Midlands Science partner with Energia on Science Outreach in Laois

Energia Scoil Bhríde, Portlaoise.
Pho tograph Liam Burke/Press 22

Midlands Science is delighted to announce a new collaboration with Laois County Council and leading Irish energy provider, Energia, which will see science education outreach being delivered to schools in the Portlaoise area in the coming months. Portlaoise has recently been designated as Irelands First Low Carbon Town and this special outreach education programme, has been designed to create awareness of climate change science and action.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

The Climate Action Plan is Ireland’s roadmap to becoming a climate neutral economy and resilient society by 2050. Becoming a climate resilient society will help us to cope with the impacts of a changing climate. Young people care about the environmental crisis and climate action because it is their future which will be impacted by the worse effects of climate change. Midlands Science is delighted to team up with Energia and Laois County Council in providing a number of science education workshops over the coming months with the help of Declan Holmes from Science Ireland. A transformational shift in the way our society and economy operate is needed and students are more likely to change their behaviours and encourage their parents to join them if they better understand the science of climate change. These workshops will teach them more about climate and environmental impact, but it will also be interactive and include brains torming and teamwork opportunities on certain aspects of climate change education.’

Portlaoise has been designated as Ireland’s first Low Carbon Town under both the National Development Plan – Ireland 2040 and the Climate Action Plan 2019.  As a designated “Decarbonisation Zone” Portlaoise Town must deliver a range of climate mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity measures driven by Laois County Council  to address local low carbon energy, greenhouse gas emissions and climate needs to contribute to national climate action targets.  At a minimum, these outcomes must be capable of meeting the Government’s targets for carbon emissions reductions specifically an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 (a 51% reduction over the decade).

One of the main ways of delivering these targets is by supporting and encouraging behavioural change so this outreach programme is essential to engage with younger generations and through their involvement the message can permeate through to parents and grandparents and the wider community as our youth are incredibly motivated and effective communica tors of climate action.

Amy O’ Shaughnessy, Marketing Acquisition & Sponsorship Manager for Energia said,

“At Energia we are partnered with communities and business all across Ireland to make sustainable improvements that benefit the local environment, and also contribute toward the goals of Ireland’s national Climate Action Plan. We believe that local action makes a national difference, and as such are delighted to partner with Midland Science and Laois County Council, two organisations that are as committed as we are to positive change. At Energia, we supply 100% green electricity, with a clear focus on innovation and technology that is evident across our renewable developments and smart home solutions. This partnership is very much in line with the support we provide communities, and we look forward to assisting our partners and the pupils of Portlaoise in further understanding climate action and in making their own positive changes.”


Global Wind Day Fun!

Midlands Science is delighted to team up with Energia to celebrate Global Wind Day 2021. Global Wind Day is a worldwide event that occurs annually on 15th June. It is a day for discovering wind energy, its power and the possibilities it holds to reshape our energy systems, decarbonise our economies and boost jobs and growth.

As part of the Global Wind Day celebrations, Midlands Science worked with local schools to gather a number of questions for Aoife McCabe from Donegal Town, who became a mini-reporter for a day and investigated wind energy at Meenadreen wind farm.

Some of the questions submitted included; Where are the windmills made and how long does it take to build one? What is the highest speed the wind turbines can go? Do wind turbines play a part in combatting climate change? How big are turbines compared to humans?

Global Wind Day is organised by WindEurope and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and national associations. This day was introduced to create awareness of the benefits of wind energy for the general public. #staycurious #globalwindday #positiveenergy

World Water Day…..

Pho tographed at the Midlands Science Festival recently were students from 3rd class Educate Together, Tullamore studying the bio diversity of the Grand Canal as part of Science Week. Pho tograph with compliments

Today is World Water Day! Water is our most precious resource – we must use it more responsibly.

World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis.
We have been so focused on climate change over this past year and water and climate change are inextricably linked.. We must balance all of society’s water needs while ensuring that people don’t get left behind. Using water more efficiently will reduce greenhouse gases and people of all ages have a role to play.

Something to do at home..

Maybe you could use World Water Day as an opportunity to do a little project about how we can all play our part. Maybe send us your drawings to gmaunsell@midlandsscience.ie or message us here with any ideas and we will mention them on our page.

Here are some resources to get you started..

#WorldWaterDay #WaterNow #climatechange

Camross Parish working for Climate action

As part of national Science Week which has a theme of Climate Action this year,  Camross Parish Development Association planted a number of trees on November 15th at noon  in their New Village Park in the Slieve Bloom Mountains near Mountrath.

The theme of this year’s Science Week is climate action, seeking to help people understand climate change how science and technology can help us create a positive climate future and the impact we as individuals can have on climate change. Coillte has kindly donated thousands of trees to Science Foundation Ireland to be planted during Science Week as part of this year’s Climate Action theme. The trees are a mixture of native saplings.

Ger Buckley, Establishment Managervof Coillte commented; ”Coillte while operating commercially and sustaining many rural jobs nationally also recognises the key role that all its woodlands both Conifer and Broadleaf have in Climate action. As such we currently manage up to 20% of our Forest estate with the primary objective of Biodiversity enhancement”.

Johanna Mc Donald Steenkist from Camross Parish Development Association commented ; “Trees and woodlands make a positive contribution to an area’s biodiversity and landscape, providing a habitat for wildlife and a place of recreation and relaxation for those who live in the area. We are delighted to part of this national tree planting initiative with Laois Heritage Office and Midlands Science and to plant so many trees in our new community woodland site in our Village Park during national Science Week.”

The village of Camross nestles close to Ard Erin-the highest peak in the Slieve Bloom Mountains and its name in Irish actually means ” Crooked Wood” ! In fact, research by Helen Roe, the first County Librarian in Laois in 1932 speaks to the enduring association of trees to the Camross area in its evocative place names – Marsh of the Elder Tree, Field of the Wood, Rough Oakwood and Oakwood of the Freeman.


Community working together for climate action

We would like to thank the Rotary Club in Tullamore for their help and support in distributing over 1000 trees for Science Week..working in partnership, we can all do our bit for climate action. #climatechange #believeinscience



In conversation with Marcella Corcoran Kennedy T.D.

Science Week 2019 will focus on climate action, seeking to help people understand climate change, how science and technology can help us create a positive climate future and the impact we as individuals can have on climate change. As part of our ongoing focus on this very critical and current crisis we had the recent opportunity to speak with Marcella Corcoran Kennedy T.D. to get some her views on this very pressing issue.

Tackling climate change is one of the main challenges of the 21st century. Can you give us an insight in to what kind of work your party is doing to help tackle climate change?

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing Ireland and the rest of the world in this century and as a policymaker, our response to this challenge of a generation has huge implications. In 2016, I had a detailed discussion with the former Taoiseach Enda Kenny today about my concerns regarding Ireland’s slow progress in addressing climate change. The Taoiseach asked me to prepare a proposal and key part of this document was my request that the Government establish the Citizen’s Assembly on Climate Action and the subsequent Oireachtas Climate Action committee in order to get cross party consensus on this major issue. I was the Government representative on this committee and it worked for over 12 months examining the issues in detail and its final report has strongly influenced the Government’s Climate Action plan which was published earlier in the summer. The plan is to make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change and is an all-of-Government action plan that will give Irish people a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future and will benefit generations of people. The plan sets out the actions we need to take in every Government Department and every sec tor. It identifies how Ireland will achieve its 2030 targets for carbon emissions, and puts us on a trajec tory to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It will mean changing the way we heat our homes, the way we travel and the way we power our country. Currently only 30% of our electricity comes from renewable sources but this plan will see us move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030.

Are you concerned about how climate change affects the local agriculture and biodiversity?

Yes climate change poses huge challenges to the entire economy and it is clear that Ireland’s biodiversity has decreased steadily since the intensification of our agriculture sec tor since the 1960s. However, farmers are increasingly facing the challenge of farming sustainably from an economic, social, and environmental perspective. Recent environmental research on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, protecting water quality, enhancing soil structure and fertility and encouraging biodiversity on farms, will help farmers to farm commercially while protecting the environment.

What would you say your three main priorities are for the year ahead on climate change?

a. Working with my Government colleagues to ensure that the specific actions across the Government Departments that are contained in the Climate Action Plan are achieved and that consistent progress is made.
b. I want to ensure that Offaly and the region is protected from the impact of the decarbonisation of the Midlands peat region in the context of Ireland’s response to climate change. I am determined to ensure that there is a just transition for workers, families and the communities.
c. That I and my family will make our own efforts to respond the challenges of climate change by the choices we make in our home, transport and expenditure.

What would you suggest young people do to play their part and help prevent climate change?

We all have to make changes in our lives to respond to climate change. We must make decisions that are sustainable, for example buying local produce as much as possible, reducing our food miles. It will be important for us all to improve the efficiency of our transportation, our homes and our businesses and to avail of the incentives and grant supports provided by Government to support our efforts.

#stem #believeinscience #climatechange

Climate Change movie project in progress…

We are delighted to be working with the students and teachers in local second level school, Tullamore College to co-create  a unique event for Science Week.
The theme for Science Week 2019 is climate change so we thought it might be a good way for  students to learn about the science of climate change and how to communicate it. We are working with a group of TY students to produce and edit their own short movie which explores what they know about climate change and what we can do about it and in the process they will interview various people about it from different perspectives.

We are really looking forward to seeing the end result!