A TEENAGER from Drinagh told TDs and senators that living sustainably shouldn’t be a choice only for the wealthy.
Orna O’Brien (16) and others from Foróige got the opportunity to present their perspectives on the climate crisis directly to policy makers at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action.
Orna spoke about building towards a circular economy and said that being sustainable should ‘not only be a choice for the wealthy, but for everyone of all incomes.’
She called on legislators to ‘step in and create national standards over what we consume, to better our country’s overall performance in the game of global sustainability.’
‘Ireland is but a small country, but we are a cultural giant. We can use this responsibility to tackle fast fashion. But nationally, how can we be a country that positively changes the fashion industry and helps make it a circular industry? Well, we are famous for our quality food because we know exactly where it came from, who prepared it and how it was preserved.
‘You can track the potatoes of a particular brand of crisps back to the specific fields they were grown in. There are so many legal requirements for packaging on food.
‘So why isn’t there the same extensive information on clothing labels? All that is legally required to be included on the label of an item of clothing is the fibre content.
‘We can be a leading country in tackling fast fashion by implementing mandatory extensive labelling on all clothing – more information for consumers helps us to create the circular economy we need. We young people want to work with our legislators, communities, and adults at home and in schools to work to create the kind of future we believe in,’ added Orna.
‘The work starts now, not when we are in our late 20s and 30s. I hope from what I have said today, you will have actively listened and already started manifesting ideas as to how we can work to be a leading country again.’
Seán Campbell, ceo of Foróige said he was very proud of their members. ‘It’s clear that this is an issue that affects them both personally and profoundly.
‘Every day I’m inspired by young people’s relentless dedication to tackling the most pressing issues facing our planet and by the strong leadership they show in this area.’