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A plastic bag sticks to a wire fence in a remote location in the Mourne Mountains, co Down, Northern Ireland. Dave G Kelly / Moment / Getty Images

Ireland is ready to say goodbye to plastic cutlery, plastic balloon sticks and grocery items wrapped in plastic as a way to drastically reduce the amount of waste in Irish landfills, according to the Ireland's national broadcaster, RTE.

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Sesame, three months old, at Seal Rescue Irleand. Screenshot / Seal Rescue Ireland Instagram

On Friday, Seal Rescue Ireland released Sesame the seal into the ocean after five months of rehabilitation at the Seal Rescue Ireland facility. Watch the release on EcoWatch's Facebook.

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Ireland's landmark Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill passed the Seanad, or upper house, on Thursday, putting the Emerald Isle on track to become the first country in the world to divest from fossil fuel-related funds.

The bill—which requires the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to sell off about €318 million ($361 million) investments in coal, oil, gas and peat assets over a five year period—now heads to President Michael D. Higgins for signature, where it will likely become law by the end of the year, according to the Irish Times.

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Marine Institute, Ireland

Marine scientists discovered a very rare shark nursery about 200 miles west of Ireland and shared a mesmerizing video of the find.

Back in July, the government-supported Marine Institute's SeaRover survey found a large school of blackmouth catsharks and what appears to be thousands of their egg cases, also known a "mermaids purses," at depths up to 750 meters (2,500 feet).

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An ambulance crashed into a fallen tree from Storm Ali in Newcastle on Sept. 19. Owen Humphreys / PA Images via Getty Images

Storm Ali, the first named storm of the UK storm season, killed two and sent several to the hospital as winds of more than 100 miles per hour walloped Ireland, Scotland and Northern England Wednesday, The Guardian reported.

More than 250,000 homes and businesses in Ireland lost power and 30,000 lost power in southwest Scotland.

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A message to the Irish government to divest from fossil fuels is spelled out in lights in front of the lower house of parliament. Sasko Lazarov / 350.org

Ireland took a major step Thursday towards becoming the first country in the world to divest from fossil fuels, NPR reported.

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London Mudlark / Facebook

March certainly came in like a lion in the UK and Ireland, as "the Beast from the East" brought freezing temperatures, up to 20 inches of snowfall and travel disruptions to the British Isles.

But what was disruptive for the region's human inhabitants was deadly for its marine life. Hundreds of thousands of lobsters, starfish, crabs and other creatures washed up dead or dying on beaches on the UK's eastern coast, Buzzfeed News reported Monday.

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Fungie the dolphin in Ireland, where 250,000 bottlenose dolphins visit every summer. Belinda Wicks

Ireland's Dáil Éireann, the country's lower house of parliament, voted 78-48 Thursday to advance a bill to stop the government from issuing new contracts for both on and offshore oil and gas exploration.

Despite strong opposition from the Irish government, the legislation was backed by thousands of activists, campaigners, parliamentarians as well as a surprising supporter who believes in life after oil: Cher.

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By Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson

Ex-Hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland hard with full hurricane-like fury on Monday, bringing powerful winds that caused widespread damage and power outages. At least two deaths have been reported from trees falling on cars, and The Irish Times said at least 360,000 ESB Networks customers lost power in Ireland because of the storm.

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Hildegarde Naughton, TD for Galway West
Ireland is set to ban onshore fracking after its Senate passed legislation on Wednesday that outlawed the controversial drilling technique.

The Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Prohibition of Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing) Bill 2016 now awaits Irish President Michael D. Higgins' signature. The president is expected to sign it into law "in the coming days."

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In a world's first, the Irish Parliament voted 90 to 53 on Thursday in favor of a groundbreaking bill that would fully divest public money from coal, oil and gas.

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By Steve Williams

An estate in Ireland has revealed plans to create a redwood grove that will be the largest of its kind outside California. The initiative serves as a testament both to Ireland's heritage and its commitment to fighting global warming.

The initiative, Giants Grove, is spearheaded by the seventh Earl of Rosse, Brendan Parsons and the environmental organization Crann, which promotes the preservation of trees, hedgerows and woodlands throughout Ireland.

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The Earl has designated land on the grounds of the Birr Castle Gardens in Offlay to house around 2,000 redwoods, making it the biggest forest outside of California.

What's more, this would be a historic homecoming for redwoods. The trees were once abundant in Ireland but were largely wiped out following the last Ice Age.

Lord Rosse explained:

"Our grandchildren, their grandchildren, Birr, Ireland and the world will benefit from this magnificent forest grove. These will be the biggest trees in Ireland and the largest collection outside of California. By investing in this project with us, the sponsors will have the opportunity to make a personal impact on Ireland's environment and world biodiversity conservation."

As stated above, the project will be supported by the estate and other groups, but it aims for public funding. Individuals will be able to sponsor an area within the giant redwood plantation, ensuring the site and the redwoods themselves will last for future generations.

The notion isn't just to return a piece of Ireland's lost heritage, though. Giants Grove will attempt to help redwood forests and other ecosystems unique to Ireland survive.

The trees face significant pressures, including the effects of climate change. Rising temperatures and a resulting lack of coastal fog means that California's plantation has measurably declined in health. Other stress factors like land clearing and human encroachment mean that tree health isn't as robust as environmentalists would like it to be.

What's more, recent studies suggest that trees like the giant redwoods are crucial for their ability to fight climate change itself. Thus, ensuring their survival helps to ensure ours.

This project will also work to maintain Ireland's forest cover—and that's got an environmental importance of its own.

This is a trial in future-proofing, as Ireland is predicted to warm up significantly due to climate change. By planting redwoods now, the country could be taking steps to transition into that warmer climate with habitable forests already in the making.

It's a smart idea—and one that conservation groups believe may be the key to preserving future biodiversity.

So what's next?

The aim of the project is to deploy the redwoods in two phases. Phase one is slated to begin this autumn, while the second phase will occur in the spring of 2017. Both phases will include planting the giant coastal redwoods to create an inner copse, which will then be surrounded by the more robust giant mountain redwoods. Some native trees will also be included, such as holly trees, to encourage biodiversity and to provide interest for forest visitors.

To be sure, this project alone cannot ensure the survival of the redwoods or keep Ireland's biodiversity intact. However, the project has been greeted warmly by environmentalists who view this as an example in maintaining biodiversity for other nations. While climate change will mean we need to approach conservation differently, there are transition strategies that can enrich environments.

The Giants Grove project, then, is an exciting seed of an idea for long-term biodiversity conservation.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Care2.