Climate Change Action: Don't Let This Be a One Day Wonder.

In spite of the winds and downpours, there was a very good turnout at today's Climate Action protest in Galway. It was lovely to see families, teenagers, students, grandparents, community activists, artists, eco-campaigners, teachers, feminists and progressive politicos in today's march through the city centre and subsequent rally in historic Spanish Arch.
The organisers - Transition Galway - did a great job and there were some great speeches.
Wonderful to see veteran campaigners such as Caoimhin Ó Maolallaigh, Kieran Cunnane, Liz Hackett, Seamus Diskin, Betty & Jim Gosling, Johnny Duhan, Coralie Mureau, John Cunningham, Iona & Daibhi O'Croinin are still fighting the good fight for justice.
I was honoured to be asked by Caoimhín Ó Maolallaigh to be one of the speakers at the event.

My message was that...

The planet is being increasingly exploited, desecrated and raped to satisfy the desires and greed of global/national elites who have managed to make so many of us become addicted to fossil fuels and consumerism. Thanks to man-made climate change and its associated deforestation, habitat loss, road construction, urban sprawl and commercial farming, we are witnessing a Mass Extinction not seen for millions of years.
We are been lulled into digging the graves of wildlife and for generations of humans not yet born.
Due to the power of fossil fuels corporations and the 'need' to continue to promote national consumerism, governments are failing to show leadership.

Sometimes we can feel powerless in the face of global scale of climate change. Melting glaciers, rising sea levels, acidic oceans, disappearing islands in the Pacific, threatened extinction of rhinos, tigers and elephants, climate conflicts in Asia/Africa, and deforestation in South America and Central Africa may make us feel that we are trying to hold back a tsunami with a pitchfork. Hence we can be dismissed by cynics as just grains of sand on a beach who tell us that personal greed (me-feinism) combined with the influence/wealth of the fossil fuels corporation and their poltical lackeys are too powerful to overcome.
But the answer is YES we are grains of sand on a beach. But without the grains of sand there is no beach. We need to follow the green dictum of "Think Global, Act Local" and that progressive change in society for eons has come from grassroots people power. And Galway is where we start and it is where local communities have won victories for the common good and the environment against the forces of conservatism over the last decade. Shining examples are the "No to Incineration, Yes to Recyling"; the halting of a four lane highway through Terryland Forest Park; Merlin Woods...

But concerned Galwegians like all those on the march today must stay together and stay active and make the case for Climate Change reversal a cause for everyone. Technology can help us. But the key priority is to reconnect with Nature and rediscover its sense of wonder and importance. In the case of the Terryland Forest Park, we are working with scientists, technologists, teachers and local residents to make this potentially great natural resource into a major Outdoor Classroom and Outdoor Laboratory, a Nature Play and Leisure facility for local schools, collages and the general public.
The almost 100,000 native Irish trees that people planted in this community-council-made forest since 2000 have had enormous benefits to the health of the planet. Science has shown that these 100,000 trees have absorbed 3,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide; offset the climate impact of 800 cars for one year; supply oxgyen for 400,000 people for one day; provide 4.64 billion euros worth of air pollution controls for 50 years and have enriched biodiversity by providing home to so many species of flora and fauna.
So by working together, we the ordinary people of Galway can make a positive difference globally. Yes we can!

ISIS - An Ideology of Hate, Death & Destruction

Followers of the Islamic Caliphate (ISIS) were responsible for the massacre of at least 128 men and women enjoying a night socialising with friends and family in Paris. In the same week these religious Nazis massacred people on a popular shopping street in Beirut, at a funeral in Baghdad and at a mosque in Yemen.
In Syria-Iraq, they are attempting to obliterate millennia-old cultures by brutally exterminating ancient peoples such as the Yazidis and  by blowing up Palmyra and Nineveh.
Their ideology is based on a belief that there is no place on Earth or in heaven for atheists, agnostics, secularists, gays, feminists, democrats, socialists, Christians, Yazidis, Druze, Bahais, Hindus, Buddists, pagans, Jews, Alawites, Shiites and other Muslims that don't follow their warped version of Islam.

ISIS is funded and spiritually inspired by a misogynist religious fundamentalist elite in the Arabian peninsula whose wealth is based on oil. From the time of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, governments in USA, Britain, France, Israel, Pakistan and Turkey have armed jihadis to overthrow secular or secular tolerant regimes in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Colonial Israel and Wahhabi Saudi Arabia were supported no matter what their crimes. The illegal Iraq war led by Bush and Blair triggered the rise of jihadism in the Levant and Iraq.
If the people of the Middle East of all faiths and no faiths are to live in peace and with justice, the duplicity towards ISIS and other jihadis as well as the Israeli occupation/colonisation of the West Bank has to end.
But what must not happen is a loss of civil liberties in Europe nor an intolerance towards others. ISIS and other jihadis are trying to fan the flames of a religious war and are using terms such as crusades and infidels as part of this campaign of hate. We must not fall into this trap. Tolerance and respect must be the key words and deeds.

First Steps in Organising a Digital Makers' Fair for Galway

Saturday morning Coderdojo class in NUI Galway
The annual Galway Science & Technology Festival Fair that will take place in NUI Galway this year on Sunday November 22nd is one of the largest one-day celebrations of science in Europe, attracting over 20,000 visitors. 
It is recognised as an important showcase of Galway-based industrial technologies, third level research and junior science projects.
091Labs demoing 3D printing and other electronics
The event represents a wonderful opportunity for those organisations and individuals involved in the local digital makers' movement to come together under a common banner to promote the creativity, variety and scale of this almost parallel universe existing within Galway much of it populated by volunteer enthusiasts. Groups such as the third level student computer societies, 091Labs, gaming groups, Coderdojos from across city and county, the Computer and Communications Museum, ham radio operatives, Google Women Techmakers etc. provide an invaluable buzz, digital learning and creative dimension to the region.  
Open Day at Computer & Communications Museum of Ireland at Insight NUI Galway
A few weeks ago, Coderdojo Galway city and Coderdojo Athenry showed what could be done by their hosting of a successful pop-up hands-ons show in the city centre as part of the promotion for the Galway City of Culture 2020 bid which included 3D printing, Minecraft, and Arduino activities.
Minecraft program of Athenry Castle with Coderdojo Athenry
I am inviting those interested in organising a distinct Digital Makers presence at this year's Galway Science & Technology Festival Fair to attend a meeting at 7pm this Monday (Nov 9th) in the Conference Room of the Insight Centre for Data Anatyics, DERI Building, Dangan Business Park.

Computer Museum, Coderdojo & 091Labs in action at Volvo Ocean Race Village
Please feel free to spread the word and encourage others to come along and take part in this initiative. 
Robotics in action at Codedojo Pop-up store at Galway2020 HQ

Save the Bees: Help in Flowering a Hazel Wood

Planting wildflowers in Terryland Forest Park
Many of Ireland’s native wildflowers face extinction due to pollution, invasive species, urbanization, loss of habitat and intensive commercial farming. The use of pesticides and herbicides in farming in order to increase specific crop yields has meant that wildflowers and pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies are being poisoned. Hence flora and fauna species are declining alarmingly and a countryside that was once populated with flowers representing all the colours of the rainbows, that throbbed to the sounds of a wide of variety bees and birds is sadly becoming a thing of the past.
Help reverse this process and to save Ireland’s indigenous flowers and associated pollinating insects and bats. Under the expert tutelage of Padraic Keirns, Galway Field Studies, Conservation Volunteers Galway, Conservation Volunteers Terryland Forest Park, and NUI Galway are once again teaming up to organise another major re-flowering of the woodlands of Terryland Forest Park

This time it will be in the hazel woods section of the forest park behind Sandyvale Lawn housing estate. The plants involved include sanacle, sorrel, dogrose, tutsan, yellow pimpernel, bugle, fern, elder and stitchworth and well as thousands upon thousands of meadowsweet. So we ask you to please join us at 11.30am on Saturday November 14th to plant approximately 600 wildflowers such as sanicle, bluebell, wild rose and honeysuckle.
Rendezvous: 11:30am at the back of Sandyvale Lawn , at the side entrance to Terryland Forest Park