I see myself as a morning person, I’m up early every morning with my bowl of porridge, feeding my daughter and hanging out with her before I head into work in Castlebar. Depending on what’s happening that day, I could find myself in a different location other than my office. My current role as Mayo County Council’s Climate Action Officer is a new role created by the council when I started back in 2017.
My job varies a lot, depending on the day. I work on a number of different projects such as our climate ambassador programme, the adaptation programme and looking at how we use our energy, such as our electrical and transport energy. The main aspect of the job is to raise awareness about climate change and encouraging significant action within the county.
I work with Mayo County Council to reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions and our impact on the planet, but I also work with local communities to do the same. I really like my job because of the variety in each day and the fact that my job requires me to make positive changes to our climate. Likewise, I enjoy the positive energy, particularly working with the Student Climate Action Forum and seeing the questions that they are asking the politicians and the councillors about climate change; so it’s just good to be a part of the solution.
Looking at climate change in today’s society, I feel that people are definitely becoming more climate aware because of how frequently it’s in the news. Even last year was a really good example with the fact that we had the ‘Beast from the East’, the really hot summer and before that we had Storm Ophelia and all these other significant weather events. So, there’s no denying that there is something happening with the climate and it’s definitely something we need to have a serious look at before it get’s worse. Likewise, we can even see from the politics in the local and European elections in the last month, that the candidates are more aware and in their campaigns they are now indicating that they are really interested in taking action on climate change.
I think Mayo, as a county, is doing much more in recent times regarding climate action. For example, Mayo County Council are keen on protecting the environment, agriculture and our climate with the introduction of roles such as a Climate Action Officer, which indicates that we are beginning to take action. We are beginning to implement different solutions, such as attempting to introduce more electric vehicles and trying to reduce energy consumption. But, throughout the council, in different sectors, I think recently there’s been much more awareness, which leads to significant improvements and solutions. Westport Tidy Towns are a good example as they are now learning about the importance of biodiversity and how to implement it properly around the town. Overall, there’s a lot done but still more to do.
Inaction will cause things to get much worse; the planet will continue to warm and we will have more extreme weather events. But, I prefer to focus on the benefits of action rather than the effects of inaction. I really feel that action is bringing communities together, it benefits our health and it’s even better for our pockets, as it helps us save money but really it’s about improving the overall quality of life for people in Mayo and throughout the world.
At lunchtime, I’d usually try to eat a vegetarian-type meal. If I have a bit of time to spare during lunch, I might meet friends, I might go to yoga, I might go home to my family or I may visit my parents in Breaffy. It all depends on what’s going on that day.
Usually, I go straight home from work as I have to pick up my daughter on the way home. Once I get back home to Westport, I might spend some time outside before usually sitting down a late dinner, which content wise varies each day. On evenings, for example, when I was working on the adaptation strategy, traveling or attending the information meetings, I may be home later. But generally I am home straight after work, hanging out with the family and taking it easy for the evening. At the weekend, I like to spend time outside, going for walks, spending time in the garden, going to the beach and meeting up with friends and family.
In conversation with Lúcás Treacy
Name: Laura Dixon
Occupation: Climate Action Officer, Mayo County Council
If money was no object, what would you do all day?
Hang out with my family probably at the beach or in the garden but I would probably still be involved in some form of community climate action
Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?
I worked as a labourer for a summer
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
An energy bar where crickets were the protein source
Where’s your favourite place in the world?
What makes you angry?
Greedy/ignorant people that don’t care about the impact their choices are having on people or planet
Name three things that are always in your fridge?
Carrots, apples and natural yogurt
What makes you nervous?
Watching Mayo matches
Favourite TV show?
We don’t have a telly, but I enjoyed Game of Thrones
Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?
Michael D Higgins
I cycled to Italy in 2013. It’s such a great way to travel. I visited friends along the way, saw loads of beautiful places, got lots of exercise and in turn could eat loads of food – it was brilliant
What do you miss most about being a kid?
Being outside playing basketball, building huts, exploring, playing in ‘muc-land’
What’s your most prized possession?
I just lost my watch which I am really upset about. Apart from that, maybe my bike
Best advice you ever got?
We don’t need a handful of people living perfectly sustainable lives, we need billions of people doing it imperfectly
Describe yourself in three words?
Passionate, hard-working and friendly
How do you unwind?
Walking, cycling or swimming in the sea