The timing could not have been more appropriate as the publication this week of the British government's economic report on the environment- the 'Stern Report'- clearly shows the catastrophe the world faces unless urgent measures are undertaken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It warns of the climatic effects of the destruction of wildlife habitats and the possibility that over 40% of species could become extinct this century.
Planting trees and creating urban forests will not only create habitats for wildlife but also lower greenhouse gasesThanks to some funding from Galway City Council/Galway City Development Board/Galway Education Centre and the support of dozens of unpaid volunteers from a plethora of organisations (college departments, Marine Institute, BirdWatch Galway, 'Crann', National Aquarium etc), we were able to provide a variety of opportunities for local people to appreciate for the first time the wonderful variety of plants and animals that exists inside our municipal boundaries.
A Cornucopia of Wildlife Habitats
Some of the most important public events included a talk on the 58 most significant natural habitats in the city; a major conference at the Environmental Change Institute, Galway University on how best to integrate the planning of green zones into urban development and a public lecture on how to create a wildlife-friendly garden .
However, we were particularly disappointed with the total failure of any politician, developer, or engineer, planner or parks personnel from City Hall to attend the university Conference on 'Building a Diverse Galway'. After all, the event was organised primarily for their benefit!
This new committee will comprise representatives from each of the relevant City Council departments (e.g. Planning, Roads, Parks), the Mayor (ex-officio) & an equal number from other important city stakeholders such as the National Parks & Wildlife Service, BirdWatch Galway, Western Regional Fisheries Board & An Taisce.
It will met for a limited period in order to draft a specific set of proposals to be completed & presented to City Council by Feb/March 2007
The proposals will include putting in place a ‘pilot’ management plan for a selected local biodiversity area & an 'ecological corridor' (or what the Americans call a 'Green Highways'!)
Finally it will lay down the terms & methods for an annual review or monitoring of the 58 habitats as listed in the Inventory Report