Canqi and Breda, in Budapest and Tyrone respectively, joined me in writing an ode back on the Winter Solstice morning. As we approach (so soon!) the Summer Solstice, I thought it would be fun to post them up.
“We mark today
The turning of this year of loneliness of the heart
With this parting#New community.
Lovely what? Very good!
Winter Solstice 2020
A delicate sapling of two little Scots Pines,
Irish Oak are being planted out later today.
They leave the nursery
To go off and live in a public park
Beside a stream
With all the bigger trees
And join the wood wide web in the cold earth.
Fab, what? Well done poets. It calls for a painting to match I think.
I found one more…
Tim climbed a tree – A
Really Big tree.
Everything looked so small
Except little Tim. (From our Listowel PoeTREE workshop in 2018…at the bottom of my bag!)
I asked our Environmental intern, Opeyemi Adetifa from Masters Degree Course in Sustainable Development under the direction of Dr. Ken Boyle, for his thoughts about interning with us so far this year; he has joined us from TU Dublin in this highly unusual year. Here are his thoughts! – How is it going, Opeyemi?
“It has been a pleasure to work with Orla on the #EasyTreesie project. Working with her has been fun from the beginning. From my first day, she made me feel comfortable and at ease. Her enthusiasm for tree planting and the environment is unmatched, so there is no shortage of passion there. Anyone remotely interested in tree planting and the environment is going to love her. Being an intern here at #EasyTreesie is one of the best chances a student like me could ask for, and I am grateful for the opportunity. I have had numerous opportunities to meet with many individuals working in the fields of sustainability and tree/environmental advocacy. I have had the opportunity to hear their perspectives and expertise on a variety of environmental issues which has helped me to gain a better understanding of environmental challenges. A highlight of my internship was working with Orla and a group of international volunteers on TEDxCrannTreesforIreland, which was one of my favourite periods throughout my time there. I was able to gain a new perspective on social issues, environmental issues and how tree planting and environmental campaigning are carried out in other countries as a result of this experience.
I was able to work on #EasyTreesie’s customer relationship management (CRM), this will be really helpful in organising #EasyTreesie’s data about trees, contacts, donations and so on. I am delighted I had the opportunity to learn how to use Salesforce and learn about how it can improve the productivity of businesses and particularly NGOs like #Easytreesie and Crann. Another highlight of my time at #Easytreesie was visiting Tolka River Valley Park with Orla, Stephen Doody (community liaison officer) and Rachel a Trinity College final year student. I enjoyed learning about Ireland’s flora and fauna. It was quite interesting to see and learn about the different species most common in Ireland. My favourite was the magnificent looking willow, Salix babylonica – . the downward facing pinasti leaves make it look really magnificent. It was pointed out to us on the banks of the Tolka River on a field trip to its public golf course managed for ecology by the Dublin City Council gardener at this park, Michael Burke. I had the opportunity to attend a seminar by Rethink Ireland, one of #Easytreesie’s sponsor, it was a seminar about diversity and inclusion. I loved this seminar because it was interesting to hear about how our unconscious biases can sometimes affect our worldview and first impressions of others. I also took the opportunity when asked to talk about #Easytreesie’s diverse TEDxCrannTreesforIreland team.
As an MSc student at TU Dublin, I am required do a research project. This, I will be doing in the area of behavioural change. Specifically, on what the Irish population perceive as barriers towards more pro-environmental behaviours. With inspiration from Orla and the #Easytreesie project, I also want to find out if there is a relationship or correlation between planting trees and other interaction with nature and pro-environmental behaviours.
Coming from Nigeria, it was really interesting to see the similarities and differences Nigeria and Ireland, the weather, the people, the culture and so on. I remember packing my bags to travel and thinking to myself ‘how much cold can it really be over there? I don’t think I need a puffer jacket’, I could not be more wrong. Coming during an unprecedented time like the pandemic, I experienced school a little differently than what I would have experienced if I had been 3 years earlier. If I told someone back home in Nigeria that I completed my MSc without stepping a foot in the classroom, they would not believe me at first, I am glad to have experience school virtually because it has strengthened my collaboration and teamwork skills considerably. Through doing different group presentations, assignments and projects, my ways of communicating, complimenting, and working with team members have improved a lot.
I feel privileged and grateful to have been given the opportunity to intern at #Easytreesie, and I will suggest it to anyone interested in pursuing an internship in the fields of environmental advocacy, sustainability, and other related fields in the future.”
After receiving such fantastic feedback from our attendees, we are looking back on our first TEDxCrannTreesforIreland event; we was oversubscribed; we had a cutoff point of 100 but 128 applications to attend though we had conducted no paid advertising campaign! Our team decided it would be worthwhile to limit our first effort to 100 attendees so that we could build on this and learn from our experience for next time. There is a possibility that in Ireland, following one of the longest lockdown restrictions in the world during Covid-19 there will be a big interest in live events and we would welcome conducting such an event if appropriate next year, what do you think? Since our first conference was entirely virtual, including all speaker preparation and filming – very challenging work for the speakers, the team and Ewan with Rathdown Media who were running the event – hats off to all. Our connections through Plant-for-the-Planet mean we are globally co-operating and the reach of TED is such that it is a tree-mendous platform for the wood-wide web collaborators. Our project has also run 4 children’s climate conferences and the TEDx conference format may suit a trial “Tree Academy” ouTREEch incorporating some educational pieces especially relevant to our 300 treeplanting communities which include a diversity of profiles with a focus on disadvantage and on promoting positive mental health. Our charity; Crann Trees for Ireland!
TED has been my favourite go-to website since I first discovered it in its very early days through my husband’s friend, a gifted scientist (they are both scientists); as a teacher I regularly use TED talks in my work. It was the talk “Plant a Tiny Forest” by Shubendu Sharma that inspired me to take on such a project at my school. This initiative worked so well it lead me to step out of the classroom permanently and start a now nationwide project, “Easy Treesie” which as part of the world trillion tree campaign is working to plant a trillion trees this decade to bring down global heating by 1 degree. It has been such a tree-t to network with some of our country’s leading thinkers in ecosystem restoration. I have run 6 TEDx Circles to date and feel our team contribution to the drive to share our best practice here in environmental action has been valuable. Our feedback certainly confirms this; our talks have been very well received by our local community. Our UN Decade on Ecosystem restoration comes at a pivotal time for our planetarty health and our project can be adopted elsewhere with luck and TED’s blessing!
As we commence the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration there is no heritage more important than our natural environmental heritage being as it is the cornerstone of our health, our economy, our wellbeing; We at the Easy Treesie Crann Project salute Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co. Council for your stirling support of our project since its inception. Our aim? Planting 1M trees with Ireland’s 1M children by 2023 and a billion by 2030 which will bring Ireland’s tree canopy to 16 % or so, still way behind many of our European neighbours. We would then be something like Brussels. The aim of the global trillion tree campaign is to focus on the global goals whose deadline is also 2030 and reduce global temperature by one degree while other climate solutions are found. Shankill has a model project; not just 1 tree per child but 1 per resident. Commit to spreading the joy and emulating this project throughout the county. Saplings are less than 1 euro each and can easily be distributed bare root during National Tree Week as we do in Shankill. 300 tree fit in .1 of a ha or the size of a classroom; roadsides, schools, churches, so many places have little corners where such saplings can be planted at 1.5 – 2m spacing. We have the instructional video, made in Shankill. A guide to Ireland’s 28 native trees on youtube with our Tree Council president, Éanna Ni Lamhna. Why not start with a few ceremonies on National Tetrapak Tree Day, October 7th 2021 and plant some lovely trees in prominent places. The GAA is planting 45,000 trees with us this year, engage some of your local Green GAA clubs. We are working with Trocaire to commence with planting on church grounds, with farmers co-operatives to plant on projects where trees filter water and provide shelter belts. Why not do as happened in Fingal; when schoolchildren had unexpected bad weather, the council workers came back next day and finished off the 1,000 saplings in Seagrange Park, Baldoyle. In Tolka River Valley Park all the local schools planted several hundred trees (with the Lord Mayor), the council made it up to 4,000. We plant them 1.5 to 2m apart so you will only need little spaces everywhere. What a green county then there will be! More info on http://www.easytreesie.com Here is President Michael D. Higgins accepting our 100,000th sapling on the project; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmfXGeqUh_U and here is the great film you sponsored with us; https://vimeo.com/397003274
The TEDx conference was a demonstration of making a virtue of necessity; since a traditional live event was impossible, a young team with its co-organiser based in Hungary yet attending Brown University in the US was able to co-ordinate with our Irish-based team of young volunteers and manage the running of a conference which was oversubscribed by 28% and received highly positive feedback (Results published on our website blog). Other Nationalities of Irish residents involved were Pakistani, Nigerian and Croatian. With our diverse mix we produced an extensive awareness campaign comprising event logos X4, an event artwork, several promotional and closing films, a T-shirt uniform and limited edition t-shirts and of course our new resource bank of TED talks focusing on our carefully curated panel of expert speakers with a focus on wellness, mental health and our endgame of an expanded programme extending beyond 2023 with an accelerated national target of 16% tree cover. Five of our 6 talks are now up on the TED Youtube and TED.com sites for you to enjoy, we are awaiting publication of the sixth as there was a formatting issue.
A Chairde,We have received the feedback from the questionnaires sent out by TED to our conference participants. It is all very positive indeed. We had just one comment where someone would have liked it all live but this option was not recommended by TED for us as the complexities of broadband not working etc. would have made it too uncertain. Very well done to all our 6 speakers, Diarmuid and Joan represented our own board – a super contribution. I have copied the responses below, with the note from Sarika at TEDx’s team and the link in case you have any difficulty with the attachment.
Sarika (TED)Dear Orla,
We are attaching your feedback from TEDxCrannTreesforIreland. You are able to view this in a PDF file.
We hope this helps you to improve your event. Please let us know if we can do anything else!
I found the webinar informative and engaging. It was well constructed and diverse. The hosts of each segment gave us the benefit of their expertise and it was much appreciated. Generated on May 27, 2021 at 11:52 am Page 1 of 9 10 •••• •••••• May 15, 2021 – 10:30 am This was a very varied and thought-provoking conference. Ireland is unique in Europe in having least tree cover at 11 per cent, jointly with Malta. Most of our European neighbours have tree cover of about 33 per cent and the global average is 25 per cent. With a complex history including the denuding of our countryside of trees as part of our history as a colony for 800 years and a potato famine which traumatised our population, a conference on this topic is very timely. The counry’s low tree coverage is now at the point of going into reverse and reducing after a century of growth, just when for climate action reasons it would be of great benefit to increase tree cover. These talks will be most useful in persuading influencers to rapidly amend current policies stifling tree planting where there is a 2 and a half year wait for a planting license and a restriction on even school children planting anything more than a bagful of 300 saplings without official licenses. I look forward to sharing these talks once they are uploaded and to watching them again. There was a great balance of speakers with a teacher, a landscaper, a forestry inspector, a land manager, an expert from the government advisory service and the President of the Tree Council, a renowned ecologist. I liked that the talks were quite ordinary and not too slick and staged because it made the speakers very relatable. 8 •••• •••••• May 12, 2021 – 12:31 pm Thought it was excellent although it may be rather long for some people. I’d have given it a 10 if it was broken into parts which bore titles (bit like chapters of a book). On the whole I though it was excellent and most enlightening. Thank you Generated on May 27, 2021 at 11:52 am Page 2 of 9 10 •••• •••••• May 7, 2021 – 8:26 am Refreshing and lateral thinking 9 •••• •••••• May 6, 2021 – 4:06 pm 9 •••• •••••• May 6, 2021 – 1:23 pm 10 •••• •••••• May 6, 2021 – 8:20 am 8 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 8:10 pm 5 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 5:26 pm 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 4:33 pm I grow and plant trees. I give trees as presents to others. Its nice to meet up wither like minded people. 8 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 4:06 pm Generated on May 27, 2021 at 11:52 am Page 3 of 9 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 3:36 pm The presentations were impressive, well collated and would love to be able to revisit them at a later stage. Looking forward to future TEDx events. 7 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 3:08 pm Well it was a good presentation but I’m not in the habit of recommending such things but if someone asked I would recommend so 7. 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 2:54 pm The talks were very informative. The speakers were very knowledgeable and passionate. Facts and figures abounded-no loose statements. Great Tedx altogether. I have even asked for the data and am awaiting the same. 8 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 2:53 pm thanks 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 2:47 pm An excellent informative presentation on a very important subject Generated on May 27, 2021 at 11:52 am Page 4 of 9 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 2:27 pm I would like to see the whole presentation, again. I liked the level of knowledge, which was explained clearly and the language which was used to encase the philosophy towards our home, the Earth. Is it possible to get a recording? 5 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 2:23 pm -not live -time of day 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 2:11 pm The curation of the talks and list of speakers was really good. Some of the talks like “Why we need biodiversity” and if it’s possible to plant a billion trees in Ireland were really interesting. I was also exposed to new ideas like the concept of Forest schools. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference. 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 1:48 pm 7 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 12:45 pm I think it is a worthy organisation Generated on May 27, 2021 at 11:52 am Page 5 of 9 9 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 12:13 pm 9 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 11:52 am I enjoyed the talks and learned a lot from them. It was a little long 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 11:40 am Good mix of speakers all with different topics 8 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 11:31 am Very enjoyable 8 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 11:12 am 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 11:01 am I thought it was brilliant….very informative Such an important topic and very well done . Generated on May 27, 2021 at 11:52 am Page 6 of 9 10 •••• •••••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 10:55 am This was a speaking programme with great variety; the speakers had a vast breadth of experience and covered very thought-provoking content. I very much look forward to watching these talks again when they become available because there was a lot of detail worth noting. I refer especially to the proposal to plant a billion trees on the island of Ireland; I would have thought this an outlandish ambition yet it appears in fact do-able. The pollinator trees list is also a very useful talk as with Biodiversity week coming up there is great interest in this topic. The Walk in the Woods is very suitable for children, very restful and informative, in simple language. I thought the Forest Schools talk was most informative and frankly polished, how lovely to have a talk from a garden. Éanna is someone I could listen to all day, I have been trying to implement her idea since in our own gardens of dropping herbicides with my husband, I would like to get him to watch this talk. And the Crann Director from Shankill spoke very well, I am sure his third level students are always entertained and informed, he had a real zeal for his work and his project is very inspiring. I could not believe that there was only one of these Countdown conferences that I could find in Ireland, I would definitely go to more. Technically this was very polished also I noted with seamless transitions. I loved the fact that the Irish language was used so often in the introductions, even by the Hungarian and Nigerian volunteers introducing the talks, it was a great mix of ages in that the organising team was very youthful (also diverse!). I would love to go to another one of these TEDxCrannTreesforIreland events as their local flavour was charming, with accents from Louth in the North, to UK accents, to Kerry to Dublin and the South East. Hats off to the organisers and speakers. It was also a very good length by the way and the 11.30 time meant I could fit in coffee and lunch while watching and did not miss too much time from work. Generated on May 27, 2021 at 11:52 am Page 7 of 9 10 •••• •••••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 10:53 am Speakers were informative and interesting. 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 10:38 am Such an excellent communications forum – well structured and organised. Clear and concise presentations.Well done! . 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 10:37 am 9 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 10:34 am 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 10:33 am excellent speakers and relevant content 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 10:33 am Such an important message and a great charity – loved the event! Generated on May 27, 2021 at 11:52 am Page 8 of 9 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 10:30 am 10 •••• •••••• May 5, 2021 – 10:29 am It was a great conference with inspiring, educational and mind-opening talks. I feel that I’ve learned a lot by attending the conference. The TEDxCrannTreesforIreland team was excellent, too.
Community groups and land managers; we are asking you to help identify places to plant new trees, or replace those lost in the past for our Climate Forest Ireland project with @cranntreesforireland ; check out the report below from the Clyde Climate Forest project; they are starting at 17 % and that is where we hope to finish at the end of the decade; not so hard surely?
“Power is not given, it’s taken. So grab it”, says #Inger Andersson. I have enjoyed listening to her. You can hear her speak and many other climate thought leaders in this presentation for #generationrestoration for #worldenvironmentday that took place yesterday. #Reimagine #Recreate #Restore, lovely themes. I feel we can come up with a few more good #re words. They want to hear in the chat what people are doing. We hear from Dr. Mike about the leadership of young medical professionals; he reports about the power of one person – he has had a lot of success on social media. Having a healthy environment leads to a healthy physical, mental and social state. Well done @UN Education Project.
I’m spending the day here virtually in #Pakistan; on the live broadcast celebrating this country’s climate neutrality. Thanks to our TU Dublin intern 2019-2020 who has shared the story of his native country’s epic #treeplanting work. Here is the link to the live session. https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/latest/official-broadcast#.YLuG1gmhtIs.twitter. We’ve two trees ready to plant, we may be ready later today, if not we will get it done in the next few days.
It’s here! #ecosystemrestoration #GenerationRestoration #reset the #relationship . Pakistan has finished planting its billion trees; we have more room than any other European country so let’s #stoptalking #startplanting; we dedicate ourselves to also #planting #abilliontreesforIreland; Pakistan did it in 5 years, we are giving ourselves #tenyears. How many is that each we have to #plant? About a bin bag. 200 each, space for 6 cars or so so if your garden is not that big look around for a corner near you. We found space in the local hospital grounds, on the roadside, on a green, in some school gardens etc.; it is great fun to go for a walk and see how they are growing! (fast!) #planfortheplanet
Great to chat with Jane Mellett yesterday of Trocaire about #treeplanting for the upcoming #SeasonOfCreation.
I have not come across this Women’s preaching platform before; how useful with so many churches closed during the Pandemic; great sermon Jane on #caringforourcommonhome. #LaudateSi Catholic Women Preach https://www.catholicwomenpreach.org/