Within the past ten years, there have been key moments where we have taken a step back and thought 'I am so proud to be Irish'. In 2015, when Ireland became the first country to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote, when we repealed the 8th by a landslide vote and now becoming the second country in the world to declare a climate change emergency.
The move came after a Fianna Fáil amendment to the Oireachtas report on Climate Action was accepted by both the Government and Opposition parties without a vote. Green Party leader Eamon Ryan praised the move which he described as happening under 'unusual circumstances'. He also warned that 'declaring an emergency means absolutely nothing unless there is action to back it up. That means the Government having to do things they don't want to do'
Glad Dail Eireann (in unusual circumstances) has just declared a climate & biodiversity emergency & has endorsed the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action https://t.co/M6d66BfNrq We now must act on the report, with a #GreenNewDeal delivering a #JustTransition pic.twitter.com/z31N5R9D1d
— Eamon Ryan (@EamonRyan) May 9, 2019
Ireland is following in the footsteps of The United Kingdom who become the first country to declare the emergency on May 1st, following climate change activist Greta Thunberg compelling speech to parliament.
Greta took to Twitter to congratulate Ireland for this positive step towards a more sustainable future, posing the question 'Who's next?'
— (@GretaThunberg) May 9, 2019
The 16-year-old activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee is a key protagonist in climate change action and is also behind the climate action strikes in schools across the globe in March of this year.
The move to declare a climate change emergency follows Extinction Rebellion climate change protests that took place in London and Dublin last month which called for climate action. Further adding to the need for action now, a recent UN report highlighted nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history with over one million animal and plant species in danger of extinction.