A scenic view from Ireland
I returned last week from a one week vacation in Ireland with my wife. It was not an ecotourism trip by any means (does the fact our rental was a diesel count for anything?), but I did notice a few things along the way that I share below with some photographs;
For better or worse, I didn’t notice that much in the way of green advertising, but the natural green of the island more than compensates. And although I didn’t get to use it, Dublin has its own bicycle rental program Dublinbikes . You’ll see more from me about bike rental programs and the role of ICT in a forthcoming video blog.
We stayed for a one night treat at the stunning Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore. As the name suggest, the hotel is built on the side of a cliff. The balconies are built into a sloping green roof, so I was able to get a close up view of the cedar moss from with which it is planted. 65% of their roof space is covered is green roofing (red actually). Pretty impressive !
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher I saw a completely different style of green roof, in the form of the visitor’s center which was built into the hills. (Is it just me or does this look like the Teletubbie’s home ?) Overall the organizers seem to be taking a very comprehensive approach to addressing environmental issues.
The beautiful Atlantic West coast is home to a significant number of wind farms along the hill tops between Killarney and Ennistimon for low/no carbon energy. I think they add to the majesty of the landscape. In contrast though, high carbon peat is still a notable part of the fuel source mix in Ireland. According to Wikipedia “At 106 g CO2/MJ, the carbon dioxide emissions of peat are higher than those of coal (at 94.6 g CO2/MJ) and natural gas (at 56.1) (IPCC)”
What does this add up to ? There are many factors that contribute to differences in per capita carbon emissions, but this web site shows the carbon footprint per capita of Ireland at 10.6 metric tons and UK 9.2 metric tons compared with USA 19.5 metric tons.
However you look at it, we have a long way to go in the USA, but bike shares and green roofing, perhaps even wind power too, are not going to make enough difference to halve our footprint.