John Walsh, Climate Champion
In August 2017, Dorothy Stewart and Micheál Ó Cinnéide from the EPA had the privilege of visiting John Walsh at his home in Mountain Road, overlooking Clonmel, County Tipperary. He welcomed us warmly and we had a marvellous chat about his family history, his decades of work with Bulmers in Clonmel, and his cycling trip to Lourdes.
At the age of 99, John decided he needed a car, but he was concerned about the environment, so he bought a Nissan Leaf. He was shown driving his electric vehicle on the recent RTE programme ‘Too Old To Drive’. As John told us: “I was not entirely happy doing the programme, as I realised it would show me as car dependent. In fact, a bike was my primary mode of local transport until I reached 99. Since then, I do need the car for social contact and to get to where I can safely walk. The walking is the only serious problem, as the footpath on the busy Mountain Road was merged with the carriageway”.
It was clear that John has a great sense of energy and charisma. He embraces life and is open to change. When we asked him if he would like to be named as a Climate Champion for the EPA, he smiled and said he would be delighted, so long as there aren’t too many speeches involved!
John’s life-long commitment to being active and to looking after the environment is an inspiration and at almost 102 years old is testament to the health and well-being benefits that accrue from active engagement with green and blue spaces.
Working together with An Taisce and other agencies, we can encourage more Climate Champions like John in towns and villages throughout Ireland. Micheál Ó Cinnéide, Director, EPA www.climateambassador.ie www.coolplanetexperience.org