By Chamber Press Office, 01 February 2023
A sustainable city is described as one that is designed to address environmental, economic and social impact via city management and urban planning.
A lot can be achieved in improving the urban environment through establishing eco-friendly city infrastructure such as public green spaces, efficient waste removal, planned infrastructure and boosting biodiversity.
Like many cities, Dublin has a long way to go, but one thing working in its favour is the growing social enterprise ecosystem that drives positive changes.
Forest in your pocket
One of these initiatives is Pocket Forests, a social enterprise that Ashe Conrad Jones and Catherine Cleary started in 2020.
Once they became aware of the concept of tiny forests, they instantly thought that it would be great to adopt it in an area with little green space in Dublin, where they lived.
Two years on, they have planted over 40 pocket forests in Dublin and beyond, between 6 sqm and 100 sqm in size.
Catherine explains the impact that the Tiny Forest model can have on creating better city life:
“We have worked with hundreds of people and planted more than 2,000 trees and shrubs in towns and cities. We hope we’ve been able to introduce the idea of nature-based solutions to people in inner city areas with little or no connection to soil or growing or creating natural ecosystems.”
She adds: “Through a partnership with The Digital Hub, we’ve been holding a series of workshops, showing people how to compost their food waste, explaining the pocket forest methods and ideas around soil health and its vital importance to our health”.
As a social enterprise, Pocket Forests has also established a small native tree nursery in Dublin and have created five short `Meet the Trees` videos about native trees, giving fun facts about each.
Buzzing to change
A widely discussed area of urban biodiversity is the challenge of preserving and supporting pollinators, such as bees, within the built environment.
Social innovators started the Bee8 enterprise that allows people to adopt bees and installs beehives around Dublin to improve biodiversity in the city.
With this, they offer smart bee tech units which give insights about how the bees are doing so those who adopt them can ensure they are in the best health and environment possible to live out their days happily.
For example, the weight sensor tells you when the bees collect nectar, and other sensors provide data on the health of bees and queens.
Robert Emmet CDP manages this project in partnership with The Digital Hub and Smart D8 project. Their vision is to have a socially and environmentally sustainable ecological and social network in the Southwest Inner City of Dublin.
Bees are essential to all living things, from the food we eat to the air we breathe and more. Bee8 indicates that around 90% of wild plants and 75 per cent of crops depend on pollinators. In addition, bees play a significant role in creating conditions amenable to millions of other animals and insects, which is crucial in maintaining diverse ecosystems.
The social enterprise also delivers numerous bees-related, climate change and sustainability education programmes in local schools in Dublin 8 district.
Originally published in the `City Next` edition of Profit with Purpose Magazine produced by Business Spirit News.