President of Ireland praises ecovillages

(3 May 2017) – The Irish President Michael D Higgins has applauded the international ecovillage movement in a speech at Ireland’s first and largest ecovillage in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary.

The mission of the Global Ecovillage Network was ‘inspiring’, he said, and quoted: ‘A world of empowered people and communities designing pathways to a sustainable future while building bridges of hope and international solidarity.’

‘These are inspiring words translated into new ways of living here in Cloughjordan,’ he said, ‘about how we might live together not continually recoiling from one level of anxiety or another, but living with joy.’

The President commended the founders of the Cloughjordan ecovillage who came together some 20 years ago in a Dublin hotel ‘to share their dreams of what might be – a more ethical and sustainable life, lived in a community which isn’t easy and can have difficulties.’

‘It’s the first anniversary of the Paris Agreement, and one of the things that strikes one, and particularly at my stage of life, is that very often you can look back at whole reams of words that really are quite distracting unless they are turned into reality,’ he continued.

‘But here in the ecovillage so much is being turned into practical achievements,’ he said.

‘You can have a village like this, aspiring and delivering and being able to live a low-carbon lifestyle . . . with renewable energy heating, energy efficient homes, biodiversity, local produce, the freedom of children to play and encounter nature, a green enterprise centre, solar and wood-powered community heating, acres devoted to allotments, farming, thousands of native trees.

‘All of this is an agenda about life and hope on our planet, and the village stands as an impressive and encouraging testimony to gach rud is féidir a dhéanamh, all that can be achieved.’

President Higgins – politician, academic, poet and writer – was visiting the Cloughjordan ecovillage to officially open its latest development, a permaculturally designed amphitheatre that is sculpted into the landscape.

To listen to his speech click here.

Iva Pocock.