Save our Souls, Save Ourselves

Lucy Weir
4 min readAug 8, 2022
Rural Ireland’s policy of No Mow May was a result of talking. Talking works.

Fintan O’Toole’s column in Saturday’s Irish Times included the following: “it is somewhat ominous that the Green Party has had to do all the heavy political lifting on what ought to be a shared national undertaking”.

What is this ‘shared national undertaking’? It is to respond to the urgent and critical existential threat of climate, ecological, and social collapse — the ecological emergency — by curbing emissions and seeking ways, inevitably imperfectly, to mitigate impacts. This is a huge task with huge costs but bigger risks. One in three working for it is not enough.

With this in mind, I am responding to a recent letter to a local paper, The Avondhu stating that the agreed emission reduction target of 25% for the agricultural sector was ‘absolute madness’. This is exactly the ‘somewhat ominous’ attitude that allows a quiet war, a real war of ideas, to be won by the neo-liberals who know exactly what they’re doing but will keep turning a profit until the whole edifice crashes. This is what we’re up against and we’d better wake up to it.

Councillor William O’Leary in an article printed in the same edition, was quick to take up the cudgel and present himself as a defender of traditional farming and rural life in the face of attacks by an urban elite, led by the Greens which he caricatures as having no experience of or interest in real rural affairs. He talked of the emissions agreement as unrealistic, and said it would cripple the industry, and that the coalition had ‘sold their souls’.

The trouble with these colourful caricatures is that they mask hyper-individualism, the myth that what I do doesn’t affect what you do, so leave me alone. In this mythology, what’s paramount is always the power of the individual, and what’s sacrosanct is the freedom of the market. This is the rise of neo-libertarianism: a free market (which is never really free) operated by a free people (ignoring all the constraints and advantages of wealth, education, background, connections and so on).

Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Brothers, the fossil fuel industry and agri-business, devote much of their huge profits to denying that global climate breakdown is happening or that biodiversity is crashing. They know exactly what’s happening. They just don’t care. If we further their agenda, we are just…

Lucy Weir

What if words shape ideas and actions? The ecological emergency is us! Connection matters. Yoga, philosophy, Top writer, Climate Change