EPA Partners TCD for Trinity Week events. Ecological Footprints- What Size Are You?

Date released: May 14 2009

As part of the celebrations for Trinity Week this year, the Environmental Protection Agency has combined with Trinity College to produce a multi-faceted day-long programme on Friday 15th May.

The programme opens with former President, Mary Robinson. Trinity College researchers will present four post graduate research projects funded by the EPA at 2pm.  Gavin Harte, the well-known environmental sustainability spokesperson, will present a lecture on behalf of the EPA at 3.15 pm.  The presentation Ecological Footprints - What Size Are You? is an exciting mix of photographs, video clips, and animations that documents the effect that humanity’s footprint is having on the planet, its impacts and what we can do about it. It will be followed directly by a roundtable discussion on the topic.

Micheál O’Cinnéide, EPA Director, Office of Communcations and Corporate Services said,

“The EPA is delighted to be associated with Trinity Week this year.  Through our Research programmes since 2000, the EPA has funded 78 projects led by Trinity College. The projects are focused on finding pioneering solutions for environmental problems or providing valuable information to underpin environmental reporting and decision making. Trinity has built up a critical mass of research expertise, especially in the ares of water management and biodiversity.”

Mr O’Cinnéide continued,

“We are delighted that  some of these valuable projects are being brought to the public’s attention during Trinity Week.  The projects range from Rachel Kavanagh’s study of  how the public becomes involved in biodiversity planning,  Maria Long’s project looking at Irish farmed landscape and its implications for land-use change, Jens Dauber’s ‘Impacts of energy crops on biodiversity’ to Chloé Galley on how to improve public access to Biodiversity information. We welcome the inclusion of Gavin Harte, who will present his innovative and thought-provoking lecture on ecological footprints.”

Gavin Harte explained his talk:

“Over the last 20 years, humanity has been driving a global ecological credit crunch with the current economic turmoil serving as a stark reminder of the consequences of living beyond our means. Since the middle of the 1980s humanities demands on nature has exceeded our planets ability to regenerate and we are using more than planet can sustainably provide.”

“Ecological footprints are a scientific measure of just how much it takes to support everything we do - eating, driving, buying stuff etc. The ecological footprint lets us measure how much nature we have, how much we use and who uses what. It measures the area of productive land and water an individual, a city, or all of humanity requires to provide the resources it needs and to absorb our wastes using current technology and management systems.”

Entrance to events at the Science Gallery and during Trinity Week is free. Members of the public can register their seat at trinityweek@tcd.ie


Editor’s Notes:

1. Environmental Footprints Symposium
The Symposium is being held by TCD in association with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Edmund Burke Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College, Dublin
9.30am – 5.15pm: The morning opens with Dr Mary Robinson, Chancellor of the University discussing Climate Justice, and continues with a screening of ‘The Water Diary’ from Academy Award winning Director Jane Campion which will initiate a debate led by Micheál Collins from Millennium Development Goals and NGO’s from Oxfam, Irish Aid & TCD.  Later in the afternoon will see four presentations from EPA funded post graduate research programmes in TCD, plus an exciting presentation from Gavin Harte (ESD – Education For Sustainable Development) on Ecological Footprints - What Size Are You?  

2. Gavin Harte
Gavin Harte has been is a high profile spokesperson on environmental and sustainability issues in Ireland for many years. He was the founder of Ireland’s first eco-village in Cloughjordan Co Tipperary. He has worked as an educator, a TV presenter and a musician and as national director of An Taisce. With RTE he presented the very popular travel series "Across the Line", backpacking overland from Dublin to Australia on a budget of just £25 a day. Currently Gavin is working with homeowners to help them set up Energy Smart Communities and improve the energy efficiency of their homes. He is also working with Friends of the Earth communicating climate change so people can understand. His Occasional Lecture series on Sustainable Living is co-sponsored by the EPA. Visit http://esdtraining.net/ for further information.

The EPA research programme for the period 2007-2013 is entitled Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for the Environment (STRIVE) and is based on the following:

  • the Environmental Research Sub-programmes of the National Development Plan 2007-2013; 
  • the Government’s Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation launched in 2006; 
  • the EPA’s most recent assessments of Ireland’s environment; 
  • the EPA’s strategy 2020 Vision – Protecting and Improving Ireland’s Environment; 
  • a series of workshops organised by the Agency, mainly during 2006, involving environmental policymakers, managers and researchers; 
  • the experience gained in previous EPA research programmes.

It also takes account of developments at EU level in respect of current environment and research programmes and of the wider international context.

The purpose of the programme is to protect and improve the natural environment by addressing key environmental management issues through the provision of world-class scientific knowledge generated through a vibrant, competitive programme of research developed supported and co-ordinated by EPA. Download the EPA STRIVE Research Programme 2007-2013.

The funding for the programme is provided from a number of sources:

  • €93 million provided in the Environmental Research Sub-programme of the NDP 2007-2013; 
  • €8 million provided for research in aspects of climate change, transboundary pollution and earth observation under the Inter Departmental Committee for the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (IDC-SSTI);
  • Co-funding with other state agencies and funding groups  for projects / themes where such an arrangement would deliver  synergies and increase the utilisation of results;
  • EPA core funding for staffing the management of the programme.

Other sources of funding for environmental research under the programme will continue to be developed as appropriate.

Further information: Niamh Leahy, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours)