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Meet our members – Zero Waste North West

Meet our member-Northwest Zero Waste

"Literally, things are heating up. If there is time for transformational changes brought about by zero waste, now is the time."

Meet Maeve O'Neill from Northwest Zero Waste

Hi Maeve, can you give us a brief introduction to the focus of Zero Waste Northwest?

The Northwest Zero Waste Organization was established in March 2013 to oppose the plan to build a municipal waste incinerator in Strathfoyle, a suburb of Delhi in northwestern Ireland. It threatens our air, water, and soil, and will become a driver of local climate change, creating a 25-year demand for “waste” burning. The Delhi public rejected incineration twice (DuPont toxic waste incinerator-1991, and municipal waste incinerator-2002), so this time our opposition must be within the scope of our support. We have studied the solutions to the waste generation crisis and promised to work with the city council and local communities to implement these solutions. The solution requires a cultural change in the attitude and behavior of resources, from our linear, extractive, one-off lifestyle to a lifestyle compatible with the Zero Waste Circular Economy (ZWCE). "No waste, no waste!"

After a year of lobbying and creative campaign committees abandoned the incinerator plan. We joined ZWE and invited its leading experts to participate in Derry's first zero-waste international conference, the countdown to zero. We received funding and jointly commissioned research with the council to establish a business case for transforming the current collection system of the council into a system that promotes ZWCE. The final report and the resulting strategy were unanimously endorsed by the board of directors in December 2017.

We are now beginning to work with the council to correctly implement the ZWCE strategy. We work independently in communities, schools, and companies to simulate ZWCE practices by promoting the following methods: waste prevention, such as our Naw To Straws activity, Zero Journey supports local cafes and other businesses to reduce waste through better design, such as Zero waste purchases more “waste” recycling methods, such as using the local old Biro collection point recycled by Terracycle. We have a zero waste youth club and a vibrant community event calendar to cultivate love for the earth (planting trees, Earth Hour, festivals, picking up trash, etc...) Our Facebook page helps spread awareness and supports two people Of zero waste lifestyle choices/enterprise.

How long have you worked in this field? What makes you fall into (zero) waste?

I have always had a certain sense of environmental protection. My father actively participated in the first anti-incineration campaign in Delhi. He started to participate in the rally when he was 3 years old. However, until I returned to Delhi in 2014 and lived in Scotland for 8 years, I started to participate in various activities in the city. When I just wandered around the local community center in town, an accidental encounter allowed me to achieve zero waste through a conversation with then-chairman Judi Logue. I have been addicted ever since. For me, climate justice is at the core of my politics, because without a habitable planet, everything else is not important. A healthier planet requires a transformative system change, which may lead to healthier and happier. And a more equal society. Zero waste is part of the solution, and it is also something worth fighting for.

What is your current role in the organization?

I am the current chairman of Northwest Zero Waste.

Tell us more about an activity/event you are doing?

We are currently supporting our local councils to effectively implement a zero waste circular economy strategy. This is a real relationship building experience, because we are cautious about how the council will work with us, and vice versa, but the meeting is progressing very positively, and we feel more and more like important partners in the process, rather than The blue-eyed dreamer is nagging in parliament. A quiet revolution is taking place within the parliament, and parliament staff are now sharing our vision for the city’s zero waste future. We have been meeting with local elected representatives, mayors and other influential groups on how to adopt this strategy to explain what zero waste is and how to implement it most effectively, so as to bring economic, health, and health benefits to our region. Social benefits.

We also continue to work in the community and on the ground to raise people's awareness of zero waste and general environmental awareness. We always strive to be as creative as possible in our actions, not only because it helps attract the public, but also nourishes us as activists. Now we are preparing for the Halloween parade in the city. We will make a huge whale out of willow trees. It will be killed by plastic. We will carry it as a sea creature and mourn it in the parade, led by Mananan McCrill. The sea god in Irish mythology. This is a time of year and we can reveal our terrible relationship with plastics because we are more active and empowered for the rest of the year.

I also cooperated with other environmental and campaign groups to organize a large-scale environmental parade and rally to promote environmental protection in Northern Ireland. This is the first attempt at such a parade, and it will take the same route as Delhi's original civil rights parade, which has just celebrated its 50th anniversary this month.

If you want your organization to be known for one thing, what would it be?

If we can help implement a zero-waste circular economy strategy, make our region the green capital of Ireland and the United Kingdom, take a leading position in resource management, and in a way that brings economic prosperity to Ireland, it will be absolutely exciting surprise. Our often overlooked area is like other amazing zero-waste cities in Europe.

How would you describe the development of the zero waste movement in your country? What is your view of the future?I think in recent years people have become more and more aware of the plastic problems we face in our daily lives. This problem is so huge, but people often don't know where to look. However, people did not look away, but found that zero waste is a feasible solution to this problem. I think people are very interested in it because we are not fighting against the plastic problem, but working for a zero-waste future. Working for solutions is very powerful. We have more followers on social media, gained a lot of media attention, and found other groups and interested people to seek unity. At the same time, however, as environmental protection continues to be eroded at an alarming rate, violence against environmental activists has also increased globally. Things are heating up. Literally, if there is time for transformational changes brought about by zero waste, now is the time. We need fundamental institutional changes to put humanity and the planet before profit. I think people and communities are ready to meet this change, but the systems we live in, government policies and planning procedures need to change to realize this vision.

What are the famous quotes that move you?

In any conversation or general life I do, I always quote 2 sentences. The first is about empowering communities to change the world:

If you give me a fish, you have fed me for a day.

If you teach me to fish, then you are feeding me until the river is polluted or the coastline is occupied for development.

However, if you teach me to organize, then no matter what challenges I encounter, I can join with my peers, and we will develop our own solutions.

Ricardo Levins Morales

The second is the fairy godmother from Cinderella, about realizing things that people think are impossible:

"This world is full of comics and fools. They don't believe in wise rules or what wise people say. And because of these stupid and dewy fools, they keep dreaming about impossible hopes and impossible things happen every day. happen."

You can find more information about Northwest Zero Waste and its work here.

"Working for a solution is very powerful."

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