Friday morning of week 4 and we were up bright and early, and thanks to the new motorway we were in Cloughjordan before you could say eco-village. I wasn’t sure what to expect beforehand from the village with respect to where one would put it on the scale of green,where 1 means that you are basically Amish, and 5 means you made some minor eco adaptions to your house. In hindsight I suppose Cloughjordan struck a balance at about a 3, but it was clear from the pre-tour talk that i wasn’t the only one who possibly expected something a bit more radicle from the point of view of new, green technologies. I’d say we could be forgiven for having been of this mindset however since we are undertaking a course that will ultimately lead us down this path.

However, thanks to Davey and the other speakers who are part of the village initiative I was set straight. It is the aim of Cloughjordan to encompass so much more than advanced eco-friendly technology, and you have to admit that in this country with our inhibitive regulations and reluctant county councils that this is a good thing. Would Cloughjordan benefit from reed beds?….probably. And are there more advanced green technologies than are present in the village?…possibly. Then is Cloughjordan as a project, all that radicle?,… the answer is yes. Cloughjordan is not just a village where there are a cluster of houses with reduced carbon emissions. The aim of Cloughjordan is that it becomes a sustainable community, and this is where the village really ties in with our module. The project has as much to do with social aspects as it does with environmental ones. The village aims to bring together a group of like-minded people who will work together as a community “that can be successfully continued into the indefinite future”,”where direct human involvement in the institutions is promoted”.It aims to be a “place supportive to healthy human development”.

The social and sustainable aspect are seen in the community farm project whereby the 12 acres of land on site along with another 28 acres locally, will be farmed to produce a wide variety of foods that are the made available to the community.The people of the community pledge support to the farm with a small weekly contribution and the initiative itself is not-for-profit.This is the essence of sustainability, where people are willing to come together democratically and decide to enrich the whole community through a project such as this, all the while creating local resilience and less of a dependence on foreign corporations and governments.To quote an old African proverb I found on the village website, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  The Cloughjordan project is probably going to be the fore-runner to many other similar projects. The village and it’s aims are certainly a large step in the right direction when it comes to sustainability.It comes down to us again, whether we will accept this as the the way forward,how long this will take etc. I think it is a given that we will have to emulate Cloughjordan from a social point of view. The days of plentiful supplies of cheap energy are dwindling along with all the get rich quick schemes that go with it.Cloughjordan’s not-for-profit farm initiative has set the bar, now it’s up to us.



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