GAA clubs sign up to fight climate change
This week, GAA, LGFA and Camogie club representatives from across the island of Ireland joined Green Club orientation events to commit to action in their clubs and communities to combat climate change and protect their natural environment.
The GAA Green Club Programme, which has been running since January 2021, provides practical support and guidance to GAA clubs in raising awareness and implementing environmentally sustainable actions in their clubs and communities.
During the programme’s pilot phase, 40 pioneering Green Clubs implemented a range of actions across the areas of Energy, Water, Water, Biodiversity and Travel & Transport to enhance the sustainability of their grounds and games, to engage their membership in sustainability action and to future-proof their grounds against the impacts and challenges of climate change.
Clubs like Lámh Dhearg (Antrim), Strabane Sigersons (Tyrone)and Buncrana (Donegal) in Ulster to Affane-Cappoquin (Waterford), Midleton GAA (Cork) and Tralee Parnells (Kerry) in Munster to Ballycumber (Offaly) and Park-Rathensika (Laois) in Leinster and Clarinbridge (Galway) in Connacht have undertaken green actions large and small, from gear swaps and banning single-use plastic bottles to community river-bank restoration projects, from pitch and clubhouse energy upgrades to tree-planting, and from creating biodiversity-rich walkways to running safe cycling programmes.
Padraig Fallon, Chair of the Green Club Committee and proud member of the Green Team in his own club, Clan na Gael in Louth, said “The success of the Green Club programme to date has been immensely heartening. In Clan na Gael, we have seen how our sustainable energy action plan, which included a full retrofit of our clubhouse and an upgrade of our pitch lighting to LED, has cut our carbon footprint massively and has resulted in savings that have allowed our club to operate comfortably even in the face of rising energy costs. The improvements to our pitch and clubhouse also mean that our club is busier and more full of life than ever.
“There was huge interest from clubs around the country in joining the new phase of the programme. This is a very exciting and rewarding programme to be involved with and the GAA and our Green Club partners are looking forward to supporting clubs in a wide-range of practical, impactful and innovative projects that will contribute to making our clubs a vibrant and sustainable part of our communities for a long time to come.”
Over 200 clubs are signed up to the next phase of the Green Club Programme in an 18-month commitment that will see each club form a Green Team, develop a sustainability action plan and adopt a Green Club charter before becoming certified as an official GAA Green Club.
The new recruits to the Green Club Programme will benefit from the recently-published Green Club Toolkit – a set of simple, practical and relevant resources and case studies across the areas of Energy, Water, Water, Biodiversity and Travel & Transport developed in collaboration with expert organisations North and South and with funding from the Department of Environmental, Climate and Communication especially for the GAA’s volunteer-led context.
The Green Club Toolkit is an open access resource that is available at https://learning.gaa.ie/greenclub. The GAA Green Club Programme and Toolkit have been developed in partnership with the Climate Action Regional Offices (CARO) with the guidance and expert input of Sustainable NI, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Action Renewables, the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPro), Uisce Éireann, NI Water, the Regional Waste Management Offices, Keep NI Beautiful, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, RSPB NI, the National Transport Authority (NTA), the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the NI Executive’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
For more information, visit https://www.gaa.ie/greenclub