Change By Degrees
Mums and Tots|Issue 32 - Autumn 2019
Change By Degrees
It all started with a love of sea swimming.
Madeleine Murray

One day after a glorious swim around Sandycove Island, just outside Kinsale, Co. Cork, I approached my now business partner, Tara Shine, and asked her a simple, but important question – why is there no Green Team for me? My eldest had been on the Green Team at school learning cool things about sustainability, recycling, and renewable energy but there had been no shared learning and our family habits had not changed. As the decision-maker in the home, I desperately wanted to know what the right thing to do was and had absolutely no idea where to start. Tara, an environmental scientist of twenty years and advisor to the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, was excellently placed to work with me to create a movement where people were informed and empowered to act differently.

We began by holding a focus group in Kinsale and invited twenty women to brainstorm on a selection of sustainability topics ranging from litter to water quality, traffic to housing issues. Very quickly, plastic emerged as the most vexing issue. Everyone agreed they hated the amount they were forced to purchase, and then dispose of, after a visit to the supermarket. Equally, people were utterly confused about how to recycle correctly. And so, Plastic Free Kinsale was born.

Plastic Free Kinsale is a voluntary community initiative with the aim of reducing the use of single-use plastics (SUP), increasing recycling and raising awareness about plastic pollution. We identified four groups in Kinsale we hoped to work through – schools, clubs, businesses, and individual homeowners. We designed three simple tasks for each group to help kick start a new movement away from the throwaway culture and plastic dependent society we all have become so used to.

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Issue 32 - Autumn 2019