Time travel – backwards to Environmental Innocence.

Saturday 1456 – 1st Sept 2012.

I’ve been travelling all day today and am now safely ensconced in the Trossachs.. Oh er missus!!  (sorry private joke! ) in Scotland using an internet connection that seems to have come out of the ark.. Do many of you remember dial-up? well it’s like that a bit – very slow and your allowed 20 mins slots before you get cut off and have to log on again.. I could use my little netbook but that would probably be even worse.

Anyway back to what I’m going to write about.. I seem to be on a bit of a nostalgia trip at the moment.. lots of self re-assessment/reflection going on. Last week I gave you railways, this week I’m going to talk about the start of my involvement with the Environmental movement and show you some photos from that time.. and just take a look at the hairstyles and HUGE glasses…hilarious..

These photos are from 1989-95 when I lived in the Republic of Ireland and was involved in the founding of a local group of Earthwatch, who were like the Irish equivalent of Friends of the Earth at that time.

We kept a scrapbook and when I looked through it a couple of days ago I thought how amateurish it all was but heartfelt nonetheless as a small group of us were passionate about helping to save this beautiful planet.

This was me as Chairperson giving an interview to the local paper; saying things like –

” We try to encourage a positive attitude – to think about what can be done rather than what can’t”

and me stressing the

” Importance of caution in buying ‘environmentally-friendly ‘products. People need to make sure they aren’t being conned”


” nothing is as powerful as consumer pressure”

I could have said all this yesterday !!

I’m not going to add too many words ( I can’t because of this blooming computer! ) but will just give you the photos from the scrapbook and obviously they’re not great quality.. there’s an understatement! as most of them are newspaper cuttings.

Here are some of the other members of the committee with Patricia McKenna  of Ireland’s Green Party with at the back my 2 dear friends Mary and Marleen who this post is really for. Love you two 😀

We were involved in many different campaigns but I’ve picked 4 of my favourites to highlight.. plastic bottles, Sellafield, can recycling and donating environmental children’s books to the library.

We laboriously joined plastic P.E.T bottles together to make a snake for a St Patrick’s Day Parade in 1992 and had our very own St Patrick to drive the snake out of Ireland ( for my overseas followers who may not know, there are no snakes in Ireland and legend has it that St Patrick drove them out ) When this photo was taken 74 Million P.E.T – The large bomb-like plastic soft drinks  bottles, were being manufactured in Ireland.

We won 1st prize for best cultural float and  £200 but I don’t recall what we did with the money specifically though either Mary or Marlene may remember.

Sellafield protest against what was a proposal at the time for a 2nd nuclear facility.


I think Earthwatch Cavan can be proudest of the hard-fought battle to bring recycling to the town in the form of a can bank which initially was serviced by members of the groups but which was eventually taken over by a local business.  It seems hard to imagine now but at the time this was a very big thing indeed. Note much squinting into the sun !

The giving of Environmental children’s books to the local library brought me enormous personal pleasure and we did this twice – education is key..

.I’m going to leave you with this list that we had published in 1989… more important than ever before now…

Raising awareness has been a long uphill struggle which sadly has to go on and my naivity has gone.. I see now that the fight is much bigger – against governments and huge corporations but I still believe that each and everyone of us can make a difference.

Watch out for the earth – our children’s lives depend on it.

I hope you have enjoyed this little trip down memory lane and  you will think about what you might be able to do yourself for our wonderful world; especially politically as every little helps.

Do your own research but think about supporting groups like Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth you won’t ever be sorry you did.

Next week’s post will almost certainly not be published until about Monday as I will probably be travelling Saturday and Sunday and may not have access to the internet.


You can find my photography blog Photomania here I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already.


23 comments on “Time travel – backwards to Environmental Innocence.

  1. […] have shared my deep love of the environment, poetry , books,  sculpture,  art  ( warning on that one) and most of all photography; there […]

  2. mary mcadam says:


  3. toemailer says:

    Thanks for your getting involved, and because of people like you, we may still have a chance to save this wonderful place.

  4. scillagrace says:

    Most probably my favorite post of yours. We really need role models who are willing to stand up, speak up, and own up to doing something about the destruction of our planet. So many are lost about what to do with their passions (including me!). Thank you for sharing your experience and the evidence of its impact! I absolutely LOVE the St. Patrick’s Day idea…very clever, historical, and memorable.

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Thank you Scilla.. the best way to share your passion is first to change yourself and then to pass that change on to others as best you can.. .. take a look at change.org or Avaaz..

  5. Marleen says:

    We were young and innocent indeed. 🙂
    I have no idea what happened to our prize money but each time i visit the local recycling compound i ‘m still proud of the start to and awareness about recycling we made way back when. And still trying to to the best we can and trying to educate our offspring…..

    • Helen Cherry says:

      You are right to be proud Marleen.. it was a long uphill struggle and still is.. many people are still living in their comfort bubble.. I think we donated some of it to preserve a piece of peat bog and the rest to buying environmental books for the children’s part of the library..

  6. totsymae1011 says:

    My goodness, you up and left to head to Scotland without so much of a word. And you’re all the papers. Never told us you were so famous back in the day either. These are good memories to relfect on.

  7. ~mimo~ says:

    Really great to read about what you have done Helen. Very impressive. Respect!

  8. Well done Helen. You’re leaning on an open door here 🙂
    Hope you recycled those glasses!

  9. mostlymonochrome says:

    Good read.

  10. Caroline Warnes says:

    Good for you Helen! It’s scary that the same issues are just as relevant now

  11. Well I’m impressed. The Earth warmly thanks you.

  12. tunnelmental says:

    beautiful and brilliant. “when we change ourselves we change the world”

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