Joining together with purpose


MORE POSSIBILITIES It’s time to use all the technology we have perfected, and our outdoor spaces, to share knowledge, wisdom and action plans that we are ready to bring to life.

Green Living
McKinley Neal

It’s still January, so happy New Year! I hope that 2022 is off to a good start for you. Although ostensibly I’m here to give ideas on the topic of ‘Green Living’, I’m not here to write a list of resolutions. I’ve been reflecting on how much pressure we can put on ourselves as individuals to make changes to our habits and routines versus what expectations we have of our community and society.
Of course I believe that daily choices for individuals and families matter, especially when we think carefully about to whom we give our hard-earned money for essentials like food and clothes. I can see the direct impact of my decision to buy our weekly veg from a farm like Glasraí in Hollymount, as I can taste their new crops and meet their new team members.
I can also appreciate how choosing to opt for swapping clothes with friends or visiting a charity shop or an online secondhand exchange keeps good items in circulation longer and reduces demand on unsustainable materials and overworked people in the global supply chain.
However, there is much that is beyond the scope of us as individuals, despite our best efforts, so I have come to appreciate how important it is for people to join together to share ideas and work together to effect change.
So many big issues need to be tackled – making towns and cities more accessible and pedestrian and bike-friendly; compelling large corporations and supermarkets to radically reduce packaging and implement circular-economy initiatives; protecting and rewilding bogs and forests; promoting diversity of native species; developing community-based, sustainable energy networks; and providing access to clean water... the list goes on. A group of people collaborating to submit proposals to the local council, send letters to TDs, to grow and protect and demand change is the only way we can make big progress.
So my priority for the start of this year is to cultivate hope through connection with other people. We have all lived through a tough two years of separation, and now it’s time to use all the technology we have perfected, and our outdoor spaces, to share knowledge, wisdom and action plans that we are ready to bring to life.
First, I’ll be taking time to go for regular walks and do some regular clean-ups with people, so we can enjoy a chat while out and making a bit of a difference.
Then, I plan to join (or co-create) a small group to discuss relevant books (‘All We Can Save’, ‘Consumed’ and ‘A Bright Future’ are some titles on the list) and then take actions based on the learning. We will also be hosting more community events here at PAX, and we know that many more groups have activities planned, so keep an eye on social media.
There are a number of organisations in Mayo and across Ireland that would relish new members with energy to make things happen, and you can easily find one to suit your interest.

McKinley Neal co-runs PAX Whole Foods & Eco Goods, a minimal-waste shop in Westport offering bulk organic foods, reusable goods, household products, eco-friendly personal care items and gifts.