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Could we be Ireland’s ‘greenest’ city?

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A recent EU report showed that the Republic had the Continent’s worst record on tackling climate change – with greenhouse gas emissions increasing by 7 per cent since 2015 despite policies designed to reduce them.

A E600 million fine is currently in the post to Dublin for failing to do its bit to improve air quality and clean up its act.

That said, N. Ireland’s record on environmental issues is equally poor, if not more so – with lax planning and enforcement leading to one million tonnes of waste dumped illegally alongside the River Faughan at Mobuoy, putting Derry’s main drinking water source at risk.

Meanwhile, the annual beach survey by the Marine Conservation Society found a 10 per cent rise in litter on N. Ireland’s shorefronts, with over seven pieces of rubbish collected on average every metre.

Climate change is undoubtedly one of the major challenges facing humanity in the coming years.

And with more than half the world’s population living in urban areas (predicted to rise to over two-thirds by 2050) cities have an increasingly central role to play in ensuring that societies become genuinely sustainable. Two-thirds of the island’s population are already living in urban areas.

Given the challenge presented by climate change, and Ireland’s poor record on responding to it, there is therefore a major opportunity for somewhere to carve out a strong and unique niche for itself by declaring its intent to become Ireland’s ‘greenest’ and most sustainable city.

Why should anywhere care about trying to position itself as Ireland’s greenest city?

There are three key reasons for doing so.

Firstly – in a globalised world in which thousands of cities and regions compete to attract people, jobs and investment, it is vital for places to find meaningful ways to differentiate themselves. This is particularly important in Northern Ireland, where the vast majority of attention and investment focuses solely on Greater Belfast.

By creating clear points of difference between Derry and the other cities on the island/UK, we would stand out from the........

© Derry Journal