Timekeeper/Timer

The Timekeeper/Timer is responsible for timing all the sections of the evening, in order for things to be accurate and punctual. This helps people practice the skill of expressing yourself within a specific time and to stop people waffling on.

Before the meeting, check the Agenda and raise any queries with the Toastmaster of the meeting. In particular, note the times of the prepared speeches. Prepare an explanation of your role. Make it interesting – for example, google ‘time’ for a fascinating fact. Like all Meeting Roles, you should use it as another excuse to talk, so make as much of the role as you can it the time permitted.

When you arrive at the meeting collect the timing equipment from the Sergeant at Arms/Failte Officer and make sure that you have the three colours and a bell. Make sure to sit where the signal device can be seen easily by those at the lectern.

During the meeting, when you are introduced, give an explanation of your role and demonstrate the signal device. Throughout the meeting remember to signal each participant as required and record each persons name and time used. When asked to give your report by the Toastmaster, stand at the front of the room and announce the participant’s name and the time taken. You can, if you wish, when reporting on the time of each Table Topic, remind the audience in a few words about the subject.

After the meeting, return the Timekeeping equipment to the Sergeant at Arms.

Make sure to register that you have filled the role in Pathways.

Table Topics Club Competition

Our Club held a Humorous Speech and Table Topics Competition on the 13th of October. I took part in and won the Table Topics section of the evening. The next level is the Area Competition that is going to be held on the 22nd of October. It is been hosted by Tara Toastmasters on Zoom. It will consist of the winners of all the Area’s Clubs competing against each other.

Table Topics is a part of the evening where you don’t need to prepare a speech, but you just reply to whatever the topic is that you are given by the Table Topics Master. In a Table Topics competition everyone is given the same amount of time on the same topic, which is fair. The topic that was posed to those taking part in the Club competition was along the lines of ‘what good things will come from Covid’.

I went first, during the club night, as I was the Zoom Master for the evening, so I was able to listen to the speakers who came after me, this was nice, as you normally miss out on some or all of the other speakers.

It will be interesting to see what topic we are given in the area competition. Apparently, sometimes the Table Topics Master provides a topic that is more about their knowledge than giving people a chance to speak on a topic off the cuff.

Whoever wins the area competition will go on to the District Level and will represent the entire Area in that Competition.

Good luck to everyone taking part at the Area level.

Dynamic Leadership Speech – Mentoring Level 2.3

Toastmasters – Dynamic Leadership Level 2 Speech

Introduction to Toastmasters Mentoring

5-7 Minutes

John C. Crosby said “mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”

Good evening, Madam Toastmaster, Mr President, Fellow Toastmasters and welcome guests.

Mentor  – Noun – “an experienced and trusted advisor”

              – Verb – “advice or train someone”

The role of a Mentor in Toastmasters is for the Mentor to take an interest in their Mentee or Protégée, and share with them information about the Club, Meeting Roles, competitions and what they need to do to progress through the educational programme, Pathways, as well as providing guidance, motivation, support, and role modelling. A Mentor may help with setting goals, developing contacts and identifying resources. The Mentor is someone who can encourage their Mentee and try to make joining the Club as easy as possible.

When you join a Toastmasters Club, one of the first questions you are asked is ‘do you want a Mentor?’, I think the answer to this should always be yes. Having a Mentor is like having a fast track into understanding how the Club works and what you need to do. My official Mentor is Declan Garvey and he is a wonderful Mentor, who kept a close eye on my progress and efforts when I joined the Club. The quiet word, the encouraging message, were all most welcome and a wonderful reminder that I had someone rooting for me. I was nervous about sending him my Icebreaker speech to look at, but, he could not have been nicer. Thank you Declan. 

You may ask, what do the Mentors get out of this? Well, they can learn from their Mentees, they remain active in the Club, they may find out some new information themselves and, of course, they get the joy of helping someone else. The Club in turn, benefits from keeping Members, gaining new Members and having engaged, satisfied Members, so it’s a win for everyone. 

In my experience everyone in Toastmasters is Mentoring everyone else. As everyone wants the rest of the Members to do well, to improve and to benefit as much as possible from their time in Toastmasters. This is all done with a gentle touch, a quiet word here or there, a constructive comment, a suggestion, a point in the right direction or a clarification of some confusing element. 

Our VP of Mentoring is Karen O’Donnell, Karen knows everything about Toastmasters, she has earned her DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) and has served on every level of the Toastmasters organisation in Ireland. Karen is a wonderfully generous Mentor, who has been amazingly informative and supportive in the time I have been in the Club. Grainne and Colm, both of whom are also amazingly experienced and successful Toastmasters, have also been so kind and helpful, they all genuinely want all the members to do their best and get what they want out of Toastmasters. Thank you to all of you.

I saw a quote from Diana Olin that I felt sums up Toastmasters attitude to Mentoring, she said “Mentoring isn’t an extracurricular activity. It’s vital for cultivating an enriching, inclusive community.”

It was whiles I was preparing for this speech that I realised just how lucky I have been when it comes to meeting people who take an interest in what it is I am doing. In Photography, I have had the good fortune to cross paths with a number of very kind people who encouraged and educated me in a number of facets of the day to day running of a photography business, photography itself, and put up with me following them around. Thank you Derek, Wim and Lionel. Derek is an incredibly patient and kind person, who always listened, treated me as an equal, even though I was the assistant and made me feel like part of the team. He has been so open with his creative process and his sources of inspiration. It was a complete joy to hang around with him in his various studios and on shoots. Derek is so respectful to models, other photographers and workshop attendees, which is sadly, not always the case. My favourite studio shoot we did involved a model and a hell of a lot of plastic sheeting in his Studio, so that we could protect it from all the warm water that we were spraying around the place, in an attempt to make it look like it was raining. Derek’s photos from that day are amazing, I just wish I had made more of the opportunity he gave me to shoot too. We had a mark on the roof that was the target for the squirt guns we were using, which was above, but slightly in front of where the model was standing. We were all very giddy and laughed a hell of a lot that day. A couple of us took in turns to squirt the water and I may have ‘accidentally’ squirted a couple of people other than the model. Oops! A couple of years later, I was watching a segment about Hozier being at a Victoria’s Secret Fashion show, when I saw a familiar face, the model we had worked with on the ‘Make It Rain’ shoot was now a Victoria’s Secrets Angel! When I told Derek, he said he had known that she was special and would go places. 

I was incredibly flattered and a little nervous on the day that Wim asked me to shoot the Groom and his Groomsmen preparing for the Grooms Wedding as he had enough confidence in my abilities to do it. I ended up driving all but one of the Grooms party to the Church, the one I didn’t bring with me had gone MIA the night before, and just made it to the Church by the skin of his teeth for the ceremony. Wim would consider my answers, if he asked me a question and had enough faith in me, that he took my word for it, if I gave him information on something. 

Mentoring is an incredibly important part of the Toastmasters experience, but, one that I think is as valuable as all the other elements that they teach.

In summary, if you, like Lailah Gifty Akita believe that “every great achiever is inspired by a great mentor”, please consider taking the opportunity to be a mentor, as both parties will gain from the experience.

Thank you for your time Madam Toastmaster, Mr President, Fellow Toastmasters and welcome guests.

Meeting Theme Example

Each Toastmasters meeting has a theme set by the Toastmaster. It is usually just a bit of fun, and anyone who has a role in the meeting must send their reply to the Toastmaster to be read out during the meeting. This week’s Toastmaster Karen, posed the question below, I have also supplied my answer.

Q. Villain makeover – if you were to pick a villain – if you were to improve him/her – how and why?

A. The villain I would like to makeover is the internationally notorious Mr. Wile E. Coyote. After many progressively disastrous and wasted years of trying to catch and eat Roadrunner, Mr. Coyote has seen the error of his ways and has given up his campaign of trying to catch poor Roadrunner, and has now adopted a plant based diet and has become a pacifist, vegan, Influencer. This means that rather than ordering online from Acme Industries to buy a never ending selection of increasingly useless products from overpriced late night infomercials, when Mr. Coyote is not running his Lifestyle YouTube Channel, he also produces his own seasonal, limited run craft Kombucha and tours the world attending Global Peace Symposiums and giving Ted Talks with his speaking partner, Roadrunner. Their inspirational message is one of co-operation and peace, they condemn any and all violence and are held up as the perfect example of just how you can turn your life around if you want too. Mr. Coyote has dropped the name Wile E., due to the negative connotations of that name and now simply goes by the name Coyote. Coyote and Roadrunner still cannot believe that they won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018. The next big project for Coyote and Roadrunner is to get their animated documentary series pilot episode green lit by one of the big studios, in an attempt to get their message through to children.

It was only after I submitted my answer that I realised, I had not really answered the question. Oops!

Table Topics Master

The Topics Master picks the impromptu speaking topics and runs the Table Topics section of the evening. The idea is to help members think on their feet by speaking off the top of their heads, on subjects for 1 to 2 minutes each. It also allows speaking opportunities for guests and for those not scheduled for other roles on the Agenda.

Prior to the meeting:
Sometimes the Table Topics master might use the theme for the meeting as inspiration as to what questions they may ask, sometimes they might pick seasonal topics, and other times, they may pick whatever pops into their head. The Table Topics Master then has a list of questions to put to the group, these are usually fun, light hearted or sometimes topical subjects. You may use a theme running through them, or they can be completely unconnected. It’s up to you, the Table Topics Master. Make the topics easy for people to speak about on the spot and phrase them in an easy to understand manner. Then you get to ask for volunteers to speak, should you not get any, you can ask people to speak. It can be useful to have a ‘back up’ question, in case someone can’t answer the topic you have chosen, or they may prefer not to.

At the meeting:
Make sure the tone is kept lighthearted and fun. Call out your topic, wait for a volunteer and, then, if you don’t have a volunteer, pick someone to answer the question. The idea of this section is to get as many people involved as possible, in the time allowed. Normally Table Topics Sessions can run for 10-15 minutes.

Dynamic Leadership Speech – Communication Level 2.2

Toastmasters – Communication

Mr President, Mr Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and welcome guests. 

When I was preparing for this speech, I found a quote by Anthony Robbins that I thought summed up this particular project well, he said: “To effectively communicate, we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communications with others.”

The purpose of this speech is to learn more about the different communication styles and to identify your primary style, as well as discussing communication styles you have encountered and how they impact your personal and professional relationships. 

 The four main Communication styles are Direct, Initiating, Supportive and Analytical. When you are preparing for this speech, you need to go to the Speech objectives on Basecamp in Pathways and fill in a questionnaire as part of this project. It then ranks your Communication style according to the results of that questionnaire.  

My top result was that I was Supportive, which means that apparently part of my communication style is calm, steady, approachable, sincere, and I may appear indecisive. It seems my listening skills mean I am seen as cooperative, dependable and loyal and this style also seems to like a relaxed, no tension environment and does not like conflict, but may mediate if needed. I can see elements of myself in this category. As I am a very loyal person and do try to listen carefully, I find conflict and unnecessary drama exhausting, unhelpful and pointless. This means that as a news junkie, I find watching the likes of the worlds most powerful Oompa Lumpa, both fascinating and baffling. How he has the energy for that level of poisonous chaos is beyond me. Sometimes I wish he would take the advice of the great American writer Mark Twain who said “If you have nothing to say, say nothing.”

The second ranking style on my results was Initiating, people who feature in this category are sociable, enthusiastic, spontaneous and fun loving, have a gregarious nature and are perceived as someone who talks more than they listen, they are also perceived as self assured and innovative and persuasive. They prefer a stimulating, personal and friendly work environment. Friends have told me that they wouldn’t put anything past me and that you wouldn’t know where I might turn up, so I guess there are some elements of me in this category too. I had the great pleasure of meeting and having a conversation with the actor Brendan Gleeson, and he seems to fit this category perfectly, he has an in-depth knowledge of whatever topic he is talking about, and speaks with great passion, though he does listen to the people he is in conversation with. 

The third ranked style for me was Analytical, this involves being precise, exact, analytical and logical. The person is systematic and task orientated and sometimes perceived as a perfectionist, they are organised, self reliant, purposeful and diplomatic. They are motivated by certainty and will rarely give opinions unless asked. I worked for a man who liked to have all the information needed before he offered an opinion. At the time I took the questionnaire I was slightly surprised that this category was not a little higher on my list, as I do show some of the characteristics in this section. However, I now think it makes sense that it is third on my list. 

The final style is Direct, this includes features like people being detailed oriented, focused, competitive, motivated to get things accomplished. They may be perceived as strong willed or demanding. They may seem impatient when bored. They like to feel in control and may become frustrated if dependant on others. They measure progress by achievements and successes. 

In conclusion, there are many ways to communicate to other people, and you need to know how to best use the tools you have to endeavour that the person you are talking to fully understands the message you wish to communicate. Just because you are making noise, does not mean you are successfully communicating your point to your audience. 

I will leave you with this thought from Catherine Pulsifer “Communication sometimes is not what you first hear, listen not just to the words, but, listen for the reason.”

Thank you Mr President, Mr Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and welcome guests.

Dynamic Leadership Speech – Leadership Style Level 2.1

It’s That Time of Year AgainResolutions

5-7 Minutes

Mr./Madam Toastmaster, Madam President, Fellow Toastmasters and very welcome guests. This is my fourth speech on the Dynamic Leadership Pathway, the purpose of which is for me to select a topic I know little or nothing about, research it, producing a hopefully, well organised and understandable speech. I also need to craft clear and engaging transitions and cite resources. My topic this evening is a seasonal one, Resolutions. Where did the tradition come from, why do some of us choose to set them and what are the most popular resolutions. Are there alternatives, if you don’t like the idea of resolutions.

A New Year’s Resolution could be defined as “a tradition in which a person resolves to continue good practices, change an undesired trait or behaviour, to accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their Life.”

“Good resolutions are simply cheques that men draw on a bank where they have no account.” – Oscar Wilde

The ancient Babylonians are meant to be the first people to make New Year’s Resolutions and celebrate the New Year over 4000 years ago, their New Year began in mid-March when the crops were planted and not in January. During their 12 day Festival, the Babylonians crowned a new King or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning King, they also made promises to the Gods to pay their debts and to return borrowed objects. These promises are considered the forerunners to our New Year’s Resolutions. If they kept their word, the Pagan Gods would bestow favour on them for the coming year, if not, they would fall out of favour with the Gods. 

History.com referred to a similar practice in Ancient Rome, after Julius Caesar decided in around 46 B.C. that January 1st was the beginning of the New Year. January was named after the two-Faced God Janus whose spirit inhabited doorways and arches. January had a special significance for Romans, as they believed that Janus symbolically looked backwards into the previous year and ahead into the future, Romans offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year. 

Early Christians treating the New Year as a traditional occasion for thinking about personal past mistakes and resolving to do better in the future. 

“A New Year’s Resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other” – Anonymous

Hands up if you make resolutions for this year? Please leave your hands up if you normally succeed with your resolutions? Thank you, I will have some tips for increasing your chances of success later. Thanks to YouTube, learning to solve this Rubiks Cube was one of my successful 2019 Resolutions. I have countless failed Resolutions to my name, as well as some completed goals.

In 2014, a report found that 35% of participants who failed their New Year’s Resolutions admitted they had unrealistic goals, 33% of people hadn’t kept track of their progress, 23% had forgotten about then and around one in ten respondents claimed they had made to many resolutions. These included, the annual top New Year’s Resolutions of losing weight, exercising more, saving money and endeavouring to read more, according to a series of YouGov Surveys.

When you have decided what your Resolutions are, the experts suggest that to increase your success with your goals that you should write them down in a place that you can see them regularly. The advice is that your goals should satisfy the conditions of the acronym S.M.A.R.T.

S.M.A.R.T stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound

Specific – Your goals should be clear and not vague. If you want to lose weight, state how much you want to lose. 

Measureable – Identify what changes you will see when you reach your goal. If your goal is run a marathon, then the measurable factor will be your running distance. 

Attainable – The goals must be attainable, anything else is just a wish. It is good to shoot for the stars, but, it is easier to achieve if you break it up into smaller more achievable goals.

Relevant – Your resolutions need to be relevant to your life. You may wish to be bigger than Amazon in three months, but, if you don’t have billions of dollars, knowledge of the internet, computers, retail, have access to massive warehouses and countless staff, as well as a reputation in the field, amongst other things, your chances are low to achieve that target.

Time-Bound – Link your goals to a timeframe, having a realistic deadline creates a sense of urgency that makes you act. Again, breaking your resolutions into smaller more manageable goals is very useful. 

Another tip to help you succeed is another acronym K.I.S.S., which stands for Keep It Simple Silly!

The advice is to Keep the number of goals low, so you can focus on working on a few areas rather than your entire life. Tackling one goal at a time is the most effective way to succeed. If break your goals up into one a day or week, you will slowly get through them all. Don’t complicate your objective. Complete your goals, tick off the quickest and easiest ones first, this will boost your commitment to complete your other goals. When you complete your goals, you are advised to reward yourself for your efforts.

There are alternatives to making Resolutions, if Resolutions do not appeal to you. One is to pick a word to guide you for the year and let that influence everything you do; the supporters of this approach suggest that it is easier to do and gives you clarity and focus. Some words you may want to use are discipline, simplify, Serenity, Joy, Fun, Excitement, you get the idea. Or you could take a life audit, this involves you grading yourself in all the areas of your life. Where can you improve your grade? You may wish to reboot an area of your life, or track and measure a particular thing, like time, food, spending, or weight. You might want to create a list of things you are looking forward to instead. There is also the 30 day challenge were you decide upon a small goal that can be achieved in 30 days, decluttering, cooking at home, cycling into work, been vegan, etc.

In conclusion, somebody once said “I don’t call them New Year’s Resolutions. I prefer the term, “Casual Promises to myself that I’m under no legal obligation to fulfil.”

Mr./Madam Toastmaster, Madam President, Fellow Toastmasters and very welcome guests thank you for listening to my presentation on the history of and the present day application of News Year’s Resolutions. Thank you.

Dynamic Leadership Speech – Research & Presenting Level 1.3

Level 1 Evaluation and Feedback – 2

(5-7 Minutes)

Madam President, Mr. Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmaster and Welcome Guests, the following speech is a short summary of events that happened 212 years just off the coast of Dun Laoghaire. 

Standing on the top of the Napoleonic era Seapoint Martello Tower, looking out at the sparkling, unwrinkled sea on a warm and sunny day, conditions were astonishingly different to those commemorated on a mostly ignored blue plaque attached to a wall below me. The events of that grim November day would later lead to the development of Dun Laoghaire Pier. Modern Weather forecasting was not invented until the 1860’s, so in 1807 sailors did not have the ability to find out what conditions they may be facing. 

The early 19th Century was unusually stormy, on the 19th of November 1807, several trooper ships left the Pigeon House Harbour, bound to fight in the Napoleonic War. In particular, the ships, the ‘Prince of Wales’ and the ‘Rochdale’. Out of nowhere, Hurricane force winds blew up with sheets of sleet and snow, so much so that visibility was reduced to zero, an east wind pushed the boats back to shore, but, the stormy conditions and lack of visibility meant that the boats did not know how close they were to shore. The following day the ships were seen in the Bay trying, in vain to get shelter in the Harbour. In the evening the ships fired gun indicating distress, to no avail. Captain Jones who escaped from the Prince of Wales described the events thus: “Having arrived opposite Bray Head the sea began to swell and the wind blow a hurricane. He threw all his anchors out but the ship dragged them all along impetuously. She drove without a rag of sail towards Dunleary Point and he expected to be dashed against the rocks there. He repeatedly told the officers of the danger before she struck about 6 or 7 in the evening”. Most of the ships that left our coast that day were decimated along the coast between South Bull to Bray, the ‘Lark’ was the only one that safely made it to Holyhead.Both Rochdale and Prince of Wales were lost off the coast of Dun Laoghaire / Salthill within hours of each other. 

The Prince of Wales, captained by Robert Jones had military personnel aboard along with recruits from the South Cork and South Mayo regiments of militia. During the storm Captain Jones dropped anchor, but, the storm dragged the ship along. Only the captain, nine seamen, two women with children and two soldiers managed to escape on the one launched lifeboat. They did not know where they were, or how close they were to the shore. They rowed parallel to the shore until one of the sailors fell overboard and found that he was standing in shallow water. 120 soldiers drowned and it was claimed that the captain locked the troops below deck, removing the ladder and battening down the hatch and in doing so sealing the faith of those trapped beneath, but Mr Moss, the coroner lead a party of four gentlemen to visit the wreck site and ascertained that there was no substance in the story. Captain Robert was brought before the court on murder charges but case was dismissed due to lack of evidence. Captain Jones said that the lifeboat was not launched; rather, it was cast into the sea by the storm, so he ordered those on deck to get into it. Anthony McIntyre of the 18th Royal Irish said that the captain launched the lifeboat and that the ladder from the hold to the deck was withdrawn. Andrew Boyle, also of the 18th Royal Irish, said that the ladder was not removed because “persons below held on to it very tightly”. The verdict was “Casual death by shipwreck”. 

The Rochdale and her passengers from the staff of the 97th Regiment were under the control of Captain Hodgson, the soldiers on board tried to attract the attention of the shore by firing their muskets, the number of shots been so many that would-be rescuers had to shelter from the gunfire. However, it was pointless and those that saw the fires could only look on in horror as the ship struck the rocks at Seapoint Martello Tower. It was observed that no pilot could have steered her alongside the Martello as neatly as she lay. On shore cries of the terrified passengers could be heard. The boat was so close to shore that the cries of terrified passengers could be heard by witnesses and a twelve-foot plank would have rescued them, but all 265 on board were lost. 

Even though troops were put on guard, there was looting of the ships and of the immense number of items that washed ashore and they could not stop one of the looters from Dun Laoghaire from drowning. There were so many souls lost (nearly 400) that the whole weekend was spent in collecting the bodies for burial. Six people were convicted and sent to Kilmainham Gaol for plundering bodies and property. At no point during these dramatic events were the lifeboats from Clontarf, Bullock, Howth, Dún Laoghaire and Islandbridge launched to try and rescue lives endangered during these terrible events. Most of those who perished are interred in Carrickbrennan Churchyard in Monkstown, the rest are interred in a Cemetery in Booterstown.

Prior to the harbour as we know been built, Dublin Port had a sandbar that meant that ships could only enter or leave at high tide. If there was a storm the ship would have to stay out at sea waiting for the tide to change. Captain Charles Malcolm of George 4ths Royal Yacht suggested that “Dublin Bay had perhaps been more fatal to seamen and ships than any in the world”. This can be vouched by the fact that the remains of more than 600 vessels are sitting at the bottom of the bay. The person chiefly responsible for the campaign to build a harbour in Dun Laoghaire was a master mariner and shipbroker named Richard Toucher, who worked tirelessly campaigning to bring about the construction of a safe port. In 1815, after the sinking’s of both the Rochdale and the Prince of Wales, eight Harbour Commissioners were appointed to supervise the building of a new harbour at Dún Laoghaire. Construction of the Pier started in 1817 and was completed in 1840’s.

Madam President, Mr Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmaster and welcome guests, thank you for listening to this short history of the dual sinking’s of the Rochdale and Prince of Wales ships. 

Road Space Rationing Debate

Rules:
3-5 minutes
Proposer (me)  – 3-5 minutes
Opposer – 3-5 minutes
Audience – 5 minutes
Proposer/Opposer 1-2 minutes rebuttal and summarise points

Argument:
Road Space Rationing is also known as alternate-day travel, driving restriction, and no-drive days. Road Space Rationing is a travel demand management strategy that is aimed at trying to reduce urban air pollution and/or peak urban traffic, in some countries they use it to reduce oil use, it does this through restricting car travel by controlling which vehicles are allowed into city centres and rush hour. It can be done by either restricting traffic access into the area by either using the last digits of the license number on pre-established days and during certain periods, usually, the peak hours, this has been used as early as 1982 in Athens.

This policy is commonly used in Latin America, mainly to try and reduce air pollution in places like Mexico City and  Santiago, Chile. Sao Paulo, more than 6 million vehicles, is the largest metropolis in the world with such a travel restriction, implemented first in 1996 as measured to mitigate air pollution, and made permanent in 1997 to relieve traffic congestion. More recent implementations in Costa Rica  and Honduras have had the objective of reducing oil consumption, due to the high impact this import has on the economy of small countries, and considering the steep increases in oil prices that began in 2003. 

After a temporary implementation of road space rationing to reduce air pollution in Beijing  during the 2008 Summer Olympics, local officials put in place several permanent rationing schemes to improve the city’s air quality. As of June 2016, another 11 Chinese cities have similar restriction schemes in place. Also, temporary driving restrictions to reduce cars on the streets by half during severe pollution events have been implemented in Paris and surrounding suburbs in March 2014, March 2015, and December 2016; in Beijing twice in December 2015, and one more time in December 2016; and also in Rome and Milan  for several days in December 2015. A similar alternate-day travel temporary scheme was implemented in New Delhi  as a two-week trial in January 2016. A temporary ban on diesel cars was implemented in Oslo  on municipal roads in January 2017.

In 2010 there were 1.015 Billion road motor vehicles in the world, not including off-road vehicles or heavy construction equipment. 

In 45 B.C. Julius Caesar declared the center of Rome off-limits between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. to all vehicles except for carriages transporting priests, officials, visitors, and high-ranking citizens, as congestion was a huge problem in Rome as well as other Roman cities. 

Schemes rationing access based on number plate have mixed results. If used infrequently or temporarily the alternate-day travel policy can have some impact. However, if used as a long term measure, inequality issues might arise, as wealthier people can afford to own two cars with opposite-parity number plates, to circumvent any restrictions, with the second vehicle being often older and therefore more polluting. Cities such as Tehran which have used such schemes are now looking to more sustainable methods of traffic and emissions control,  such as low emission zone or traffic limited zones as used in Europe.  Access regulations have often been found to be effective, in reducing congestion, traffic and pollution.

Road space rationing based on license numbers has been implemented in cities such as Athens, Santiago, Mexico City, Metro Manila, Sao Paulo, Bogota, Colombia, La Paz, San Jose,  countrywide in Honduras and Ecuador. All these cities restrain a percentage of vehicles every weekday during rush hours or for the entire day. When the restriction is based in two digits a theoretical 20% reduction of traffic is expected. Cities with serious air quality problems, such as Mexico City and Santiago use more digits to achieve greater reductions in air pollution, and even the prohibition can be for more than one day a week. In 2009, Bogota, Columbia, the plate restriction was extended from peak periods to the whole day (from 06:00 to 20:00 hours) in the whole city.

In 2005, the Mayor of Paris, proposed to impose a complete ban on motor vehicles in the city’s inner districts, with exemptions only for residents, businesses, and the disabled, as a three-part plan to implement during a seven-year period. Is this a reasonable approach?

Dublin (1.8 Million) is the worlds 14th most congested city and Europe’s 6th most congested, behind Moscow (12.412 Million) Istanbul (14.968 Million), Bucharest (1.812,290 Million), Saint Petersburg (5.427 Million) and Kiev (2.887.974). It is also the slowest city in Europe with  speeds in the city centre dropping to as low as 6kmph, and drivers spending around 246 hours in traffic in 2018. Most of the cities that had the worst congestion are old cities, that were not designed for this volume of vehicles. Yes, Dublin has taken certain trucks out of the city centre is encouraging people to walk, cycle, take public transport.

Electric cars could be allowed in to the city with no restrictions applied, this could help with the pollution element, but not the congestion problem. 

People have worked around road space rationing by have more than one car, what would happen if they rationed the cars on the base of the Pantone colour matching system. Only vehicles in the blue spectrum are allowed in on Mondays, Red on Tuesdays etc. People would not buy a full spectrum of cars to make sure that they could drive in to the city every days. Black and white cars could drive on Sundays, to be kind to the eyes and minds of hungover people.

Could or Should Dublin adopt this system? 

Zoom Master

Our Club has been hosting Zoom meetings since March, due to the Pandemic that started to travel around the world in November of 2019, and that then hit our shores in the first quarter of this year (our first confirmed case was on the 29th of February 2020). This led to the new role of Zoom Master being created, the idea behind the role was that one person would deal with the technical online end of the meeting, so that members that had other roles could focus on their duties. One of our clubs co-founders, Karen, taught me how to use Zoom, as I had never used it before, and she informed me as to which features of the software would benefit our Club the best. It has been a pleasurable, fun honour for me to fulfil this role up until this stage. We have decided that it would probably be better is other people also got to try this role, and so we have added it to the list of roles that people can sign up to try.

In our Club, the Zoom Master ‘Spotlights’ the present Speaker, this means that the person stays on screen, even if someone else makes a noise or speaks, which is beneficial for those Members making Speeches or giving Reports. One of the most basic jobs in this role, is to make sure that the invitation with the correct details attached gets sent out to the Members on time. We also record our meetings, so that we can pass the videos on to the Speakers, and, if I have permission, some of the videos get posted to our YouTube Channel, or Facebook Page.

Zoom Master is not a difficult job, but, it is an enjoyable job, as it is nice to think that you are helping your fellow members and Club.