Green Week Day One: A Rundown

By Faye Murphy and Aoife Kiernan

Green Week was launched with a ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of Trinity’s green week. This year’s theme is “repairing our broken food systems”, chosen by the popular vote in November. 

The ceremony began with Michele Hallahan, sustainability advisor to the Office of the Provost. Hallahan spoke of how society’s “broken capitalist economy” has been letting down cultures worldwide. She spoke fondly of the many initiatives and changes that have occurred in the past year, from a change in provost, the election of a vice provost for biodiversity and climate action, as well as a new sustainable travel policy for staff and new green lab initiatives. Although many of these initiatives are due to small people groups, she announced that no action on a university scale without “unified efforts” and “unified passions.”

Sam Foley, the Environmental Officer of TCDSU, gave the student perspective for the event. Foley praised the student-led initiatives currently taking place. She believes that the “desire for social change is self-evident”, especially on a curriculum, divestment and food choice level. She believes that “sustainability is for everyone” that everyone has a different perspective to bring to the table. 

Senator David Norris, who was described by Hallahan as a “long-time champion of human rights”, has opened 19 of the 20 green weeks. Norris, who saw the population of earth triple so far within his lifetime, believes that it is vital we continue and maintain the conversation around the climate crisis. 

Provost Linda Doyle mentioned that although there is a lot to celebrate, green week reminds us that there is still a lot to do. We have the opportunity to change, but simultaneously, the burden that we must act on or the earth will continue to die in front of us. She believes that Green Week gives us the opportunity to think on a personal and university level of how we can make changes. 

Iseult Ward, the co-founder and CEO of FoodCloud, an NGO helping businesses to redistribute food waste to charities, was the next to take the stage. She began with the many disappointing statistics of food waste. Still, Foley mentioned that she is hopeful for the future due to small actions currently taking place and believes young people are the driving force for change. She states that the 140 billion meals that FoodCloud had prevented from ending up in the landfill due to their work would not have been possible without the community of environmental activists. Food is something that brings us together; every culture and community around the world is influenced by its cuisine and food security. Therefore we must inspire and encourage others to make changes to create a better world for us all. 

To close the ceremony, Michele Hallahan offered the audience a chance to imagine a world where everyone is fed, where ecosystems are cherished and a world where it is a sovereign right to be a part of nature. She then stated that this is not just a dream, it was a reality in the past, and it can and will be a reality again if we make the appropriate changes. Although these changes “should’ve started 30 years ago”, they must start now. Finally, she stated that we need to stop buying into the marketing that “commodifies nature”, taking up every acre of land and destroying our environments. 

Pop-Sci Book Club

The next event of the day was a pop-science book club. The science societies on campus are running a pop-sci book club throughout this semester, and this week it was hosted by the natural science societies: Botsoc, Envirosco and Zoosoc. Held in a cosy room in the atrium, the participating students sat around a table and snacked on some vegan treats while discussing a wide variety of books. Some highly recommended books included Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan and Thor Hansons Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid. The discussion ranged from the human biome to the frustrations associated with reading hopeless climate change-related books. 

Law Economics and The Environment Panel

The first day of Green Week concluded in an informative panel discussion organised by Envirosoc, Student Economic Review, Lawsoc and Trinity Free Legal Advice Centre. Chaired by Anne Spillan, the Auditor of Lawsoc, this panel was run in a hybrid fashion, as one of the participants, Dr. Andrew Jackson, joined Zoom from France, where he is on sabbatical. Other panellists included Dr. Jackson, an environmental and planning lawyer and a faculty member of UCD, and Dr Surya Roy, the Assistant Professor of Regulatory Law at Trinity College Dublin. 

The panellists touched on various topics, from carbon leakage to greenwashing. Dr. Martha O’Hagan-Luffe spoke about the power economic systems have over the environment and how Trinity Student Managed Fund have purchased shares in Irish companies and have plans to attend their AGM’s and ask them questions about their climate goals. Overall the event was uplifting for the audience gave insight into plans for the future. 

Tomorrow’s events for Green Week will see discussions in climate well-being, careers in sustainability, a market to buy and sell plants, and many more.

“Connecting Nature” & Humans in Trinity

by Roisin Gowen

Humans have historically placed themselves superior to nature. Although it is common knowledge that we rely heavily on natural capital and resources, we have kept ourselves at a distance to our environment, rather than accepting that we are deeply embedded in it through our reliance, but also by our mere existence on this earth. As climate change becomes more integrated into our everyday vocabulary, more and more new terms have emerged to help scientists, sociologists, and politicians alike to grasp ways to solve our current environmental issues.

‘Nature-based solutions’ is amongst these new concepts that aim to integrate nature into the ways in which we tackle these environmental challenges by mimicking processes that occur in the natural world. This concept follows the path of other newly popularized terms such as ‘ecosystem services’ and ‘natural capital’ that are leading a movement towards greater emphasis on the relationships between society and the environment and the ways in which humans perceive and use nature. Rather than looking purely scientifically for solutions to environmental problems, nature-based solutions aim to bring humans more in line with nature by searching for answers within nature itself. Environmental action is being more realised as a multidisciplinary discourse. Therefore, environmental issues and initiatives are becoming more considered on multiple planes, such as environmental, ecological, social, cultural, economic and political. 

we have kept ourselves at a distance to our environment, rather than accepting that we are deeply embedded in it through our reliance

“Connecting Nature” is a framework being funded through Trinity that is inspired by nature-based solutions and aims to help small-scale organisations and cities adopt this concept. I was fortunate to be able to speak to Marcus Collier, Professor of Botany in Trinity, about his involvement in this project and why nature based-solutions is a very promising avenue for future environmental action. 

“Connecting Nature” is based on innovative action instead of research action, as it looks to the surrounding environments to help guide environmental action that is beneficial on an environmental, ecological, political and social scale. Moreover, this framework was designed to be available as a tool to guide the implementation of nature-based solutions. Prof. Collier noted that there is a lot of “untapped knowledge” in urban spaces and that we can source information from our cities and surroundings to be able to scale them up to effective large-scale environmental action. For many organisations and cities, motivations for making positive environmental changes must often come with a supplementary case for growth within their cities or businesses. By implementing more nature-based solutions, particularly in urban areas and cities where we are often more disconnected from nature, we will become more integrated with natural capital and resources, and have a more circular approach to the way in which we rely on nature. 

“Connecting Nature” aims to put a value on resources so that we pay for them rather than depleting them. The framework has three main phases; Planning, Delivery, and Stewardship, of which each phase has seven different elements that must be considered at each phase. An important aspect of this process is the ‘co-production of planning’, where shared knowledge and multidisciplinary opinions are valued for creating an interrelation between all the parties involved. Collier emphasized how nature can be a powerful tool to bring people together and can be used to build cohesion in communities. This cohesion goes beyond relations between individuals in society but also extends to the relations between individuals and their surrounding natural environments.

The Ultimate Guide to Green Week 2022

Trinity lights up green this week for the 20th anniversary of the college’s Green Week. The theme, voted on by staff and students earlier in the year, Repairing our Broken Food Systems, has inspired a host of thought-provoking events, which aim to educate, and also celebrate our environment.

Monday 21st


Business School Courtyard


Kicking off with a bang, the Green Week Launch is being held in the foyer of the Business Building. Special guests include Senator David Norris and Food Cloud CEO and Co-founder Iseult Ward. They will be joined by Trinity’s very own Yvonne Buckley, the new Vice President for Biodiversity and Climate Action, Sam Foley, SU Environmental Office and Sustainability Apprentice, along with Michelle Hallahan, Sustainability Advisor and Provost Linda Doyle. This is set to be a lovely ceremony, with vegan nibbles, memories from previous Green Weeks and a great atmosphere. 

Pop Science Book Club

Atrium Room 2


This week Enviosoc, BotSoc and ZooSoc will be hosting the Pop Science Bookclub. Books being discussed include Buzz and Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid: The Fraught and Fascinating Biology of Climate Change by Thor Hanson and Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake. There is no pressure to have read these books – this is a casual chat about popular natural science books.

Thrift Shop Night Out



Trinity Ents are holding a big night out to start the week. The theme: Thrifted Clothes! Get your charity shop and vintage outfits together and dress to impress! Tickets are €3 and available from the Ents fixr (link can be found in @trinityents instagram bio). 

Law, Economics and the Environment Panel

McNabb Lecture Theatre

EnviroSoc, SER, FLAC and Law Soc present an interdisciplinary panel giving students a flavour of how law, economics and business can help to reduce climate change, seek environmental justice and fix environmental degradation. 

Tuesday 22nd

Design Thinking Sprint – Day 1


11am-1pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Join the international NGO concern in this three day series of workshops, where the design approach is applied to the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Climate Wellbeing Workshop



This is a lunchtime workshop, organised by the Green Campus Committee and  delivered by Gary Tyrrell, Climate Action Officer with An Taisce’s Climate Ambassadors. It will discuss eco anxiety, and provide ways to deal with it.

Plant Market

Arts Blick Kiosks


Swap and buy plants, seeds, cuttings and pots at EnviroSoc’s plant market. This event will be in aid of SEED Madagascar.

Careers for a Sustainable Planet



Trinity Careers Service have assembled a fantastic lineup of speakers from various disciplines, all of whom have careers relating to climate action or sustainability. Guest speakers include Melanie Allanson, Head of Human Resources at FoodCloud, John Dardis, Senior Vice President of Sustainability at Glanbia and Dr Sabrina Dekker, Climate Action Coordinator at Dublin City Council. They will be sharing their personal career stories, and discussing their work. If you are interested in a career in the world of sustainability, but not sure how to get into it – this is the event for you!

Seachtain Glas le Manchán Magan

Botany Lecture Theatre & Online


This hybrid event sees the Cumann Gaelach and EnviroSoc come together to speak to Manchan Mágan, travel writer, documentary maker and author of the book Thirty Two Words for Field. Manchan has a great insight into how language shapes culture, and how the Irish Language can give us a greater connection to our environment. 

The State of the Nation – Ireland’s Environment in 2022



The Graduate Students Union had put together this exciting panel which discusses the current state of the Irish Environment. Speakers include Pádraic Fogarty, author of Whittled Away, and Editor of Irish Wildlife magazine, Elaine McGoff, Director of the Sustainable Water Network (SWAN), climate journalist John Gibbons and Ciara Beausang, a postdoctoral researcher with Teagasc. 

Wednesday 23rd

Get to know 2USE



2USE, the new second hand buy and sell platform will be in the Hamilton building all afternoon. They will be giving out prizes, chatting about their platform and promoting the circular economy. Drop by to have a chat with their team.

Swap Shop

Hamilton Study Space


Trinity’s biggest ever swap shop is being held in the Hamilton Junior Common Room. Items can be dropped off downstairs in the Business Building, beside the McNabb Lecture theatre. Each student will be allowed to take 5 free items, which include clothes, accessories, shoes, books, kitchenware, and sporting goods. 

Flower Hammering Mid-Week Munchies

Atrium Room 2


In a special edition of their weekly Mid-Week Munchies, EnviroSoc will be holding an EcoCrafts session, where they will be using natural dyes to colour clothes. Join them for a chance to learn a new skill, have a chat and make some friends. Bring along a light couloured garment that needs a bit of a lift!

Green Lab Panel Discussion



Trinity’s Green Labs have had a very successful few months, with the School of Pharmacy’s NatPro lab being awarded the highest level of accreditation through the Green Labs Programme. Join them for a discussion on the best practises in lab sustainability. Opened by Prof. Kingston Mills, and chaired by Prof. Andrew Harkin, speakers will include Andrew Arnott, Dr. Fanny Yeun and Dr. Siobhan Gaughan.

Horticulture Peat: Challenges in Transition



In another event from the Graduate Students Union, this time discussing the challenges the peat industry faces after the closure of peat fired power stations across the midlands. Featuring Niall Sargent, journalist with Noteworthy, Matthew Lohan, Woodstock Trees and Shrubs Ltd.,  Anna Kavanagh, growing media consultant & Dr Michael Gaffen of Teagasc. 

Thursday 24th

Clothes ReWorkshop

191 Pearse Street


Envirosoc are holding a workshop detailing how to repair and restore your old clothes and prolong your wardrobe. Thread, needles and embellishments are supplied by the society, just bring yourself and your clothing piece of choice. 

Food From The Sea



This presentation by Paul Holm,  Professor of Environmental History explores whether we can get more sustainable food from the sea in the future – and what we may learn from the past. From looking at ways to encourage people to eat more sustainable foods, to . Learn how academics engaged with innovative chefs and educationalists to build on Ireland’s seafood heritage, this will be an interesting talk. 

Pop-Up Shop

Berkeley Library

12-5pm, Thursday & Friday

OH MY POP UP! will be running a Pop-Up Shop event where a number of vendors, students, alumni students, artists and designers will be selling and showcasing their products. Including crafts, accessories, Eco-friendly skincare and cosmetics, hand painted and restored furniture, ceramic design with original artwork, clothing, hats and scarfs, vintage, secondhand, designer, sustainable products, and more! 

A Green Healing Environment



The Global Brain Health Institute is hosting a seminar with Dr. Rutger de Graaf,  an innovation manager for Health Care organisations, specialising in nature-assisted health innovations in a healing environment. 

The Need For A More Sustainable Irish Food System



This food system focused panel is being organised by the Green Campus’s Biodiversity Subcommittee and the Food & Drink, Environmental and Zoological student societies. They aim to explore the need for a more sustainable food system with speakers who are experts in a range of areas. Professor Jane Stout of Trinity’s Botany Department,  will chair the discussion in which Ballymaloe Cookery School’s Darina Allen, news correspondent Pat O’Toole, organic dairy farmer Sinéad Moran and Irish Rural Link’s James Claffey will each consider solutions to the challenges we currently face with our modern food system. 

What Does Integrity Taste Like



Daniel Malan, Professor in Business Ethics will lead this discussion on ethical leadership and integrity in the food chain. He will be joined by  Brian Ingarfield, Chief Customer Officer at Ireland’s food industry Unicorn, Flipdish and Kylie Magner, MD at Magners Farm, a leader in organic food production. 

Friday 25th

Vegan Food Crawl

Front Square


DU Food & Drink, EnviroSoc and DU Vegan Soc will be visiting all the best places to get vegan food near campus. 

Sustainable Business: How to survive in a Consumerist World



Norah Campbell will chair this discussion with owner of Bread 41 Eoin Clusky, Donal Sheehan, farmer with BRIDE (Biodiversity Regeneration in a Dairying Environment) Project, and others. 

Green Generation



Green Generation, based in Kildare, uses organic waste to create energy in the form of biomethane through anaerobic respiration. In this talk they will discuss their business, and the place these fuels have in our futures. 

TCDSU & the Hist Debate



In a collaboration between the Trinity College Dublin Student Union, and the College Historical Society, this debate will be on whether Ireland’s agricultural industry is compatible with Climate Justice. Special guests include Hazel Chu and Fridays for Future’s Beth Doherty.

More information and links to online events can be found on the Trinity Events Calendar

Green Campus’ Waste Subcommittee Achievements

by Caroline Costello

The Green Campus Committee has been putting forward lots of ideas this past year on how to make Trinity a more sustainable campus through the use of its subcommittees. Despite the restrictions the lockdowns held over us, the Waste Subcommittee hosted an online tutorial explaining what Ecobricks are and how to make them during Green Week. This workshop was set up with the hope that students and staff would start making their own bricks, which are made from plastic bottles filled with non-recyclable plastics. Following the workshop, the subcommittee set up a temporary bin collection point for them on campus. This bin can be found by heading towards Kinsella Hall and following the narrow passageway to the right, where you should find yourself facing Nassau Street beyond the wall as well as a row of bins. One of these bins will have an Ecobrick poster on it as well as the requirements for them such as weight, etc. There are also several other types of bins here that you should check out while you’re at it! 

The aim for the Ecobricks would be that both students and staff would continue to make them while also becoming aware of just how much non-recyclable plastic companies use and that we ourselves consume. Hopefully, this would encourage people to cut down on their plastic consumption while also lobbying for change in regulations on non-recyclable plastics by both organisations and our government. As plastics also have a great impact on our sea life, Seal Rescue Ireland was one of the organisations that spoke with the Waste Subcommittee about how Ecobricks can prevent these plastics from harming our sea life. During the workshop, they showed how Ecobricks could be used to make other objects such as garden furniture as well as art installations. The Waste Subcommittee would love to host another workshop with Seal Rescue Ireland and potentially others who promote upcycling waste in order to get more people involved with not just making Ecobricks but participating in collecting non-recyclable plastics, not just from their homes but from beach clean-ups etc., as well as making furniture and art from them on campus. 

bringing both staff and students of Trinity together to create objects of art through waste

The subcommittee has also been in touch with Trinity’s catering services to set up a rewards system where students receive a catering voucher in exchange for their Ecobricks and subsequently have a permanent collection point on campus for the Ecobricks. This could then continue to be used to make furniture and art. By bringing both staff and students of Trinity together to create objects of art through waste, could encourage the Trinity community to be more aware of not only the effects of plastic pollution but how it can be salvaged from waste to art and, in turn, encourage our community to lobby for change in the plastics industry.

Another scheme being set up by the Waste Subcommittee was the crockery and cutlery lending scheme Envirolend. Envirolend was set up in 2019 by what was originally the TCD Plastic Solutions group, which turned into the Green Campus’ Waste Subcommittee.  The idea behind the scheme was to reduce the amount of single-use plastics the societies and clubs of Trinity can often go through when hosting events. This way, our societies and clubs can borrow these items at a small fee and return them after their use. Thus, Plastic Solutions decided to order cutlery, cups and bowls all in metal so they would be more durable than ceramic. The brand of cups used is called Enviro-Cup, which is a reputable stainless steel company that works with festivals across the U.K. and Ireland. For the bowls, the brand is called Milestone, which makes their bowls from enamel, and the cutlery was bought from Nisbets. The next step was to find storage for the items. As UPS had just been established on campus with a focus on sustainability, the group decided to get in touch with them through Trinity’s Sustainability Advisor, Michele Hallahan, and they offered up a storage locker space free of charge. The goal behind the organisation of the scheme is that someone from the Waste Subcommittee keeps track of society bookings through emails and the form set up on Facebook, they collect the items and give them to the society. Then the society uses them, cleans them and then returns them to their point of contact. If anything gets lost or broken, then the society buys the replacement. However, funding was needed to get the scheme up and running, and so Plastic Solutions applied for the Provost’s Sustainability Fund who offered money to set up a pilot scheme. This is how the group was able to buy this initial small set of cutlery and crockery, which was trialled for one event before Covid put a stop to all society and club socialising, with the goal to apply for more funding once the scheme gets off the ground. 

The idea behind the scheme was to reduce the amount of single-use plastics the societies and clubs of Trinity can often go through when hosting events

You can sign up to borrow items for your events now by going to the Envirolend Facebook page and filling out the form or by emailing The Waste Subcommittee, as well as the other subcommittees, are always looking for more members to join Trinity’s move towards sustainability. If you have any ideas or suggestions of your own please do not hesitate to get in touch or fill out the sign-up form here

Waste on Campus

by Aoife Robertson

Disposing of our waste correctly can often feel confusing, especially if we don’t know what can be recycled or where to put it. Trinity generated nearly 60 tons of waste during the month of September 2021 and this number is expected to rise to over 130 tons per month as we make a full return to pre-Covid teaching and activities. However, up to 40% of domestic waste in Trinity is contaminated by incorrectly disposed items, meaning that this waste cannot be recycled and instead is treated as general, black bin waste. With this in mind and with many students on campus for the first time, we are here to give you the breakdown of waste on Trinity campus!

It is important to note that Trinity consists of many campuses, not just the city centre location that we all know and love. With the exception of Tallaght Hospital, all Trinity campuses follow the same waste management system so whether you are in Halls, Front Square or the TBSI, this article can act as a one-stop-shop for all your waste disposal needs!

Mixed, dry recyclables

Trinity has an incredible waste management system and facilitates the recycling of many different types of waste. The simplest of recyclables are mixed, dry recyclables including paper, plastic and aluminium. To dispose of mixed dry recyclables, you can use the numerous green bins that are found in nearly every building on campus. There are also four “Solar Belly” bins placed in Fellow’s Square and beside the Cricket Pitch. These bins are easily identified by their green lids and shouldn’t be confused with their black lidded, general waste counterparts. When disposing of mixed, dry recyclables don’t forget the golden rule; They must be clean and dry, otherwise, they will contaminate the rest of the bin! 

Large blue bins can be found in locations such as Botany Bay, the Science Gallery and the Museum Building. These bins are specifically for white office paper, no coloured paper or cardboard is allowed! You can put all other paper in the green bins while cardboard can be flattened and placed beside these large blue bins for later collection.  


Having a great night out and wondering what to do with your empties? Currently, the biggest problem for Trinity Waste Management is that glass is being put in the general waste bin, not only preventing its proper disposal but also proving a health risk for anyone handling the waste. Glass bins can be found outside the Pav, in Botany Bay or behind the Arts Block and all glass items can be disposed of here if they are clean and empty. Plastic and aluminium lids can be disposed of in the green bins while mixed material lids can be put in the general waste bins. 

Organic waste

Organic waste such as food can be put into brown, compost bins. A good rule of thumb if you’re confused about whether a non-food item can go in the brown bin, is that if it once grew it can be composted. Paper and corks were once trees so they can go in the brown bin! You can find organic waste bins in Botany Bay, behind the dining hall, behind the Pav or in Goldsmith Hall. Compost bins may be a little rarer on campus, but they are still there so make sure to avail of them! 


General electrical items can be disposed of in the WEEE cages in the Hamilton, Botany Bay or on the second floor of the TBSI. If you’re a resident of Halls you can also bring your electricals to Front Desk for recycling. When disposing of electricals make sure to remove batteries where possible. Trinity also offers facilities for battery recycling in House 6, the Arts Block and the Civic Engineering Building. House 6 also has facilities for toner and mobile phone disposal.

Other waste

There is a whole range of other waste disposal points for the above-mentioned items, with dozens of disposal points around campus. There are also many more items that can be recycled on campus such as construction and demolition waste, hazardous materials, light bulbs, metals, oils and timber all easily disposed of using on-campus facilities. If you are unsure of whether an item can be recycled or how to recycle off-campus you can use the website which sorts objects into categories for recycling and even gives you your nearest recycling point!
For the full list of recyclable items at Trinity and to access a map of disposal points please consult the webpage

Sustainable Period Products Initiative

by Georgia Dillon

The Sustainable Period Products Initiative is a student-run campaign aiming to educate students on the environmental impact of menstruation and sustainable alternatives to traditional, single-use period products. At the heart of the initiative is the sentiment that while reusable period products aren’t suitable for all menstruators, those of us who can make the switch away from single-use products should try to do so. The initiative consists of a social media campaign, a poster campaign, a study of menstruator’s consumer habits and an opportunity for students to trial reusable products for free and to report on their experience with the reusable product. 

The project was funded by the Uni-Eco Green Challenges Campaign. This initiative aims to encourage students to “develop solutions that will improve sustainability at their University campus, working toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” The campaign is a collaboration between five universities across Europe, from Barcelona to Budapest. Trinity had five projects funded, a biodiversity audit of the campus, the student lab coat resale service, ecocalc (an app that helps students calculate the emissions their travel to college cause), thinking inside the box (a project to establish “novel habitats for bugs, bats and birds through installing ‘bio-boxes’ on campus, to enhance and support local wildlife populations) and our project, the sustainable period product initiative. These projects were led by students, with guidance from staff members.

reusable period products aren’t suitable for all menstruators, those of us who can make the switch away from single-use products should try to do so

We created our social media campaign to bring awareness to the waste generated by single-use period products. For example, the average menstruator will use 12,000 period products per lifetime, enough to fill two minibuses, and most period products are made from 90% plastic. The disposal of period products generates up to 200,000 tonnes of waste per year. We will post this campaign on our Instagram @sustainableperiodstcd, as well as on the Green Campus Committee Social Media. We also plan on postering bathrooms across campus, as this will allow students who may be uncomfortable reading posters out in the open the ability to read about the impact of these products and sustainable alternatives. 

the average menstruator will use 12,000 period products per lifetime, enough to fill two minibuses

We also plan on surveying students twice throughout the campaign. Once, in the beginning, to gauge student attitudes on reusable period products, as well as their interest in trying them. Through partaking in this survey, students will have the option of putting their name in a raffle to win a free sustainable period product of their choice. We will ask these students to report on their experiences, which we will anonymously share with other students. We will then resurvey the student body to see if attitudes towards these products have changed. Our goal is to replicate this study in other universities across Ireland or throughout Europe. By using our Uni-Eco platform, we hope to raise awareness of the waste created by these products.

Through partaking in this survey, students will have the option of putting their name in a raffle to win a free sustainable period product of their choice

We were privileged to be chosen to present our project at the Uni-Eco Summer School, a week-long series of presentations and lectures on sustainability and best practices from students and experts from across the five universities. We learnt from other wonderful teams about their initiatives in their home universities and heard from academic staff and sustainability experts about best practices in their universities. The Sustainable Period Product Initiative was selected as the top project, meaning that the project will receive more funding and that we will be able to present our project to participants in the next Uni-Eco Summer School at the University of Utrecht. We hope that Trinity students that experience menstruation will keep a lookout for our social media posts, survey links and posters around campus!

Can There Be Climate Justice Without Gender Justice?

by Niamh Donnelly

What does gender have to do with climate catastrophe? The answer may not be immediately apparent if we consider the connections between unequal power relations and natural hazards, for example. It is assumed that such extreme climate events presumably equally affect the lives of all members of a community. To take such a simplistic view of environmental hazards fails to account for the complexity of the political economy and social structures that can impact the everyday experiences of people dealing with the effects of a rapidly changing climate and other environmental challenges. 

It is widely accepted that any monumental environmental crises, including those predicted as a result of human-induced climate change, can be expected to have far-reaching implications for people of all genders. If the planetary boundaries of our physical world are overburdened, most people assume that the devastating effects of ecosystem collapse will be oblivious to our gendered bodies and social identities. Yet these effects will undoubtedly be experienced differently depending on the individual’s gender identity and race for example. As several feminist scholars have pointed out, international climate negotiations thus far have primarily mirrored the structural inequalities of the world economy. That is, they operate within a global political system often dominated by the interests of the most developed, industrialised countries ⎼ and are often debated and dictated almost exclusively by older, wealthier men. 

These grossly unequal economic and political systems often limit the extent to which more marginalised groups ⎼ not to mention lower income countries ⎼ can contribute towards the reduction of growing environmental and socio-economic problems. It is within this framework that grassroots environmental movements, often representing the strategic interests of marginalised groups, are forced to look in from the outside with virtually no power to influence the scope of policy-related discussions. At worst, such environmentalist movements, which are often led by women, can become the target of state aggression.

This movement explicitly opposes the hierarchical thinking that has led to the exploitation of nature and the perpetuation of social inequalities

People have been gradually waking up to the fact that these underlying capitalist market forces and gender structures are too important to ignore in any discussion on environmental policy. This point is one of the main objectives of ecological feminism ⎼ or ecofeminism ⎼ a social movement and philosophical theory centred around the transformative concepts of women’s liberation and achieving social justice while pursuing environmental goals. 

Female activists and protesters have been drawing attention to the parallels between the oppression of women and the destruction of nature. This movement explicitly opposes the hierarchical thinking that has led to the exploitation of nature and the perpetuation of social inequalities. Since the early 1970s, this movement has spread through female-led protests around the globe and is often championed by women from indigenous communities. Recently there has been a revival of the Ecofeminist movement here in Ireland. Local groups such as the Dublin Ecofeminists are mobilising, leading to a renewed interest in the ecofeminist approach to environmental activism. 

Taking the perspective of ecofeminists, it becomes more obvious to see how methods of expropriating women and other marginalised groups are intertwined with the destruction of our natural world. Both, after all, occur as the result of an unjust socio-economic system and are reinforced through male-dominated political processes. Important decisions about our collective future continue to be made behind closed doors, in meeting rooms that are often devoid of any semblance of diversity, despite the efforts of many marketing campaigns to convince us otherwise. 

The release of the latest IPCC report in 2021 highlighted the overwhelming magnitude of the climate chaos facing us in the coming decades. Thus far, our attempts have failed to appropriately address the severity of our climate warming due to greenhouse gas emissions. It may now be time for us to re-evaluate our strategy and consider some more radical ways of thinking about environmental justice. 

We should ask ourselves if environmental justice can be achieved at all without reshaping social power relations

Given the immensity of the task to effectively manage and protect the natural environment on a global scale, the collective input of all people is required. Perhaps we can learn from the philosophy of radical gender and environmental activists to consider what the transformative capacity of climate policy might be? We should ask ourselves if environmental justice can be achieved at all without reshaping social power relations. The ecofeminists among us would probably argue this is not the case. Regardless, the climate challenges that await may force us to finally consider the intersection of complex ecosystems, social institutions and cultural realities encompassed by this pursuit.

The Life that Lives on Campus

by Hazel Herbst

Hazel Herbst, a summer intern on the Trinity College Dublin Biodiversity Audit reflects on her time spent working on the project.  

As another strange COVID summer has come to a close, it is time to unmask what we’ve been up to these past few months and draw some much needed attention to the natural side of Trinity College Dublin.

As living beings on this dynamic planet, we are highly reliant on the interconnected nature of our ecosystems. Meaning, we are dependent on both the physical and organismal world around us. Should the world around us change and cause certain organisms to become less abundant, a healthy level of biodiversity can ensure that these organisms’ activities are compensated for by others, allowing their essential functions in nature’s systems to remain fulfilled. As such, the diversity of life throughout the world aids in nature’s resilience. But biodiversity does not stop there.

Biodiversity helps boost ecosystem productivity as each species contributes to the maintenance of life, no matter how small their existence may seem. For example, pollinators such as birds, bats and bees benefit the production of 75% of our food crops. Biodiversity further supplies us with medicinal resources, oxygen, clean air, clean water and the regulation of climate and disease control. That’s not to mention the recreational and cultural services that our biodiverse ecosystems gift us for free! We are interacting with the world around us each and every day so it’s important we understand and appreciate the impact of biodiversity on our daily lives. Thus, the importance of biological diversity within Trinity College Dublin deserves more prioritization.

Trinity Biodiversity Audit set out … with the objectives of seeding new initiatives to enhance campus sustainability

It’s no big secret that our college has long been hailed for its historic relevance and academic excellence, but what is known of its biodiversity? In a time of biodiversity crisis where climate change and human intervention continuously threaten the existence of many plant and animal species, we must better acknowledge the variety of life surviving directly around us. For as we now know, a loss of biodiversity is a problem that affects us all.

A biodiversity audit is a way of recording and quantifying the biodiversity of a selected area by looking at and recording how well the grounds are providing habitats for various wildlife. Thus, an audit is an evidence-based approach to understanding the requirements and conservation needs of priority species. As for what inspired the commencement of the Trinity Biodiversity Audit, our team lead Dr. Jane Stout expresses that “there has long been interest in generating baseline biodiversity data for Trinity, with the first “Trees of Trinity College Dublin” book having been published by the Botany Department in 1993 (a 4th edition was then launched in 2019).” Furthermore, Jane instigated the first campus “Bio blitz” in 2013 along with subsequent efforts in both 2014 and 2017, a “Birds of Trinity” book was published in 2016 by the Zoological Society and in 2017 Jane was involved in the launch of a Campus Pollinator Plan. Then in 2020, alongside the biodiversity audit in the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin, Jane had planned to start a similar project in Trinity before COVID ultimately intervened. However, Jane points out that “the success of and interest in the audit of Áras did inspire renewed efforts in Trinity in 2021” and she is “delighted that [they] were finally able to push on with the project.”

And so, a pilot Trinity Biodiversity Audit set out in May 2021 with the objectives of seeding new initiatives to enhance campus sustainability, to enable behaviours that will benefit the environment and life on campus and to enhance communication and education on sustainability amongst all. By developing a better understanding of Trinity’s biodiversity, a system and protocols can be developed that will allow for continued monitoring of the biodiversity of Trinity with reference to baseline biodiversity data.

However, a project of this size was no simple feat and required the collaborative work of many professionals from various fields and disciplines. For example, we had David Hackett from Estate and Facilities, Dr. Aoibheann Gaughran from the Botany and Zoology departments and Dr. Tony Williams, a landscape architect with knowledge of GIS mapping. Many more esteemed professionals from Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences were also involved, particularly in the sampling and identification of the animals and plants throughout campus, such as Collie Ennis (amphibians), Dr. Carla Harper (fungi), Dr. Steve Waldren and Professor Trevor Hodkinson (plants) and Dr. Martyn Linnie (insects). Additionally, there were three undergraduate students employed as interns as well as two undergraduate student volunteers partaking in the audit. With many interested parties working together, the addition of Dr. Ursula King as project coordinator was essential in handling the sheer amount of coordination and management that this audit required.

Under the guidance of Dr. Ursula King and Dr. Jane Stout, the Trinity Biodiversity Audit has had several successes over the summer months. Dr. Tony Williams and student intern Danielle Varley were able to create a pilot habitat mapping system for the Trinity main campus, student interns Kes Daly and Hazel Herbst and student volunteers Scott Bastow and Isabel Quinn tested and documented various protocols for the standardisation of invertebrate sampling on campus and helped with devising a system for processing, recording, and storing lab samples taken from the field. Moreover, thanks to the hard work and contributions from all those involved an initial baseline inventory of the taxonomic groups (mainly invertebrates) and an inventory of horticultural species on campus were recorded and mapped to location and habitat. Furthermore, the geographical location of all trees on campus were recorded and relationships with external taxonomic experts were established. The collaborative and interdisciplinary aspects of the Trinity Biodiversity audit were highly important as they allowed for a pooling of expertise to create awareness of the resources and current state of knowledge available to us. Thus, revealing where gaps may lie should the audit be continued and/or replicated by fellow universities. 

Our audit efforts … have highlighted the ways in which we can protect and hopefully enhance the biodiversity of Trinity College Dublin going forward

As we can see, this pilot audit provided us with a huge amount of data, protocols, mapping systems and collaborative relationship building and was a successful stepping stone in promoting biodiversity awareness and sustainability conversations amongst grounds staff, researchers, staff and students with many invaluable resources for future biodiversity work and environmental research on main campus and other Trinity properties resulting. 

Our audit efforts and successes over the summer months have highlighted the ways in which we can protect and hopefully enhance the biodiversity of Trinity College Dublin going forward. Hence, the next steps in these efforts, should funding allow, is for biodiversity auditing to be continually carried out by Trinity College Dublin for years to come, and for the College community to understand more about the natural world around it, and it’s critical importance. 

All in all, we hope we have instilled in you a knowledge and appreciation for the diversity you see around you. Perhaps, the Trinity Biodiversity Audit will become a topical conversation amongst those studying, working, and visiting the grounds of Trinity College to promote interest in the conservation and protection of the wonderful life that lives on our campus.

An Introduction to The Trees of Trinity

by Jessica O’Connor

A brief stroll throughout campus will reveal a treasure trove of trees. It is clear even to an amateur naturalist that there is a vast selection present on campus. These trees from all over the world (yes, really!) manage to survive within the boundary of a city centre college campus and they sometimes make it look easy. While there is a rocky history with the survival rate of some trees, most have managed to remain here for decades. It is hard to imagine the variety of trees on campus, they range from native Irish oak species to Maidenhair trees native to China. Most of the trees on campus are deciduous- meaning they lose their leaves in autumn. Beautiful colour changes during the year help to reveal the true beauty of the trees on our campus. I hope to give you a greater appreciation for the trees on campus with an exploration of their complex history and interesting ecology. 

Walking through the main gate and out into campus, you are greeted by Parliament square. Your eyes are (most likely) initially drawn to the view directly in front of you, Front Square with its imposing architecture and characteristic cobblestone paths. However, if you look to your left and right you will be greeted by another different but just as magnificent view. The tree you are looking at is an Erman’s Birch or as those in the trade call it a Betula ermanii. This tree has a spectacular range stretching from Japan to Siberia. This pair of birches were planted following the loss of one of two Oregon maples in June of 1945 caused by an unexpected storm. After an arduous conversation, it was agreed that the second Oregon maple should be removed, the reason being symmetry. However, if you look to the right the birch present there is much less impressive; this is due to the lack of sunlight it receives in comparison to its contemporary on the left. So, possibly in homage to the cosmetic and therefore unjust removal of the second Oregon maple, lack of symmetry persists. This impressive tree can reach heights of up to 30m. Betula ermanii has shallow roots and is deciduous. The bark, which is pinkish in colour, unfurls  into scrolls at maturity. 

As you approach the east side of New Square, past the museum building there are two trees that may grab your attention. Across from house 36 of The Narrows are two Oriental plane trees, called Platanus orientalis. These trees are native to Greece eastwards to the north of Iran! Their leaves are alternate which means that each leaf is attached to the branch alone. The presence of globular clusters of fruit are distinct markers for this tree species. However, the trunk of these specimens present on campus is peculiar. There is a wart-like swelling present on the bottle-shaped trunk. Astonishingly the girth of the largest specimen is an impressive 5.5m. This trunk width is the widest of any other tree on campus. Notably, this tree is listed as one of the ‘Champion Trees’ of Dublin by the Tree Council. If we transport ourselves back to the Birr of 1834, the 3rd Earl of Rosse planted two Oriental plane trees. Why is this of importance to us? Well, the trees planted by the Earl are significant as they have the same unusual bark leading us to the conclusion that they are of the same origin as the pair of Oriental plane trees on campus. 

Without having to move too far you should come across a Sessile Oak or Quercus petraea. Sessile oak has been designated as Ireland’s national tree as it is a dominant species throughout our native woodlands. It can grow in poor acid-rich soils and is found in Europe and the Balkans. On the 13th of March in 1992 Alderman Sean Kenny, the Lord Mayor of Dublin at that time planted a Sessile oak sapling. The date of the planting marked the 400th anniversary of College Charter Day. However, due to building works taking place the specimen was moved, sadly it did not live on. The National Parks and Wildlife Service generously supplied a worthy successor, which thankfully remains standing today! 

As one heads to the Ussher library observing trees is probably the last thing on their mind, I get it! but if I may draw your attention to the infamous Aesculus hippocastanum or Horse-Chestnut as you and I may know it. This species is native to the mountainous regions of the Balkans but is planted 

around Europe. This tree was planted in the year 1920, unfortunately, we just missed its 100th birthday. Everyone reading probably has fond memories of collecting ‘conkers’ (don’t lie, we all did it!). What you are actually collecting is the distinctive seed of the tree. Interestingly they were fed to sick 

horses by the Turks as the chemical within the seeds was known to have anti-inflammatory properties. But they could make you and I quite ill, unlike regular chestnuts which are edible. 

At the flat iron, there are many different species of tree present but I am going to shine a light on the Maidenhair tree or Ginkgo biloba. This tree is what is known as a ‘living fossil’. It is the lone survivor of a major plant group that thrived during the time of the dinosaurs (Mesozoic). Imprints of leaves in rocks from 200 million years ago are practically identical to the leaves of the living tree. The leaves 

have a fan-like shape and the veins contain a forked pattern that repeats itself. Ginkgo biloba is a deciduous tree, during autumn its leaves turn a golden colour. This species is native to China and wild trees remain, although scarcely in the east. This tree has separate sexes with the male being favoured as when the female reaches maturity the seed coat becomes sticky and a rancid smell develops. The tree won’t begin to produce fruit until it reaches 20 years of age, however, once it does it makes up for the lack of production initially. Interestingly some specimens are thought to exhibit ‘leaky gender’. This means that male/female branches may form on a tree of the contrasting sex. The tree on campus was planted in 1956. 

Although brief I hope this article has given you an appreciation for some of the trees we are lucky to have on our campus. There are still many more to explore! So, I urge you even when rushing to that oh-so-important lecture or meeting up with your friends at the infamous ‘Pav’, stop and look at these magnificent marvels we have right within our reach.

It is Hard to Ignore the Imminent Damage of the Climate Crisis.

by Eanna O’ Loughlin

Sometimes the summer weather isn’t all that it’s made out to be. Ireland is notorious for its ‘four seasons in one day’, which most of us have grown used to. ‘Hey, it’s just a bit of rain, what can we complain about; the farmers will love it!’. However, in many parts of the world, one-off weather events and out-of-season storm patterns are becoming increasingly common, and their effects all the more extreme. If you find yourself feeling under the weather during the summer, take a look outside; call it pathetic fallacy, but it also has global-scale implications; climate change is here, and she’s going nowhere.

The hurricane season of 2021 began prematurely this year with Hurricane Ana in May, which developed as a subtropical hurricane in the central Atlantic Ocean. Here, she persisted for approximately 24 hours between the 22nd and 23rd of May, a full week before the official start of hurricane season on the 1st of June. Although hurricane Ana did not make landfall, it nonetheless set the tone for the rest of the hurricane season, which so far has already consisted of 20 hurricanes. Interestingly, the ‘average’ number of storms and hurricanes in a given hurricane season was increased this year from the average used between 2010 and 2020 to 14 storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes, an increase from 12, 6, and 3 respectively for the 1981-2010 average. This reflects the increasing presence of storms and hurricanes developing over the Atlantic Ocean. And it’s not just the number of hurricanes that is increasing, but the strength and thus the cost, both to economies and human life. This year, a prime example was Hurricane Ida in August, whose path stretched from Venezuela in the south to the US state of Connecticut in the north-east. Consecutive storms cause an increase in the damage experienced by those in the path of the storm, regardless of whether the strength of following storms are the same as the initial event. As seen in Louisiana, insurance payouts as a result of Hurricane Ida and subsequently tropical storm Nicholas in September are estimated to be $950 million. Hurricane Ida alone cost the US $95 billion. At the time of writing, there is still a month and a half left of the official storm season, and as such, time will tell whether there are further storms that will sweep across the east coast of North America and the Caribbean. 

Unfortunately, the problem does not end when the season is over. There is no rest for the wicked, and the weather notoriously does not take a day off. Even if there are no extreme storms at the scale of summer hurricanes again until next June, it goes without saying that the states affected in 2021 will still be recovering when the 2022 season rolls in. As seen with Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, New Orleans still bears the scars caused by the damage. Therefore, the effect of storms lasts far longer than the time they spend in our presence. If the frequency and strength of storms continue to increase as outlined in the recently published IPCC AR6 report (a light summer read), the ability of cities to recover becomes increasingly difficult to conceive.

if there are no extreme storms at the scale of summer hurricanes again until next June, it goes without saying that the states affected in 2021 will still be recovering when the 2022 season rolls in

Closer to home, it is ironic that the rain received on the east-coast of the Americas this summer could have been put to good use in Howth, North County Dublin, where gorse fires raged in June and July. The first sparks were ignited on the 22nd of June. Despite the attempts of both the Irish Air Corps and Dublin Fire Brigade, the fire persisted throughout the summer, fuelled by the continued dry weather in July, which further dried out vegetation. This led to large plumes of smoke reaching communities in Clontarf, Baldoyle, and Malahide, posing a health risk to residents who were forced to breathe in smoke-laden air. By the end of July, the gorse fires were finally contained, but not before burning through an area of up to 65 acres. As summers continue to get hotter and heatwaves become increasingly common, gorse fires are likely to become a familiar feature on the landscape of Ireland.  In an attempt to combat the spread of future wildfires to such a large extent, Old Irish goats are being introduced to eat the gorse that resides on the hills at Howth, as it is the dry gorse that ignites easily, thus providing much of the fuel for summer wildfires.  The future looks bright not just for the conservation of plant species that live in the vicinity of fire-prone gorse but also for the goat species themselves. The Old Irish Goat species has in the past been driven close to extinction, and as such, their new role as stewards of the environment will also give them the opportunity to increase their own numbers. 

And it’s not just the number of hurricanes that is increasing, but the strength and thus the cost, both to economies and human life

Meanwhile, across the pond, the outlook isn’t looking too good. The annual wildfire season in North America, which affects northern California in particular, saw its second-largest wildfire in recorded history this year and a wildfire protection budget that has been stretched thin. The Dixie wildfire has spread over one million acres since it established itself in mid-July. So far, $620 million has been spent, making it the most expensive attempt in fire control in the history of the state of California. Of course, this only accounts for the money spent on the Dixie fire; in total, California has spent $1.1 billion on wildfires since July.

While countries like Ireland and the US are afforded the luxury of funding attempts to curb the effects of climate disasters -as has been seen in Haiti- countries that are prone to frequent hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes have suffered immensely when two or more of these climate-related events occur in quick succession. Haiti was struck by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on the 14th of August, with a focus located just 6.2 miles below the Earth’s surface. The shallow depth of the earthquake meant that more damage was caused than would be expected for a deeper earthquake. Unlike the infamous 2010 earthquake, which struck Port-au-Prince, the 2021 earthquake primarily affected a rural area with a smaller population living in the vicinity of the epicentre. Unfortunately, this was not the last natural disaster to hit Haiti this year. Just days later, tropical storm Grace made landfall. Approximately 5 to 10 inches of rain fell, providing the impetus for hundreds of landslides triggered on water-saturated slopes that had already been structurally weakened by faulting in response to the earlier earthquake. The case of Haiti, where 96% of the population is at risk of natural disasters, provides a grim insight into life on a warming planet, where multiple natural disasters could strike a country at once. In addition to frequent earthquakes and hurricanes, Haiti continues to battle the COVID-19 health crisis amidst the backdrop of a crumbling political system compounded by food shortages and gang violence.

the effects of climate change are visible, and the alterations to climate systems will continue to create more extreme weather events

If there is one thing we have learned from this summer, it’s that the effects of climate change are visible, and the alterations to climate systems will continue to create more extreme weather events, not just during the summer but at all times of the year. While the story of a symbiotic relationship between Old Irish Goats and gorse bushes is heart-warming, global, positive change towards a carbon-neutral planet needs to be implemented now in order to restrict the magnitude of natural disasters such as those seen in Haiti. Warmer summers here in Ireland may see an increase in the number of ‘ice-cream weather’ days, but this comes at a price, a price that no amount of holiday tantrums or trips to the beach will be able to make up for.