Ep 54. Climate Change: Parenting, Pensions & CETA – Paul McCormack Cooney


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Episode 54 is coming from the vaults as I interviewed fellow activist Paul McCormack Cooney a few months ago. Paul is another absolutely wonderful human I got to know through Extinction Rebellion. He recently started a blog called Climate Dad which despite being a work in progress, I definitely recommend checking out! And you can follow Paul on Twitter @PaulMcCC or Instagram @climatedad.ie.

We cover some everyday topics like parenting, but we also touch on the ever-lasting, controversial CETA, a trade agreement you may have heard of… Have a listen and let me know what you think!

  • [04:15] A bit about Paul & what sparked his eco consciousness.
  • [10:10] Cool Planet & Extinction Rebellion.
  • [18:00] Linking Paul’s work in the Pension sector to our climate action perception.
  • [23:30] Starting his blog, Climate Dad.
  • [25:35] Talking to his kids about Climate Change.
  • [31:35] Dealing with burnout.
  • [34:50] A quick guide to CETA.
  • [41:30] Random questions!

As mentioned, CETA is a big, complicated topic but I recommend checking out Paul's blogpost on it, and searching and signing all the petitions you can find about it, & emailing TDs.

Also mentioned:


53. The Power of Swapping Disposable Cups – Sorcha, Conscious Cup Campaign

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For episode 53 I go back to the basics of environmental issues and talk about the infamous single use polluter: disposable coffee cups. For this, there's none other to talk to other than Sorcha Kavanagh from The Conscious Cup Campaign. This is a programme not just encouraging individuals to bring a reuseable cup, but encouraging cafés and businesses to drive the change forward and lead by example. Follow the Conscious Cup Campaign on Twitter @CCCampaign_Irl or Instagram @consciouscupcampaign.

We cover a lot, including:

  • [05:10] How the Conscious Cup Campaign started.
  • [08:20] Sorcha’s personal journey to being eco-conscious.
  • [11:50] Disposable cup statistics in Ireland.
  • [16:25] Where we currently stand regarding reuseable cups and COVID.
  • [21:45] Advice for customers on how to encourage cafés they frequent to join the campaign.
  • [28:00] Are compostable cups much better?
  • [31:55] In the grand scheme of the climate crisis, is having a reuseable cup really going to solve things?
  • [35:10] Reuseable cup brand/type favourites.
  • [37:30] Lucy O'Sullivan's 2.4km cycle for Jigsaw & The Conscious Cup Campaign along the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle. Click this link to donate!

Also mentioned:

Examples of cafés currently accepting reuseables (and many small, independent cafés are too!):

  • Starbucks
  • Sprout
  • Costa
  • Lolly & Cooks
  • Butlers

Ep 52. Let’s Talk Trees – Orla Ní Dhúill, Native Woodland Trust

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I can't believe it's taken me until episode 52 to dedicate an interview to trees! Shocking behaviour, but this lovely chat with Orla makes up for it. You can follow Orla on Twitter @NaturallyOrla & don't forget to listen to her podcast The Broad Leaf! You can find out more about The Native Woodland Trust on their website and stay up to date with them on Twitter @NativeWoodTrust.

  • [04:10] An intro from Orla and her journey to working with woodlands.
  • [09:15] Who The Native Woodland Trust are and what they do.
  • [11:20] How people can get involved.
  • [14:15] Finding local seeds and where to plant (or IF to plant!).
  • [24:15] The new 'Robot Trees' built in Cork.
  • [30:55] Ireland’s historic foresty & 'ancient' woodlands.
  • [37:55] Systemic changes that need to happen to help preserve & restore woodland in Ireland & how farmers/land owners can benefit.
  • [41:50] CAP.
  • [44:30] Random questions!

Also Mentioned:


Ep 51. Supporting Theatre to Inspire Climate Action – Eva O’Connor & Hildegard Ryan

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In episode 51 I chatted to artists Eva O'Connor and Hildegard Ryan about using the world of theatre to spark discussion and inspire change. Their theatre company, Sunday's Child, has a play called Afloat, streaming all this month (August 2021) as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I'd advise you to support it and hopefully this discussion will inspire you to make more art, or bring more art into your life!

  • [04:00] A bit about Eva & Hilde and what sparked their eco-consciousness.
  • [08:20] Their journey to veganism.
  • [11:40] What Afloat is about.
  • [13:20] Stand-out climate facts found in researching the play.
  • [21:45] A piece of art that moved them.
  • [26:00] Other swaps to be eco conscious & how they manage their climate anxiety.
  • [29:00] Random questions.



Ep 50. Empowering the Youth & Women in India – Tess

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Tess is a 17 year old activist with many projects up her sleeve! I got to talk to her about these as well as how the climate crisis is impacting India & what we can, and should, do to help. She is also a fellow Climate Ambassador!

  • [04:35] Tess’s introduction and what prompted her to be a climate justice activist.
  • [07:50] What prompted social justice activism.
  • [12:10] Examples of how climate change has affected India.
  • [18:00] How the climate crisis is a gender issue.
  • [20:40] Tess’s advice for how we can help these communities in India.
  • [23:50] The Re-Earth initiative & the many other projects Tess works on like Able2Change app & Climate Assembly Eire.
  • [30:20] What obstacles Tess has met as a young person in the climate movement.
  • [35:20] How people can get involved with the project she’s involved in.
  • [38:10] What would you ask of older generations?
  • [40:20] Random questions!

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Ep 49. Community Ownership of Renewable Energy – Sarah Fogarty, Community Power

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For episode 49 I chatted to Sarah Fogarty from Community Power about community-led renewable energy sources. The work this group has done has laid the groundwork to make it easier for communities across Ireland to build and set up their own own grids. It's stellar! I hope you enjoy this solution-based chat:

  • [04:10] Current fossil fuel usage and cons and pros not mentioned in the interview.
  • [08:30] Pros & cons of renewables.
  • [10:15] Nuclear power.
  • [13:20] Sarah's introduction and background.
  • [21:15] Renewable & Non-renewable definitions.
  • [25:30] What is Community Power & how did they start?
  • [30:45] Can people in rented accommodation make the switch?
  • [32:40] What can these 5ghz of wind turbines generate?
  • [36:45] The attitude of not liking them & how community ownership benefits
  • [40:30] The environmental benefits & cons
  • [48:40] What needs to be done to achieve a system change that would allow for the growth and accessibility of renewable energy.

Also mentioned:


Ep 48. Why We Need a Youth-Led Climate Movement – Saoirse Exton

Saoirse Exton is a 16 year old climate activist from Limerick who is part of many groups, all trying to make the world a better place, from the Friday's For Future movement to the Irish Second-Level Student's Union. She is a remarkable soul and I can't wait for you to listen to this chat with her, which as you'll hear from the laughs, I thoroughly enjoyed having!

You can follow Saoirse on Twitter @saoirse_exton or Instagram at @saoirse_exton.

  • [07:50] Saoirse introduces herself & journey to activism.
  • [11:05] What is climate justice?
  • [14:40] Young people not being heard.
  • [20:00] How Saoirse thinks adults should talk to kids about climate change.
  • [25:10] Is missing a portion of school on a Friday really the best way to achieve climate action?
  • [27:45] The kind of support, if any, Saoirse has received from school for climate protests.
  • [29:45] How do people get involved with Friday’s For Future?
  • [32:25] Individual versus system change.
  • [35:10] Her experience with the Climate Ambassador Programme.
  • [37:25] How does Saoirse feel about the future?
  • [39:00] Random Questions!

Also worth checking out is the Irish podcast for kids (but I really love it!) on climate change called Ecolution. Saoirse features on episode 26.

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Ep 47. A Journey to Veganism via an inside look into Irish farms & slaughterhouses

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I stumbled across Niamh's story via Earthy Cáilíní on Instagram. Niamh is now working as a vet and began her studies as a meat loving omnivore, to finish them as a vegan, influenced to change by what she saw during her placement. I asked her to come and chat about her story and as animal welfare is something very close to her heart, she was more than happy to come on. It's a heavy episode, but an important one.

We chat about:

  • [04:20] Environmental impacts of animal agriculture.
  • [09:30] Niamh introduces herself.
  • [13:50] The first class in which she began to question things.
  • [18:50] A pig farm.
  • [28:50] A sheep farm.
  • [35:10] Chicken farming.
  • [44:30] Disease & antibiotics.
  • [55:00] A dairy farm.
  • [01:04:00] Religious slaughter in Ireland.
  • [01:10:40] Slaughterhouse workers.
  • [01:14:00] How Niamh deals with euthanasia in work.
  • [01:18:00] Niamh's other eco habits & random questions.


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Calls To Action:

Go Vegan - Sign up to Challenge 22 for free where you'll get nutrition tutoring. If you can't go vegan, try base your diet on as many plant based foods as possible. If you need help or want more suggested resources for this, please get in touch!

Get active with protest groups. We need system and policy change. Message them to get involved!

NARA (National Animal Rights Association) have been doing brilliant work in Ireland from getting fur farming banned to now working on the banning of hare coursing.

Animal Rebellion Ireland (groups exist worldwide too) are calling for a transition to a plant based food system for the sake of the planet as well as animals. As talked about in episode 44 with Zac Lumley, non violent civil disobedience is an extremely effective tactic and that's what ARI are about.

Support investigative journalism like Noteworthy.ie who have specific call-outs for various campaigns.

Donate to, and volunteer for, animal sanctuaries like Eden, Little Ones Microsanctuary, Back Into Daylight and Heartstone Veganic Sanctuary.

Sign petitions, like this one to stop the proposed development of another pig factory farm.


Ep 46. From Waste to Watches (& Sunnies!) – Eoin McGuinness, Crann

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Eoin McGuinness is behind Crann, an Irish company that sells watches and sunglasses, made from what others would consider to be waste. I hope you enjoy this chat as much as I enjoyed having it! Give them a follow to on Instagram @crann.co.

  • [08:20] What sparked Eoin to be eco-conscious.
  • [20:25] How Crann came about.
  • [16:20] How the sunglasses and watches are made and where the materials are sourced.
  • [20:35] Is it upcycling or downcycling? And how are Crann carbon neutral?
  • [25:50] What's the packaging like?
  • [28:10] Do you remember your first customers?
  • [31:10] UV, blue light filtering and lifetime warranties.
  • [36:30] Random questions!



Ep 45. Helping Hedgehogs – Elaine O’Riordan

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For episode 45 I interviewed Elaine O'Riordan, the woman behind the Irish Hedgehog survey to chat about, you guessed it, hedgehogs! Have a listen, and don't forget to check out www.irishhedgehogsurvey.com to get involved.

If you find a sick or injured hedgehog in Ireland, you can call the WRI Wildlife Hospital on 01 6877766 or 0818 877766

  • [02:45] Correction in last week's episode.
  • [08:30] Get to know Elaine.
  • [13:00] The first hedgehog encounter for Elaine.
  • [15:00] Hedgehogs in Ireland breed & population.
  • [18:00] How they live and spend their time.
  • [23:00] Why should we survey them.
  • [30:45] How to participate in the survey.
  • [33:15] Biggest threats to hedgehogs in Ireland today.
  • [36:00] Other ways we can help them and what food to leave out for them.
  • [41:45] What to do if you find an injured hedgehog.
  • [45:00] Keeping hedgehogs as pets.
  • [47:30] Random questions!