Gro Brundtland Report (1987)

Or, The Logic of Awesome Decisions, By Joseph Agassi, Tel-Aviv University and York University, Toronto, Canada.  Critique of Brundtland Report.


Origins of the Sustainability Concept

It is generally acknowledged that the Club of Rome’s (1972) book ‘The Limits to Growth’ was the first modern day use of the term as we know it.  It subsequently came to public attention with the publication of the World Conservation Strategy (WCS) in March 1980.  The WCS was a strategy for the conservation of the Earth’s living resources in the face of major international environmental problems such as deforestation, desertification, ecosystem degradation and destruction, extinction of species and loss of genetic diversity, loss of cropland, pollution and soil erosion and was developed by a combination of government agencies, non-governmental organisations and experts from over 100 countries.

The WCS defined conservation as: “the management of human use of the biosphere so that it may yield the greatest sustainable benefit to present generations while maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations.” (IUCN, 1980)

and had three specific objectives:

1.         To maintain essential ecological processes and life support systems (such as soil regeneration and protection, the recycling of nutrients and the cleansing of waters) on which human survival and development depend

2.         To preserve genetic diversity (the range of genetic material found in the world’s organisms) on which depend the breeding programmes necessary for the protection and improvement of cultivated plants and domesticated animals as well as much scientific advance, technical innovation and the security of the many industries that use living resources

3.         To ensure the sustainable utilisation of species and ecosystems (notably fish and other wildlife, forest and grazing lands) which support millions of rural communities as well as major industries

Following the WCS, in 1983 the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) was created as an independent commission reporting directly to the United Nations Assembly with Cro Harlem Bruntland as its chair.  By 1987 the WCED report ‘Our Common Future’, commonly referred to as the ‘Bruntland Report’ was published and sustainable development entered popular language.  According to the report, sustainable development is development that:

“meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Five basic principles of sustainability were identified in the report, which notably took the sustainability concept beyond the specifically environmental:

1.         The idea of holistic planning and strategy making

2.         The importance of preserving essential ecological processes

3.         The need to protect both human heritage and biodiversity

4.         To develop in such a way that productivity can be sustained over the long term for future generations

5.         Achieving a better balance of fairness and opportunity between nations

Supporters of the report point out that it included essential principles of intra-generational and inter-generational equity and persuaded many governments to endorse the notion of sustainable development

Critics of the report argue it contained inbuilt assumptions about the need for continued expansion of the world economy and that it failed to stress the radical changes in lifestyles and society that would be required to overcome the problems inherent in the western model of development (Mowforth & Munt, 2008)

The next notable stage in the development and dissemination of the sustainability concept was the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (popularly known as ‘The Earth Summit’) which was held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, attended by 178 governments including 120 heads of state.  The purpose of the conference was to:

“elaborate strategies and measures to halt and reverse the effects of environmental degradation in the context of strengthened national and international efforts to promote sustainable and environmentally sound development in all countries.”

The results of the conference were seen to take six parts:

a)         An ‘Earth Charter’ or declaration of basic principles

b)         Agreements on specific legal measures

c)         An agenda for action – Agenda 21 – and the means to implement this agenda

d)         New and additional financial resources

e)         Transfer of technology

f)          Strengthening of institutional capacities and processes

Rio +20 will be held in June 2012.

The scope of the challenge of sustainable development was soon after outlined by Ekins (1993) who argues certain conditions need to be adhered to with respect to resource use, pollution and environmental impacts:

a)         Destabilisation of global environmental features such as climate patterns and the ozone layer must be prevented

b)         Important ecosystems and ecological features must receive absolute protection in order to maintain biological diversity

c)         Renewable resources must be maintained with sustainable harvesting measures rigorously enforced

d)         Non-renewable resources must be used as intensively as possible

e)         Depletion of non-renewable resources should proceed on the basis of maintaining minimum life expectancies of such resources, at which level consumption should be matched by new discoveries of these resources and technological innovation

f)          Emissions into the biosphere should not exceed the biosphere’s capacity to absorb such emissions

g)         Risks of life damaging events from human activity e.g. nuclear power generation must be kept at a very low level


Ekins, P (1993) ‘Limits to growth and sustainable development: grappling with ecological realities’.  Ecological Economics 8 pp 269-88

Meadows, D. Et al. (1972) The Limits to Growth, Universe Publications

Mowforth, M. and Munt, I., (2008) Tourism and Sustainability, Abingdon: Taylor and Francis

WCED (1987) Our Common Future Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Carl Jung and others on a ‘Sense of Place’.

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Carl Jung and others on a ‘Sense of Place’.

Some thoughts from figures of note (and a tiny contribution from this writer) on philosophical Sense of Place as well as the physical.

Note; Jung, Carl– from his Collected Works (cw) edited by Meridith Sabrini, North Atlantic Books, Berkley. California,2002.

Reading around the subject – on “A Sense of Place” – I found some interesting comments by Carl Jung where he writes/speaks about returning – usually to nature something that he sees as a place or entity ‘Mother Nature’. Concern for the loss of connection with this ‘place’ runs as a (non-musical?) leitmotif throughout Jung’s entire opus; “Our task is not to return to nature in the manner of Rousseau[i], but to find the natural man”. Jung believed that the loss of emotional participation in nature has resulted in a sense of c (lack of a sense of place), matter was to him the tangible exterior of things and the spirit the non-visible interior.

By way of compensating for the loss of a world that pulsed with our blood and breathed with our breath, we have developed an enthusiasm for facts – mountains of facts, far beyond any single individual’s power to survey … . the facts are burying us. (c.w. 11 par 797), Jung, C. 1939. (There’s a much quoted child’s question that asks; “If adults know so much why aren’t they happy?”). “The development of consciousness is a slow and laborious process that took untold ages to reach the civilised state (±6000 years ago – the invention of writing). This development is far from complete as indefinably large areas of the mind still remain in darkness”.  Jung goes on to explain that civilisation is a most expensive process & its acquisition has been paid for by enormous losses (see the video “The Story of Stuff”) the extent of which “we have largely forgotten or have never appreciated”. (c.w. 10, par 154-5) Jung, C 1928.

Of course classical sciences propensity for viewing a present state in its environmental context persisted down throughout the centuries. (Phil Myrick, Power of Place, 2011). He goes on; We see Placemaking as one solution to these problems. ‘Placemaking is the nexus between sustainability and livability: by making our communities more livable, and more about places, we also are doing the right thing for the planet. Placemaking provides concrete actions and results that boost broader sustainability goals such as smart growth, walkability, public transportation, local food, and bikes, yet brings it home for people in tangible, positive ways.  We feel it is important to give people a proactive approach to sustainability in their hometowns. Creating lively town centres and neighbourhoods that enhance pride of place and promote local economic development is critical to improving local quality of life as well as quality of the environment.  In fact, we can reinvent entire regions starting from the heart of local communities and building outwards’.

However in Winifred Gallagher’s book The Power of Place, ( 1993, Possidon Press USA), there is a strong echo of Jung’s ‘cosmic & social isolation’, Gallagher reinforces the need to stay in touch with our environment, especially for city dwellers who tend to be overwhelmed with intellectual stimulation and lack stimulation from nature. She too feels we need to find a place that is removed from the ‘facts of civilisation’ Gallagher claims, “So yes, we do need that trip to the countryside once in a while”. She goes further to hope for a change in a later work; “In the future I’m planning on searching within the field of architectural psychology. I want to know how urban planning, architecture and interior design affect us. I’ll be looking at academic works but also at other philosophical or spiritual concepts such as the Asian Chi”.

Hippocrates too observed that our well-being is affected by our settings –( The Hippocratic treatise Airs, Waters, Places served as a template for viewing the relationships between places, health, disease, and the physical and mental constitutional nature of people and nations up to the early twentieth century. Central to this conception of the body and its environment is the perception of causal connections between a place Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies) so this is not a new concept. This writer has oftimes observed that in Northern Ireland the richer, “settled” communities that were ‘given’ the best land in the valleys became introspective and dour while the native people were left to settle the hills and upper poorer land. These produced far great percentage of thinkers and visionaries not to mention musicians and

poets of note. People who could see farther than their own microcosm.


On a lighter note; from Bryon, A.T. Don Juan, “What men call gallantry and gods adultery is so much more common where the climate’s sultry”.

“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”
― Dr. SeussOne Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish


Many others have had difficulties with a ‘Sense of Place’ too;

“I am here, and here is nowhere in particular” Golding William, The Spire,

“There is no mysterious essence we can call a ‘place’. Place is change. It is motion killed by the mind, and preserved in the amber of memory.”  Baker, J. A. , The Peregrine

“The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest.”
― Kurt Vonnegut



Winifred Gallagher, The Power of Place, Harper Perennial, 1994.


Myrick; The-power-of-place-a-new-dimension-for-sustainable-development/




[i] Les Reveries du Promeneur Solitaire;

I used to sit on the beach by the lakeside in some hidden refuge. There, the sound of the waves and the stirring of the water held my senses still, drove out of my mind all other kinds of agitation, and immersed it in a delightful reverie. Night often crept upon me without my noticing…


Posted on

I get asked a lot about my experience – which is hard to define – except to say I’ve 8 All Ireland medals and a few Irish nominations and of course the top EU eco-prize of The Green Flower Award (ISO14001) being one of only 125 in Europe. I enjoy being one of the emergency first aid responder (cardiac) pre-hospital team in the West Waterford area.

However my diplomas and certifications mean a lot to me too.

Lismore Community First Response Programme

 Curriculum Vitae of Peter O’Connor, Dec 2012

Glenribbeen Eco Lodge,



Co Waterford


058 54499                086 601 7176

Born; Drogheda-Co Louth. July 1956.



·    1974 completed Leaving Certificate De La Salle, Dundalk.

Irish educational achievements include; 1 HETAC, 6 x FETAC-6 diplomas, also one Scottish and two Dutch diplomas.


1978      National Certificate in Construction Studies        ……      …..       …….     Major    FETAC-6

1992     T.E.F.L. Teaching English as a Foreign Language   (TEFL Dipl)

Scottish International Learning Collage at Polsworth Gardens Edinburgh,..(Merit). (FETAC-6)

1993     Dutch National (All Boats) Certificate for Sail &  Speedboat and Sail Coaching.

2001     T.T.C.T. Teaching Traditional Irish Music. C.C.E. An Cultúrlán, Dublin. ….   ….     (FETAC-6)

2004     Completed modules in Master’s Degree in Domestic Sustainable Energy,

unfinished due to car accident.

2008     Building Energy Regulations exams. B.E.R. ……            …….     Meritorious        ……      (FETAC-6)

2009     Green Flower Award (E.U.) ISO14001  …..     European Commission Award

2010     Certificate in Tourism Business Practice……       Fáilte Ireland     ….        …         (HETAC-6)

2012     Nominee for Irish National ‘Tourism Business Challenge, finalist. Fáilte Ireland.

2011     Certificate in Sustainable Development … ECO-UNESCO….Meritorious   ….        (FETAC-5)

2011     Certificate in Renewable Energy Systems, Greenworks, Cork. …….         ….. ….  (FETAC-5)

2011     BSc in SME. RPL, WD-BSMEM_D Acceptance to degree course in WIT

2012    Capacity Building (Community Forums) Certificate of Completion.

2012     Manual Handling Instructor’s Certificate …Anderlift, Glanmire  .    Distinction   ….  (FETAC-6)

2012     Safe Pass (100% score).  …. Dungarvan Enterprise Board, Dungarvan ….

2012     Train the Trainer. MCX Training, Skillnet, Waterford…..    ……      Meritorious   …..(FETAC-6)

2012     HACCP Food Safety. FSPA, Kenturk via FC                   …….     Meritorious   ….  (FETAC-5)

2012     Microsoft Word 2007/10 Advanced. Waterford Chamber, Skillnet.

2012     First Aid (Community Responder) and Cardiac First Response (Pre-Hospital Emergency Care).

2012     e-Marketing and Promotion (evening course) WIT. Higher Certificate…    …..(FETAC-6)

2012     Heritage  Business (part-time) Postgraduate Certificate, Trinity St David, Wales.

Currently studying for a degree in tourism with Fáilte Ireland in W.I.T. (BSc Small Enterprise Management).

Presently helping to run Glenribbeen Eco Lodge B&B and Self-Catering, the only accommodation provider in south of Ireland with EU Eco Label (Green Flower Award).

Presently working as music teacher on a 1 on 1 basis and running a B&B+ Self Catering. I also teach archery and work with a Viking Re-enactment Society and am a First Aid Community Responder (FACR).

Career History

1978     Travelled extensively in Europe and N.Africa playing music and working at technical drawing jobs.

1980     Contracted for temporary work for 12 months in Amsterdam. Asked to stay on on a caretaker-basis while a work colleague travelled for a year. Stayed on primarily due to having been in a music band.

1982     Started ‘Small Building and Renovation Company’ renovating old Amsterdam Canal Houses and (later) classic boats; work came mostly via the museums and Amsterdam City Council. Some technical drawing for Fokker aircraft.

1986     Studied boat electronics and expanded renovation company (O’Connor Decoration) to include boat restoration

1998   Returned to Ireland. Purchased and renovated a property near Lismore Co. Waterford as B&B. Priority being the music school and eco-friendly-tourism. All renovations were designed to be as eco-friendly as possible and to further enhance the ‘green-build’ of the house as learned while studying Domestic Sustainable Energy course at Clonmel IT.

2007    Opened self-catering apartment under the B&B which sleeps 5.

2008     I worked hard to feature in RTE’s ‘At Your Service’ programme; they researched and selected our B&B business specifically due to our eco projects. Several repeats were broadcast.Also British TV (SkyTV) in Nov 2012.

2009 – 10       I’ve won various awards within the tourism industry (including Nomination for Small Business Enterprise Award 2010) and been accepted for BSC Small Business Enterprise degree course. 6 modules Enterprise, Networking and Marketing have been completed and passed so far.

2011     I have passed two modules in ECO UNESCO Sustainable Development.

Our Ethos is to create a holiday environment that doesn’t cost the earth.

                          I believe that we can provide a holiday experience without the footprint.

Ongoing:     Developing eco-projects and alternate fuels. We received E.U. ‘Green Flower Flag’ for Ecological Accommodation Businesses in spring 2009. It is the only ‘Green Flag’ south of Leitrim and one of only 125 in Europe. We were also awarded The Irish Green Hospitality (Gold) Award 2010 and the Georgina Campbell ‘good food’ Award. My work for the “Certificate in Tourism Business Practice” meant I won a nomination for the Fáilte Ireland Business Enterprise Awards 2010.

Presently:      working as music & archery teacher privately with individuals and in small groups, member of Lismore Community Response Team. I have been Class Representative for our BSc class WIT since Sept 2011.

Hobbies include: playing various musical instruments, archery, orienteering, water sports (Advanced PADI), working on ecological projects – my own and those of friends and neighbours.

For entertainment I watch rugby and hurling, I also like to garden and read. I run an eco-blog.

 I run FaceBook Pages Glenribbeen, Knockmealdown Vee.