"The fact that we are sitting in their seats today should serve as a massive embarrassment to them."
Ireland's first ever Youth Assembly on climate change was held in the Dáil on Friday.
Over 150 young people from around the country gathered to discuss what Ireland needs to do to tackle environmental issues and the current climate crisis.
Once the debate concluded, a series of recommendations on climate change were announced:
- From your corner store to your supermarket, we call on the house to incentivise and obligate the installation of glass doors on open refrigerators.
- For Ireland to ban the importation of fracked gas and invest solely in renewables.
- Implementing measures that will allow that Irish goods be both eco-sustainable and affordable in todays’ Irish Market.
- Implement a tiered tax on emissions from large companies including those under capital Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). This tax must be increased every year while threshold decreases, shifting the burden from individuals to corporations.
- Investment in industrial hemp facilities to provide a viable, sustainable and alternative land use for farmers as well as employment in rural Ireland.
- A labeling and pricing system showing the climate impact of food products based on criteria such as impact of packaging and distance traveled.
- Ireland to outlaw acts of ecocide – the widespread and systematic loss of ecosystems, including climate and cultural damage.
- Protect existing forests and make compulsory that at least 10% of all land owned for agricultural uses is dedicated to forestry.
- A targeted nationwide information campaign to educate the population about the climate crisis regarding the causes, the effects and the solutions.
- Mandatory “sustainability” education from primary level to the workplace including a new compulsory Junior Cycle and optional Leaving Certificate subject.
17-year-old Conal Boyle took to the floor to speak passionately about the mixed feelings he had while discussing climate change in the Dáil.
Boyle said that he was proud to be in a position to speak about such a serious topic, but that the Government should be ashamed that they have let it get this far.
He said: "Although it is a proud moment for all of us today, I personally feel it's a shame we need to be here in the first place.
"This shouldn't be a proud day for those in Government and this should not be used as another exercise in PR for them.
"The fact that we are sitting in their seats today should serve as a massive embarrassment to them - and I hope it is - as they have embarrassed this country at an international level when it comes to climate change."
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Boyle also said the granting of licences to drill off the west coast was proof that calls for action on climate change were falling on deaf ears.