Why won’t my phone charge? Why does the water keep shutting off in my shower? What the heck is going on here?! Welcome to living more mindfully of your carbon footprint.
As soon as I arrived in Cloughjordan on the first day and was shown to my Django hostel room I immediately started pinpointing all of the differences between this place, and America. Two of the biggest differences being that the outlets had to be turned on when you were using them, and turned off when you weren’t, and that the shower did not stay on by itself. Every 20 seconds or so the shower water would turn off and if you were not done then you had to keep pressing the button so that you could continue on with your shower. These two things might have seemed inconvenient at first, but as I learned how beneficial they are to the Earth, I did not mind them at all. Pa, the owner of the Django Hostel in the eco-village, is a older man that truly believes in climate change and making differences now before it is too late.
One of the projects that we completed during our time in the hostel was to go out and purchase “Irish” goods to make and serve a traditional Irish meal for the other half of the students. Because we had to cook for around 20 people there was bound to be leftover ingredients and food. However, this did not make Pa very happy. I remember him saying, “Look at all the food you have left – this is such a waste.” In America, we may not look at leftovers as a bad thing, but kind of a good thing because now we have a meal prepared for us to eat tomorrow. But Pa looks at it like this – you should have known exactly how much food to buy and how much food to cook so that you can ensure that nothing goes to waste. He also taught us how he washes dishes – instead of running the water and wasting it while you scrub the dish with soapy water, you can fill up one sink with the sudsy water, wash it in there, and then rinse it off in another sink. This not only saves water, but also helps to keep the eco-village’s ecological footprint low.
As I continued to travel around Ireland I saw more indications that sustainable energy is a big concern. I noticed that there were some small wind farms with about eight wind turbines that work to create a sustainable and realistic form of energy in Ireland. We do have these in America, but we are still using coal and other pollutants to create energy instead of putting up more and more wind farms around the globe – why? Well, for starters, these wind turbines are certainly expensive, but should be seen as an investment. In fact, according to The Journal, “Wind energy use in Ireland in 2014 saved us €200 million in fossil fuel imports.” We could and should be making the same changes to our country’s ecological footprint that Ireland continues to work so hard to do. Not only would it aid in saving our Earth, but it would cut down on lots of American federal spending to the wrong places.