To: Ministers of Housing, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development
Allow off-grid, low impact housing in Ireland
We are asking our government to support rural regeneration by introducing a scheme that allows people to live sustainably by building low-impact homes in the countryside. The One Planet Development scheme in Wales is a good model to base this on. At the moment in Ireland people are not permitted to build homes on agricultural land, but now we ask that the government permits planning for low-impact homes to the many people who are waking up to the climate crisis and feel compelled to work with nature rather than against it. There is a drive to plant trees, to regenerate the soil and promote biodiversity, to grow healthy organic food, to treat animals with respect and to create significantly less waste. The Dept of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and local planning offices need to recognise this as a valid and valuable form of rural development that needs specific planning guidelines and government support. What we are asking for is not difficult; it's just different, and requires our leaders to show pioneering spirit and to think outside the box.
Why is this important?
In Ireland our individual ecological footprint is approximately 5.2 Global Hectares per Capita (ghc) but the Planet’s actual capacity is only 1.8 ghc: we are living as if there are almost three Planet Earths. This way of life is not only contributing to mass extinction, pandemics and extreme economic inequalities, it means that, in all likelihood, our country will be uninhabitable for our grandchildren. A One Planet Development scheme would give people the option of moving out of the city and into the countryside to pioneer a way of life that goes some way towards bringing the human-nature relationship back into balance. It would allow people to build small low-impact dwellings, to establish community and to work with the land in a regenerative way to bring systemic change to our food systems.