For green activists in Ireland, last summer’s news that the Green Party would enter a coalition with Fianna Fáil came as a surprise. Fianna Fáil are not a party known for their environmental concerns, but we felt that perhaps the Greens would have enough of an influence to shake things up. There have been enough problems in recent months to test this faith, but there is some good news. Greenpeace have convinced John Gormley, Environment Minister, to outright ban energy-wasting light bulbs by the year 2009. According to Greenpeace this “will be in effect the EU's first ban on energy-wasting incandescent light bulbs.”
Originally Greenpeace were looking for a ban by 2010, but it seems Gormley was convinced enough on the issue to outdo the proposal. Having a Green Party member as Environment Minister seems to help speed up the process in other ways as well when we consider this campaign only began in November. The campaign worked because it was achievable. It seems if activists appeal to the pragmatic nature of the politician change can be affected rapidly. With a mixture of petitions, blogging, street-teams and a large banner on Dublin’s famous Spire (right in the heart of the city) the campaign was well-coordinated and it’s a testament to those on the ground that within a few days of passing the petition onto the Minister he had promised to put the ban into effect.