World Earth Day 2021
Each year, April 22 is designated World Earth Day but in Croke Park, we’re mindful that every day is earth day. Our sustainable story began over ten years ago with a focus on improving our energy and waste management efficiency in the stadium.
Along the way, we’ve added & continued to build water, biodiversity, and local community programmes, and we were so proud to become the first stadium in the world to reach the highest environmental standard the IS0 14001 in 2015. We’ve also reached the ISO 20121, which is the international standard for the management of sustainable events.
We continue to reach these highest standards each year through audits and re-certification. The standards are important to us as they provide us with a platform for continuous improvement in all our sustainable and environmental programmes.
Today, for World Earth Day, we are sharing just some of the latest ‘improvements’ to the stadium that you’ll be able to see or use next time you visit, as well as some welcome but temporary visitors to the stadium that are currently in residence but only on a 'flying visit'.
Watch the Birdie
The raven, known as gaeilge as the ‘fiach dubh’ is a member of the crow family. Ireland’s largest breeding songbird, they are slightly larger than a buzzard and have distinctive all-black legs, beak and feathers.
Traditionally ravens are found and nest in restricted upland areas but are increasingly reported in lowland and even suburban areas. So, we were delighted to find out recently that for the second time in four years, a family of ravens are currently nesting in the stadium. The last time they built their home behind the giant screen in the Davin Stand; this time, they can be found living on top of a speaker system. Our new neighbours will be guaranteed to have an eagle-eyed view of matches this summer - if the family haven’t flown the nest by then!
Ravens aren't the only birds to be spotted in the stadium as In addition to our bird nesting boxes in the Cusack concourse that regularly welcome smaller nesting birds like blue tits every Spring, we’ve also installed swift boxes behind Hill 16 and in the new Handball Centre. Ireland’s swift population has fallen by nearly 40% in the past ten years, which means this intriguing little bird means who can fly at speeds of 110km an hour is now on the amber conservation list. These boxes are in combination with a caller to attract the birds to our area and boost the local swift population.
Anyone arriving at the stadium on the Cusack side in the coming months will be delighted to see the beautiful new landscaped area of the carpark opposite the GAA handball centre. Local resident and member of the Croke Park community team Aonghus O’Briain, is a very talented landscape gardener and has recently worked his green-fingered magic on several spaces across the stadium and our local community area. Not only does Aonghus work with native Irish plants, trees, and flowers; he also picks species that provide an ideal habitat for multiple species of birds and insects throughout the year. If you'd like to learn more, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan has tips on how on to create food sources and habitat for bees and other pollinators in your home www.pollinators.ie
Still Watching our Waste
We’re all looking forward to a return to matches and when that day comes, it will be a ‘bring your own (water) bottle event! There are 23 new, state-of-the-art water bottle filling-points now installed throughout the stadium as part of our waste-reduction policy. We will be encouraging all our staff and visitors to bring their own empty water bottles to the stadium from now on, to further reduce the amount of plastic rubbish we generate.
In 2019, the total amount of rubbish produced in the stadium fell by over 10% year on year. This great result was helped by the introduction of compostable cups and crockery during stadium event days. For the last seven years, we have proudly maintained a zero waste to landfill policy & each year, our waste focus is on continuing to decrease the overall amount of waste, as well as red bin waste we generate.
"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean."
Behind all these projects and campaigns is the stadium's environment and sustainability management group who, each year set out an ambitious set of objectives, to deliver against both our environmental and sustainability policies. Their hard work and passion for what they do continues to make a difference in ways you can see and more often, in ways that are not so obvious throughout the stadium.
Since 2019, their work has been backed up by the stadium's very own 'Green Team'. This team is made up of stadium and GAA staff, who volunteer their time to learning more about the environment and sustainability, as well as supporting and orgainsing events and activities in the stadium to encourage environmental awareness and sustainable behavioural change.
#WorldEarthDay2021 #RestoreOurEarth #EarthDayEveryDay