BY EMMA CONNOLLY
CLONAKILTY is set to become a national leader in ground-breaking initiatives to reduce its impact on the environment and climate-proof its future.
The ultimate plan is for the town to go ‘off-grid’ and be energy self-sufficient.
It’s another first for the trail-blazing town, and its example is already being hailed as something other towns can copy.
Clonakilty is being awarded a ‘Cool Community’ status by the Cool Planet Group after committing to a range of carbon-reducing measures.
Founded by Ballinascarthy’s Norman Crowley, the group is committed to engaging the public on the impact of global warming.
Norman addressed Clonakilty Chamber earlier this year and, for the past three months, the townspeople have collaborated to identify what changes they could make.
Clonakilty’s action plan, over a phased basis, includes installing two water refill stations, including one announced this week for Astna Square.
A number of coffee shops will shortly ditch single use cups and join the pioneering national 2GoCups scheme which sees you pay a €1 deposit on a cup which can be either returned or reused.
It will also install 10 electric car charger points at the SuperValu car park, run education programmes in all schools and get 50 homes signed up for Better Energy Grants. There will also be a major emphasis on reducing the community’s food waste, looking at food shopping habits and composting.
The town will be officially awarded the stamp of approval by the Cool Planet Group at a public event at 1pm in the parish centre on Friday, November 15th.
Norman said: ‘I’m blown away by Clonakilty Chamber. Rather than sit and wait for others to solve the problem, they have embraced it and decided that they need to do something now. It is an example of how communities can work together to reduce their carbon footprint and we look forward to watching other communities follow suit.’
Vicky Brown, chief executive of Cool Planet, added: ‘Clonakilty has shown exceptional community spirit and we are in awe of their efforts in bringing this to fruition.’
Orla O’Donovan, chair of Clonakilty Chamber said: ‘Norman inspired us to want to do this for the environment and for our children’s futures. Our experience with the campaign is that people want to make the changes, they just need to be given the tools and the knowledge to do so.’
Clonakilty has a history in breaking boundaries and was the country’s first autism-friendly town and Fair Trade town.