Saving our Forests.

20 Jun


A bit of good news for Ireland yesterday. It was announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, that the sale of the harvesting rights of our state owned forests was not to be sold. In the Minister’s own words “now is not the time to proceed with the sale.”

It was also announced that Coillte is to be merged with Bord na Mona. Set up in 1946 for the purpose of peat harvesting… Bord na Mona has now diversified into garden products… waste recovery and renewable energy.  While BNM continues to destroy… actually most of them are destroyed… our bogs… ordinary folks who wish to save enough turf to heat their homes are being prevented from doing so. I digress…what worries me about this proposed merger is the direction that BNM is now taking. With most of the bogs in their ownership almost depleted they are now looking to other ways of making money.

Their recently appointed CEO recently launched the  new direction for the company which is entitled “A New Contract with Nature.”  Well the old contract destroyed the boglands in their care so I wonder what the new one will do.

I come from a small village in north Tipperary called Templetuohy. Bord na Mona was always a big employer here. Now that the bogs have been turned into deserts they have turned to renewable energy here. To be prescise..wind turbines. Lots of wind turbines…I don’t know exactly how many. These…as always…were built despite local opposition…at the beginning. Now more and more are going up and people don’t protest any more. “They will go ahead anyway so why waste our energy fighting a losing battle” is what people say.

So back to the forests. They have been saved…for now. Minister Coveney’s word were “not the appropriate time to sell”, does that mean the appropriate time may come. With Coillte merging with Bord na Mona are they seeing the potential for expansion of their renewable energy operations into the forests? A worrying thought indeed. There have been murmurings already of Coillte’s interest in having wind turbines in their forests. Two thousand wind turbines are to be erected in the Bog of Allen…covering 5 counties…this is going to be a huge blight on the landscape of the midlands.

As you may have guessed by now I don’t like wind turbines. In a small country like Ireland with a spread out population it’s very hard to erect wind turbines without being near someone’s home. People’s health and value of their properties have been ruined by these turbines. In the view of many…including myself…wind turbines should be in the sea.

Keep Ireland’s landscape beautiful…these turbines do not enhance it. Our forests are safe…for now. We must continue to use them…they are our resource…we need to show we care for them…want to continue to protect them. So go to your local forest whenever you can. You will feel refreshed, renewed and relaxed. You will also be helping to protect one of the people’s greatest assets.


25 Responses to “Saving our Forests.”

  1. John Willmott June 20, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Great post with your views and insights explaining more of what this means through your wonderful image inspiring writing style Bridget.

    • bridget June 20, 2013 at 10:37 am #

      Ah thanks John…you are too kind. x

  2. june June 20, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    I find this news very unsettling and upsetting and worrying, to say the least. Wind turbines are no friend to anyone anywhere except to the greedy fat cat money-maker globalists who want more and more money, more and more control, at the expense of our collective health, our natural resources and our beautiful planet. Along with being near the ocean and the mountains, being near or walking inside or through a forest is indeed nourishing and replenishing for the body, mind, soul and spirit. After reading the news about Coillte and Bord na Mona merging and more unhealthy, unnatural (not to mention UGLY!) wind turbines coming in (no matter how much we protest), I need to take a deep drink of natural beauty and serenity that only a nearby forest can quench.

    • gardendaze June 20, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

      I find your comment and June’s so interesting. We’re just starting to get into wind turbines over here–and people prefer them on land; they don’t want them in the seas!

      As a birder as well as a gardener, I’m concerned about their impact on birds (as well as on humans, of course!)

      And of course, we don’t–or haven’t yet erected them in the shocking numbers you describe.

      Just glad to hear that for the moment your forests are safe.


      • bridget June 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

        Thanks Carla, hopefully sense will prevail where the forests are concerned. I do find the merger between these 2 very sinister though. As to the birds, wind turbines are bound to affect the currents the use to fly on. When the big turbines were turned on in Arigna we had loads of birds crashing into the windows.

  3. cindyricksgers June 20, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    One bit of good news, as least for now. Hurray for that! This is a heart-breaking post, Bridget, as it spells out how much is lost. Ireland, being a small island, shows sooner the devastation that is being done the whole world over, for today’s profit without thought for tomorrow. Thanks!

    • bridget June 20, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

      and there’s still the fracking fight going on. If that comes to Ireland the country is doomed. Of course the northern part of our country belongs to the UK and they have already started in England so it is more likely to go ahead up there first. On a small island pollution knows no boundaries. Stupidity and greed if you ask me.

  4. islandthreads June 20, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    well Bridget it’s good news about the forests delay in being cut, lets hope it will become a more permanent decsion, I was shocked a few years ago when I first heard of the way the peat was havested from Irish bogs, there was a photo with an emormous machine like a combine harvester, digging the peat, cutting the trees, don’t these people know these acts all emit more carbon into the air as both are carbon sinks, it is more green to keep the carbon sinks locked!!

    sorry you already have so many windturbines, I may have said before when about a decade ago we on Lewis were threatened with masive and numerous windturbines I did some research, first they do not make their money from the engergy generated by windturbines, the money comes from selling green shares mostly to big companies so they can get thier ‘green quoter’ without changing any of their production prossess, it’s an alround looser for a true green economy, they also sell to the likes of holiday companies so they can say they buy offset green shares to compensate for the numerous flights their customers (the holiday people) take. not to mention the relatively short lifespan of most (I think all) windturbines, in a quarter of a century the landscape will be covered with obsolete decaying windturbines,

    personally I don’t think putting windturbines in the sea is the answer, haven’t we (humans) already done enough to polute the oceans, the creatures of the sea have as much right as the creatures we love in our gardens, just my opinon,

    my thoughts for a better world for all, especially the children, Frances

    • bridget June 20, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

      You’re right about the wind turbines Frances…they have such a short life span and are not very efficient anyway. How can anything that requires 100 tons of concrete be eco friendly? Not possible. People are’nt buying this green washing anymore. As to the air miles business. Did anyone ever truly in their heart of hearts ever believe that con?
      Solstice blessings to you,
      Bridget x.

      • islandthreads June 21, 2013 at 8:12 am #

        happy solstice Bridget,
        Frances x

  5. cathsveggies1 June 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    Glad that our forests are safe for now at least.
    As for the turbines, they are not good for our health or our countryside. I watched a programme once about an elderly couple who could not sleep with the whirring noise even though they tried to insulate their windows with extra layers of blankets and such like. The turbines also do nothing for our tourism, as who wants to take pictures of beautiful countryside with huge turbines on the horizon!!

    • John Willmott June 20, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

      What a lot of people are not informed about is how these proposed super sized wind turbines seem to be almost as bad as fracking. Very deep and wide holes have to be mined in the rock and then concrete with toxic hardening chemicals added poured in. There is quite a risk to the water table and water quality when these foundations are made. Then when the turbines are up and running they still need back up from the solid fuel generators. Add to that the extra many miles of extremely high powered overhead cables that will be installed linking the turbine power to the under sea cables that will supply power to the UK. I suspect leukemia stats will quickly increase through their pathways.

  6. Jane June 20, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    What the hell are we doing to this planet?
    Jane x

    • bridget June 21, 2013 at 6:42 am #

      What indeed…and all in the pursuit of money by already rich corporations. As the old Cree prophecy says
      “Only after the last tree has been cut down.
      Only after the last river has been poisoned.
      Only after the last fish has been caught.
      Only then will you find that money can’t be eaten.”

  7. KL June 21, 2013 at 3:09 am #

    It’s a great news that forests are being saved, at least for the time being :-). But, bogs being destroyed :-(…how sad as bogs have a completely different ecosystem and extremely vital for nature.

    • bridget June 21, 2013 at 6:45 am #

      Good news for now on the forests. As to the bogs…alas…the news is not great.

    • John Willmott June 21, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      What I find ironic is that the bogs themselves were largely created through an ancient eco disaster that destroyed the forests due to bad farming management. Personally, I feel the blanket bogs should be reclaimed and helped to become forests again … but not with those stupid “grow like cabbages” sitka spruce plantations.

      • bridget June 21, 2013 at 10:57 am #

        It’s a long process to create blanket bog again, but it would be a worthy task. I think The Peatland Conservation Council are doing some trials here with transplanting spaghnum moss to dead bogs. I thought the forests died off through climate change at the time?

      • John Willmott June 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

        I wrote an article awhile back to explain the blanket and raised bog creation that includes graphics, but i cannot insert links in comments. Climate changes have some cause on them but the greater cause seems to be from soil changes from bad management causing mineral leaching and water pH changes from early ancient farming methods that created soil acidity that killed the forests and created the conditions for the acid loving plants that are on bogs and form the bogs today.

  8. Mominthegarden June 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Very interesting to read Bridget. I guess I’m new to the debate on wind turbines. I need to go and do some research now to bring myself up to date. I appreciate the information through your post, though. Glad the forests are safe … for now! Dana

  9. Donna@Gardens Eye View June 23, 2013 at 1:20 am #

    I thought the same thing…safe for now…does this mean they will not be safe later. Sad to hear about the bogs that i so loved when I visited, and wind turbines would not look great on those green hills.

    • John Willmott June 23, 2013 at 9:20 am #

      I think it depends on what we think of as ‘safe’. It would be unrealistic to cover the whole of Ireland with forestry just for wildlife and for us to walk in. We do need a substantial amount of forestry for harvesting for construction, fuel, food and medicines but it does not have to be monoculture grow like cabbages forestry.

      Despite the unfortunate way bogs formed, we have them today, they are beautiful, lets enjoy them. However where there is opportunity to bring back the forests as they were before bogs, I’m all for replacing bogs with that … but I despise bogland being churned up to be replaced by rows of sitka spruce.

      Giant wind turbines would only be placed on bogland or on land cleared from forest harvesting on land that was once bogland. Green fields are too precious for the cattle men.

      The current battle really is between pension funds and communities. With our majority population getting older the focus by these people seems to be largely on pensions. Community to them was something they did when they were younger and had small families.

      Pension fund investment managers no longer rely on mined ores and oil for dividends. Their focus is now on international investment and returns from large scale wind power, solar power, grain harvests, cattle breeding and increasing the world love of beef, road and bridge building with toll charges and, sadly, arms sales hence why war is encouraged.

      Our battle is to return to community where small scale better managed forestry, wind power, solar power, animal rearing, community gardens, and community funded roads and trackways plus making tools rather than making arms become the way. Most important perhaps is for community to look after their elders so they don’t need pensions.

      If we think of ‘safe’ I believe de-centralised community is the way … but if we get back to that it returns the ancient challenges of jealousy between communities … but one step at a time 🙂

  10. sweffling June 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    Wind turbines are not economical: the heat lost at the centre more than cancels out any created. Talk to any physicist and they will give you chapter and verse! I do hope that your forests will have a permanent reprieve, but thank goodness for a stay of execution.

  11. bridget June 21, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    sometimes it’s just all too much. At least we still have the woods to retreat to…


  1. Time to Touch the Earth | Shawndra Miller - June 20, 2013

    […] off for a much-needed woods ramble. My head is full of worries about desertification, GMOs, and the destruction of carbon sequestering peat bogs in Ireland. I need to step away and touch the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: