Déardaoin, Meán Fómhair 23, 2010

The Beat of a Different Drum In Annagry


Alternative was the word of the moment in Annagry last Friday night when a public event entitled 'Growing Together' was held in Annagry Community Hall. The night which was held to discuss horticulture, peak oil and sustainable communities seen a larger than expected crowd fill the hall and experience an evening which had education and learning at its heart. Chairs had to be borrowed from a local bar as more and more people turned up at the event and filled the hall to capacity.

Welcoming people outside the hall as they arrived was a group of African drummers who had travelled from Letterkenny to attend the event and their performance caught the attention of many of the passing locals and livened up the quiet village for a time and some even had a go at trying to play some of the instruments the performers had brought with them.

The evening began with the showing of a documentary called 'The Power Of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil'. The title of the film very much spoke for itself and told of the hardships faced by the Cuban people as the country faced massvive oil and food shortages in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. It explained how the Cuban people then went from having a highly mechanised, industrial agricultural system to one of organic farming and local, urban gardens.

The film was followed by guest speakers who discussed various topics from peak oil to sustainable communities and horticulture. The informative talks gave the audience an explanation of the dangers of 'peak oil', which is a term used to describe the point when oil production reaches maximum output, after which the rate of production goes into terminal decline. The speakers gave examples of how a change of thinking of reliance in oil in favour sustainable communities and horticulture projects within communities could be a positive and successful way forward.

The event then went on to see the crowd gathered enjoy a selection of organic vegetarian food and live music into the night.

Speaking after the event, organiser and community activist Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said how overwhelmed he was with the turnout on the evening and support the event received. “I was more than pleasantly surprised to see so many people turn up and it just goes to show how interested people are in horticulture and sustainable living. The aim of the night was to show that there is an alternative to the way modern day society has become reliant upon oil. Oil is a finite resource and one day people are going to have to find an alternative way of living when it runs out and I think if we start looking now at those alternatives, such as horticulture, local farming and building sustainable communities, then when that eventuallity arrives we will have already made the transition by establishing such projects,” he said.

“Such projects have many benefits, not just that of us getting away from being reliant on oil, but they would also build community spirit, educate our children and of course be better for our environment. We would also be more aware of the world around us, an attribute which we seem to be sadly lacking in todays consumer driven world. Making our communities sustainable and not so reliant on multi-national companies and big business should be our aim and hopefully this event will get people thinking.”

Thanking those involved with the event Micheál said “This event wouldn't have happened or been the success it was without the work of so many people, which is just another example of what can be achieved when people pull together for a common cause. I have to give a special thanks to Karin White who through Donegal County Council helped fund this event with money from the Peace III Programme. A big thankyou must also go to the guest speakers, Amanda Slevin, Denise Gallanagh-Wood and Connor O'Kane for their time and efforts, those who provided the musical entertainment, the fantastic food and the use of the hall. There are so many people who were involved with this event, too many to mention, and all who were deserve a huge thanks for making it a great night, not least all those who attended in such large numbers. Hopefully it will have inspired a few people as well!”

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