Marketing & Outreach Manager
I recently returned from a very relaxing vacation to Ireland. This wasn’t my first time there; I lived in Ireland for a year after graduating college, so this was a return trip to see old friends and visit with lots of family. There were no visits to the Guinness storehouse or romps through old windy castles, but the most alluring things about Ireland are the everyday occurrences that many wouldn’t find extra spectacular: the rolling green hills, the dampness that always hangs in the air or falls from the sky, the musical lilt coming from the lips of the Irish people and the constant offer of a “cuppa” tea when you walk through anyone’s door.
One of the things that always amazes me the most when I return to the Emerald Isle is the vast amount of green that awaits me when I get off of the plane. It’s not a myth and the pictures you see are not photo shopped. It’s all very real. The entire country as far as the eye can see is covered in grass, trees, bushes and greenery. There are of course cities, towns, houses and buildings, but instead of concrete structures being complimented by a few decorative trees along the road; homes in Ireland seem to be a small piece of the bigger picture of the land. They do not dominate; instead they are there to serve their intended purpose, shelter the people that live inside it.
And the residents of this land also know that they must do their part to be sustainable users of the land. Whether it’s the farmer who commits to rotational grazing leading to healthier livestock and more fertile land or it’s the mom that puts her clothes out to line dry even when its 50 degrees out to save energy and money or it’s the college student who flips the switch on her electrical socket when she leaves so that her TV and chargers won’t use phantom energy while she’s away. Everybody does it. These actions are just the norm in Ireland and throughout most of Europe because it’s just what they have done for years. These tactics have always worked, so why change them? So while we are just now learning to adopt these “new” conservation practices on a large scale in the United States, citizens around the world have been using these techniques all along!
So maybe it’s good to do things the old-fashioned way. We should learn to take heed from the experience that has been passed down generation to generation. It may seem like a struggle sometimes to remember to incorporate sustainable activities in your day, but we have to start somewhere. And if we keep at it, hopefully one day our children won’t have to be reminded by their children to switch of lights and power cords when leaving and single-paned windows will be a thing of the past because it will just be the norm here and all around the world to be sustainable and like the Irish, we’ll keep our world green.