St. Michael’s CU: Biodiversity to Rewild the Community
26 Mar 2021
Saturday, March 27th, marks #EarthHour2021 - the world’s largest grassroots initiative to promote positive environmental impact.
Blackrock, a leafy Cork city suburb that developed from a small fishing village in the 16th century, is where St. Michael’s opened their office in 1963. The credit union has been integral to the local community since, and is the driving force behind the area’s plans for greater biodiversity.
According to scientists, the destruction of the world’s biodiversity (the variety of wildlife and its habitats) has been the cause of earth’s current sixth mass extinction. Regrowth, or rewilding, has never been more important, and all efforts – including work by St. Michael’s credit union, Cork City – make a difference.
As part of a wider aim to promote sustainability, St. Michael’s credit union, along with its members, have launched the Biodiversity Initiative, to encourage rewilding in their community.
The committee enlisted the help of Rob Ó Foghlú, the Coastals Programmes officer at Clean Coasts. Rob, who has a Masters in environmental science, worked in forestry education and as environmental officer for An Taisce, supported an assessment of the immediate and wider area around the credit union, and looked at ways to develop and improve biodiversity there.
The committee has also engaged with Cork County Council and local organisations to re-wild sections of the neighbourhood with native flowers and plants, and in turn, animal and insect habitats. Schools were provided with seed bombs from a local supplier, to reintroduce wild species onto their grounds.
Luke Casey, Business Development and Marketing officer at St. Michael’s Credit Union, said:
For us, it’s important to have a positive impact locally, beyond the provision of financial services. The loss of biodiversity is a big issue for society - and as a cornerstone organisation of the community, the credit union is as an ideal place to start. Our place in the community also provides a platform to inform others about biodiversity and what people can do to enhance it.'
To mark Earth Hour, the credit union have said they will provide members with wild seed packets acquired from a local supplier, to be planted at home or in the surrounding area. It’s an ideal time of year to plant these seeds.
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.