Northern Ireland: Round 2 Pledge ASAP Launched

ASAP Round2 Press Release

Northern Ireland must lead the world in sustainability, says Baglady

Environmental campaigner Shirley Lewis, aka Baglady, is challenging Northern Irish people, here and worldwide, today (11 January), to lead the world by taking Pledge ASAP [As Sustainably as Possible] for a better, cleaner and more sustainable future.   Launching Round 2 of Pledge ASAP in Belfast, she said that 19 MLAs including Environment Minister Edwin Poots and Finance Minister Sammy Wilson, pledged in Round 1 ASAP, along with former UK Environment Minister Michael Meacher, and East Belfast MP Naomi Long. Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny is the first TD. “Gerry Adams is the most famous pledger so far and MEP Bairbre de Brun is ready to pledge!” says Baglady.  “This is great; and we need more. Pledges are coming in from around the world since ASAP started in 2009. Kids Pledge ASAP, which we launched last year, inspired whole school pledges and 700 individual online pledges from children from around NI. But it was when six schools took their pledges to Stormont, that we got this amazing cross-party array of MLA pledges.  “Between now and Midsummer’s Day, we’re asking all MLAs, local MPs, MEPs, council Mayors, Chairs and staff, plus all candidates for the forthcoming elections and everyone who has a heart for the place they live in, to log on to and pledge,” Baglady said.

“The recent water crisis here in NI has truly alarmed many thousands of people. WWF figures tell us that we use four to five times our share of global resources in Northern Ireland and we’re still getting worse; this is grossly irresponsible.

“As I said on BBC Radio 4 on New Years Day, ‘We can’t just wait for the government, or the council or somebody else to do this stuff for us;  we all have to start taking responsibility for our environment….not next year, next week: today.’  “Living ASAP is what I’ve been doing for nine years, it’s brilliant, it saves loads of money and I love it,” Baglady said.  To encourage people to take the pledge Baglady has published the Top 12 pledges so far:

Giving up using plastic bags Giving up leaving lights on Giving up using chemicals in water Giving up wasting food Giving up leaving chargers and appliances on all night Giving up wasting heat Taking up short showers instead of baths Taking up drying clothes in fresh air Taking up free range eggs Taking up buying locally produced vegetables Taking up eating less meat Taking up walking more.

Recent government statistics show each Northern Ireland household produces on average 1.2 tonnes of waste a year. Just over a third is recycled and composted. “This is nowhere near enough, we need to do much more,” Baglady said.  Baglady will be at the Creative Arts Forum on Writers’ Square (15 Church Street Belfast) between 11 am and 3 pm today to receive your pledge. Or, please go online…



For more information, contact: Mark Smith at Chambré Public Affairs on 07710 450 462 or 028 9067 2243. Please note Baglady has no mobile phone; her landline is 028 2563 9609.

Notes to Editors

Baglady: Ballymena-born Baglady, alias writer, broadcaster and filmmaker Shirley Lewis, is a passionate life-long advocate and campaigner for the environment, who aims to rid the world of litter, rubbish and waste.  For her, living ASAP involves living without a car and travelling mainly by bike, on foot and by public transport, living without an oil tank, printer and mobile phone, and wherever humanly possible, all forms of packaging. When visiting schools, Baglady wears a fantastic array of plastic bags.

After living in Australia for 30 years, in 2001 Baglady returned to Northern Ireland – having launched Australia’s first nation-wide campaign against the excessive use of plastic bags – and was shocked at how dirty and severely degraded the countryside and coastline had become. For every linear mile in Northern Ireland she calculated that there was approximately 30,000 pieces of non-biodegradable rubbish. To date she has worked with 23 local councils on environmental projects and speaks widely across the UK and Ireland.

Since 2002, Baglady has worked with local councils, central government and other agencies to help to promote sustainable living and environmental awareness.  In 2005 and again in 2006/7 the Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) [renamed Northern Ireland Environment Agency] funded Baglady’s NEEDabag? Campaign, which helped to reduce plastic bag use. She worked with the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trades Association, on NEEDabag 2 and with many other businesses including the Co-op and the Northern Bank.  The NEEDabag? idea was piloted in 40 Ballymena shops in 2004 and saw a 25% reduction in plastic bag use. The campaign was extended to 10 more councils in 2005.  Statistics: Household waste statistics are taken from the Northern Ireland Municipal Waste Management Statistics for 2009/2010 published in December 2010 by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

Political Pledges: On ASAP Pledge Day 21 June 2010 children came to Stormont tell their MLAs what they had pledged and to encourage their elected representatives to do the same.  Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson MLA, pledged to give up leaving the lights on and take up more cycling. Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA pledged to give up burning the midnight oil so not to use up so much electricity and take up more cycling. The Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny TD, who was at Stormont holding talks with the First and Deputy First Ministers pledged to give up plastic-wrapped sweets and take up using reusable bags.

Naomi Long MP pledged to recycle food waste and give up using her car for one day a week. Last October, on a visit to Belfast, former Environment Minister Michael Meacher MP pledge was ‘something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time: turn off all my domestic gear [and there’s a lot of it] at night.’

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  • Here here Shirley – delighted the campaign is moving up to the next level and encouraging as many people as I know to take the pledge. My new pledge for 2011 is to give up oil fired heating (to be replaced by wood burner) and to take up meal sharing with family and friends so that one cooker does us all and we get to have the craic to – Its a win win :) Wishing you every continued success with the campaign. Jacky

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