Oh for Peat(s) sake!

It’s not as easy as it looks!

Throughout our travels across Ireland we were always told about the importance of the bogs and peat. Peat is harvested from bogs across Ireland, in areas with a high concentration of CO2 such as wetlands. Over the course of thousands and thousands of years the bogs will build up into the perfect condition to be harvested and used for energy. In order to utilize peat you must dig it out from the bog with a shovel-like tool known as the sleán, and then let it dry before it can be burned. However most peat harvested is not used until the next year. I myself had the opportunity to see just how good of a peat-farmer I was in at the Killary Sheep farm, and it was quite the workout! We were told by our wonderful driver Dez that peat farming is like a holiday for some, in his words “The entire family will make a day out of it, everyone will go down to the bog and dig it up while the mother cooks a meal.”  When peat is burned it releases massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, something that seems to not worry the people of Ireland in the slightest, yet however the Irish people are still vehemently against any form of nuclear power, even though it can be considered a “cleaner” form of energy. The argument for peat is that it is renewable, however it replenishes at a rate that is insanely slow, where it could take up to a thousand years for a bog to be replenished after just one years harvest. And harvesting the peat is a very slow process, we saw one bog the size of a small swimming pool, and were told that it had taken almost 20 years to dig that deep, and the owner could no longer use the land as he had dug it all up.  In the end the question still remains, is it even renewable, or worth it in the long run to continue to dig up the earth as a source of energy?

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