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22 Jan 2022

Electric vehicles only tractor run mooted by Offaly environmentalist

TRACTORS

Tractors taking part in the Tullamore tractor run on December 28 last

AN Offaly environmentalist has suggested the annual Tullamore tractor run be confined to electric vehicles only.

Rhode based Tom Roche said this would be an opportunity for Tullamore to become a world leader in fund-raising using electric vehicles.

While praising the tractor run which has raised over €300,000 for cancer care Mr Roche says he has questions over the method by which the funds are raised.

“The burning of fossil fuels in combustion engines such as tractors, lorries, etc is a significant contributor to air pollution,” he writes in a letter published in this week's Tullamore Tribune.

The tractor run held two weeks ago was the most popular ever with over 400 entries taking part.

It is understood the tractor run organising committee will discuss Mr Roche's suggestion at their next meeting.

The full text of Mr Roche's letter is as follows:

Sir,

  Since its inception in 2008, Tullamore Tractor Run has raised a staggering €300,000 for local cancer care. This is an excellent example of the enormous generosity of people to causes they care about.

Regrettably, I have questions over the method by which the funds are raised. Unfortunately, the burning of fossil fuels in combustion engines such as tractors, lorries, etc is a significant contributor to air pollution.

The World Health Organisation’s  International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that ambient (outdoor) air pollution is carcinogenic to humans with the particulate matter component of air pollution most closely associated with increased cancer incidence, especially lung cancer. An association also has been observed between outdoor air pollution and increase in cancer of the urinary tract/bladder. 

Scientists tell us that fossil fuel combustion led to  ‘8.7 million deaths globally in 2018.’    (You can find more on this at:  https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ambient-(outdoor)-air-quality-and-health)

How about Tullamore becoming a world leader in fund-raising using electric vehicles? This would fit nicely with the present Just Transition process taking place across the Midlands.  The EU Just Transition Fund will support the goals of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan and its objectives, in relation to providing a just transition in the wider Midlands region. This is in response to the ending of peat extraction for electricity generation. Also,  we are entering the second year of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030. Many worthy opportunities to support sustainable development will present themselves such as, a tree-planting blitz for villages and towns, a river or lake catchment clean-up, a community garden, hedgerow and woodland restoration and pollinator projects. All the above could be done through voluntary effort and sponsored by local businesses and the proceeds donated to worthy causes such as cancer respite.

Ecoanxiety is also have a significant impact on children’s mental health.   According to  Dr. Molly Bredin, College of Psychiatrists of Ireland,  “…we know it’s a key issue for children and teenagers and it’s changing the way adults vote - ecoanxiety is going to become relevant in our lifetime.”    (You can find more on this at:https://www.irishpsychiatry.ie/blog/should-we-be-worried-about-eco-anxiety/)

I would gladly volunteer my time to any cause that wishes to raise funds for cancer respite, etc, which thinks outside the box. 

Is it time to start to consider new ways of raising much needed funds for cancer care, etc, - projects that contribute to the cure rather than the cause?

Yours,

Tom Roche,

Ringfort Workshop,

Rathcobican,

Rhode

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