Saoi O’Connor: Communities Can Help Fight Climate Change
24 Mar 2021
Saoi O’Connor has been called Ireland’s answer to Greta Thumberg. At just 18, she’s had a pivotal role in leading the Irish climate movement.
In early 2020, she spoke at the National Credit union Youth Conference about the importance of communities, and credit unions, joining the climate movement to instill change. You can watch highlights of her speech above.
As Saturday, March 27th, marks #EarthHour2021 - the world’s largest grassroots initiative to promote positive environmental impact – this week, we’ll be sharing stories of sustainable initiatives by Credit Unions around the country, and will host the video of Saoi O’Connor’s full 20 minute speech on the climate crisis on our Facebook page.
Saoi O’Connor Speech
“It’s hard to get people to understand that the climate crisis, or climate change, is something that is really going to affect them in their everyday lives - when it is something that we’ve been hearing about as this abstract concept, that is happening in the background for years now. For my generation, climate change was always something that was just going on in background.”
“It’s hard to get people to take that seriously as a threat, when they just consider it as part of normality.”
“In ten years we’re going to have to be carbon neutral, if we’re going to commit to our 1.5 degree world. I hope that Ireland will have achieved that carbon neutrality and we no longer will be hoarder more of the earth’s resources than is our fair share.”
“[We presume] the experts know what’s happening, that the politicians will fix it and it will all be fine. But it’s important for communities, and community organisations like credit unions to get involved in this movement. We’ve given enough time for our leaders on a national and global scale to take action that is required to make changes – but they haven’t. So we can’t wait for them anymore, we need people on the ground to start changing.”
Credit unions are a different type of financial institution. They are not-for-profit democratic financial cooperatives owned by all of their members. Every member over 16 has a vote at their local credit union AGM, and any surplus income is used to develop new and existing services or it is distributed among members in the form of dividends to savers or interest rebates to borrowers.
For more information on how to get involved with your local credit union, click here. For more information on Earth Hour, and how you can get involved, click here.