Two Fermanagh organisations have joined forces through sport, in general, and Gaelic Games, in particular to produce a jersey containing an important message on the need for action on climate change.
Indeed, South West College (SWC), Enniskillen Campus and Derrylin based glass bottle manufacturer and bottle filler Encirc are pinning their colours firmly on the environmental mast.
On Tuesday, January 23, the College launched their ladies GAA football team jersey, sponsored by Encirc, which incorporates the ‘climate stripes’ infographic on its sleeves.
It is believed this is the first jersey of its kind in the GAA and it is the first ever produced by well-known manufacturer O’Neills.
First created by the University of Reading’s Professor Ed Hawkins in 2018, each stripe represents the average temperature for a single year, relative to the average temperature over the period as a whole; shades of blue indicate cooler-than-average years, while red shows years that were hotter than average.
The stripes on the sleeve of the SWC jersey highlight Northern Ireland’s average temperatures from the 1800s and as the proliferation of red stripes in recent years towards the end of the sleeve clearly demonstrate, NI’s temperature is rising – as is the case around the world.
The devastating implications of these temperature rises have dominated our television screens over the last 12 months. Hence, there is a need to act now and to start conversations around the necessity to earnestly tackle climate change.
It is hoped that this innovative and distinctive approach will make a difference and that more teams, clubs, and sports see that this is an initiative worth pursuing. We are all in the midst of a climate crisis and change is needed.
Fiacre O’Donnell, Sustainability Director at Encirc, added: “The need for action jumps out at you on the sleeves of the jerseys. It is a telling graphic. Encirc is delighted to be involved in helping this brilliant initiative. Sustainability is central to all that we do at Encirc and if we can help raise awareness of some of the issues involved, climate change in this instance, then all the better.
“This is a first for the GAA, we believe so wouldn’t it be great if other teams in all sports followed suit, amplifying the message and the need for us all to act on climate change now. We also wish the ladies team the very best of luck when they take to the field in these unique jerseys.”
SWC Principal and Chief Executive Celine McCartan said: “We hope this new initiative will help start conversations around the climate crisis and ultimately inspire more action. By incorporating the ‘climate stripes’ infographic for Northern Ireland into the design of our new ladies’ football shirt, we hope to help visually demonstrate to our communities how temperatures have risen over a long period of time in Northern Ireland.”
The jersey was launched at the South West College including representatives from the College, Encirc and members of the SWC ladies’ team.