Ireland’s Sustainability Achievement
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The Green Isle to Fully Divest from Fossil Fuels
This week the Irish Parliament voted to pull its investments from fossil fuel companies (The Guardian). What this means exactly is that it will divest the country from any funds currently supporting coal, gas, peat and petroleum.
The national fund, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), currently represents €8.9 billion and is meant to support the long term employment and economic needs of the republic. Of this total amount, over €300m is invested in over 150 different fossil fuel companies. This is what parliament is looking to change.
Cheers to Planetary Health
In so doing, Ireland is actually the world’s first country to fully divest from fossil fuels. A number of cities (see NYC is Stepping Up), organizations, and investment funds have already made the commitment, but Ireland is formally the first.
Cutting off the flow of public funds to companies that are putting future generations in danger is certainly the logical path forward. Other countries now need to follow suit as quickly as possible. However, these kind of milestones don’t happen through osmosis. It takes social activism and public pressure to help design a sustainable future.
Celebrating the Change-makers
Once again environmental legislation was able to come to pass as a result of dedicated individuals who were willing to put in the effort (see Change is Possible). Some key organizations included Trócaire, an association committed to social justice and humanitarian work that is affiliated with the Catholic Church.
In addition, there were contributions from the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), a social justice oriented non-for-profit that supported the legal framework for the new bill. Through their efforts and the voices of concerned citizens, parliamentary members from a range of parties voted the bill into law. This week’s accomplishment proves that implementing sustainable policy is possible.