Druidry and Environmentalism (originally published in Touchstone magazine, September 2019)
Events in the last decade or so have seen a huge rise in Druid activism all over the world, most notably The Warrior’s Call (which is pan-Pagan) and more recently Extinction Rebellion (there is an OBOD group for this). As Druids, it is blatantly obvious that we should all be concerned about the state of the planet and protecting out envirionment generally. However, theory does not always translate into action very well, with many people (from my experience) failing to act out their love of the Earth in their everyday lives.
I don’t want to be sanctimonious, I can do better just like everyone else, but I feel there is no harm in some gentle encouragement of my fellow Druids to get more involved. It is startling clear that our governments are not really interested in making large scale changes, their main interest continues to be protecting the corporate sector and their tax revenue. Given that fact, it really is up to all individuals to help and help each other to make a real change in how our society functions.
For this reason I have personally got involved in Extinction Rebellion in Dingle on the west coast of Ireland. Oil and gas exploratory drilling is happening 200km away but it is also happening off the coast of Cork and south Dublin. Fracking may be permitted in county Fermanagh despite government assurances that it would never happen in the Republic of Ireland. Plans for a giant molybdenum-copper open cast mine in beautiful Connemara would allow almost 7,000 km of land to be wrecked forever if this goes ahead. A huge oil and gas depot is planned for county Clare on the banks of the Shannon river.
Ireland has enough environmental problems already, what with the lowest tree cover in Europe, excessive use of glyphosate and irresponsible farming practices. The latest round of threats shows how little government cares, despite the hand wringing and idle promises of our top politicians. From where I stand, the situation is not much better in Britain, Australia, USA, Canada or France, where corporate interests also trump public/ecosystem interests every time.
My latest book is an attempt to convince people that we can make a difference and that we don’t have time to waste on waiting for our governments to wake up and actually do something real and constructive. As Druids, I feel that it is vitally important that we be ambassadors for the environment but without being off-putting evangelical types. Getting the balance right is tough, it’s very easy to lose people with over-zealous righteousness! But, of course, the first place to start is with our own lives and our own immediate circle of family and friends. This battle to save our beautiful world must be won, but it will be a grass-roots movement, not the politicians that will make it an unstoppable force.