Rathlin Island leads the way in fight against climate change

The people of Rathlin Island are leading the way in the battle against climate change with communities on the island revealing ambitions to become carbon neutral.

In 2015 many countries pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by signing the Paris Agreement and the inhabitants of Rathlin have a ten year plan in place and are focusing on renewable enery, self-sufficiency, electric transport and a hyrdrogen ferry.

Rathlin Island is Northern Ireland’s most important seabird colony and its surrounding seas are Marine Protected Areas, featuring reefs, sea caves and maritime cliffs.

Living in an area such as Rathlin necessitates a harmonious relationship with the surrounding environment, and islanders feel passionately about leading the way when it comes to becoming eco-friendly and fighting climate change.

Michael Cecil, chair of the Rathlin Community Development Association said,

“It’s about starting with the low hanging fruit, if we can generate some renewable energy on the island through wind, or wave or tidal, we’ll explore all the options. Perhaps generating hydrogen fuel from that which can be then used to power the cars on the island, the home heating boilers, and gas cooking, and eventually moving on to hydrogen or battery operated ferries.

“If we can achieve it, at the end of the grid in a remote location, then this can be rolled out anywhere. Islanders see the beauty and the nature every day that surrounds them and they can see the damage that’s happening worldwide because of climate change,” Cecil said.

“They don’t want to see that on Rathlin, they want to do their bit to protect that and be an example to wider society that this can be done anywhere.”