I CAME into the political arena very reluctantly. It all started with a phone call. I answered and listened, somewhat baffled as Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he’d like me to run in the European elections.
I explained that I was into activism, not politics. He tried to persuade me that within the Green movement the two went hand in hand. The rest, as they say, is history.We recently celebrated 40 years of the existence of the Green Party in Ireland.
Over those years, the party message has remained the same and it has always been about much more than politics. Nowadays the Green message resonates Globally with increasing urgency.
Politics can be a slow-burner, but the past year has showed us that being Green can get things done. At a local level, at a national level, and at a European level.
A couple of weeks ago, after a long year of hard, hard work in the European Parliament, where I’m now working as an MEP, we reached a deal on the Environment Action Programme to 2030.
It’s massive, complex, important legislation on the environment and climate change. It’s certainly good news that we reached the deal and I’m certainly proud that I was the Rapporteur/ the European Parliament’s lead negotiator. But getting the deal across the line is just the start, because achieving the deal wasn’t about ‘winning,’ it’s about saving lives in a climate and biodiversity emergency. I’ve been a climate, biodiversity and peace activist for most of my life. The clue is in the name. Activism equals Action.
The Environment Action Programme aligns with my life’s work. It gives legislative backing to ensure that the right action happens in areas that can create positive change for planet and people in areas such as the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and moving beyond GDP to a Wellbeing Economy.
For that action to unfold, massive work and massive commitments are vital.The will is there. The action is happening. We’re seeing it on the ground here in Ireland. And as I reflect on the past year and on a lifetime of activism, I’m proud to see solid, impressive, meaningful and impactful action happening as a result of the hard slog of my team and fellow party members, each and every one of them activists to the core.
The past year has given all of us a little more perspective on what really matters. The climate and biodiversity emergency has come into focus in a very real way, as we have all, some more than others, faced the collective trauma of making our way through a global health emergency. Action around the pandemic has shown what collective movement can do.
On tackling the climate and biodiversity emergency, we are all getting things done – at a family level, at a community level, at an individual level. We have a massive fight on our hands.
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