Connecting communities with peatlands

About the project

Connecting Communities with Peatlands (CCWP) is a Just Transition Fund project which aims to equip peatland communities in the Midlands with knowledge, skills, tools, experience, and research through training and the Community Wetlands Forum network to encourage and motivate community-led peatland engagement, conservation, and management for sustainable communities. The project partners are Irish Rural Link and the Community Wetlands Forum.

Our priority is to provide community transitioning support to community-led groups in counties Kildare, Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath, Roscommon, North Tipperary, and East Galway.

Connecting Communities with Peatlands will do just that via regional workshops and capacity-building training for groups who wish to establish projects on their local peatlands. Community groups will inform the content of the workshops and training based on their needs.

What is Just Transition?

The concept of Just Transition in relation to climate change emerged in the 1990s. It was developed by North American trade unions seeking to provide supports for workers who lost their jobs due to changes to environmental protection policies.

However, this concept evolved into a plan to invest in transitioning to environmentally and socially sustainable economies and communities.

‘Just Transition’ was included in the Paris Climate Agreement 2015 and has since incorporated the Sustainable Development Goals, such as Goal 8 Decent Work, Goal 7 Affordable and Clean Energy Goal 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, Goal 13 Climate Action, and Goal 1 No Poverty.

“A just transition for all towards an environmentally sustainable economy … needs to be well managed and contribute to the goals of decent work for all, social inclusion and the eradication of poverty.” – International Labour Organisation

Social dialogue underpins Just Transition. For policies to be successful, employers, governments, workers, and communities need to be in conversation with each other to ensure environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable communities.

Community-led change is sustainable change. With the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, rural communities not only face an energy transition but an economic, social, and cultural transition. With the right supports communities can take advantage of change and drive it for their benefit. We intend to deliver these vital supports to peatland communities.

What we provide

We provide free capacity-building training for community groups to support them in their efforts to engage with their local bog. We cover a range of topics: heritage, the arts, conservation, education, community development, governance, recreation, tourism, etc. Since 2021, we have delivered the following trainings:

We have recently launched a pilot mentoring programme for five community groups. Mentoring is peer-led and communities are matched with someone who has experience with peatland engagement and community development. We hope that we can extend the programme further in 2022.

Information on our current courses and training programmes is available here

For further learning about peatland management and conservation for communities you can download the Community Wetlands Forum Guidelines Handbook.

To find out more about the project, or if you have any queries, please contact the project coordintor [email protected]

Know Your Bog 

As Ireland transitions from using peat as an energy source, we are inviting communities to share their knowledge and memories about their bogs using an interactive mapping system. We are interested in stories and information about the places we live; what we did; who did what; what and who lived there; the sounds; the smells; and what it looked like.

Heritage ranges from folklore to crafts, to biodiversity, to architecture, but ultimately we get to choose our heritage. Anything your community decides is important to document about the bogs and their history will be welcomed.

We have collaborated with Our Irish Heritage and the Know Your 5K interactive map to get peatland culture, heritage and biodiversity on the map. Contribute your submission today.

If you have any queries regarding the Know Your Bog initiative please contact [email protected]