Projects in pdf!!

•May 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hope this works comment if it dosent!!

Project full

SD poster

Week 12

•April 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The final week is upon us and the end is coming to the most interesting and captivating module of the modules I have done in my first year of college. The others seem like the same old stuff, like the things we used to do in school. For example for me maths and physics was about the much of the sme stuff that i had learned for the leaving cert. Not much new or exciting. But this module was different this has thought us about all the problems the world is facing now and into the future, its thought us to start thinking about these problems now and solutions to them. I have done a survey recently which has been sent around by the Ul environmental commitee. Part of the survey was asking us whether or not we thought the module sustainable development should be introduced as part of more courses. the answer I gave was yes as from my experience of this module everyone should be made of the situation we face in the future and people should be shown how they too can change for the greater good. Exams up soon and thank you SD for not having a final exam!!

SD Project!

•April 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

SD posterHere it is!!

Project full

Week 10-Sustainability metrics

•April 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Week 10 is upon us an this week our topic was sustainability metrics. What did we find it means, well what it is is the things we use to basically measure how sustainable we are. It can be as individuals in the form of finding your carbon footprint. I can also be nationally in the waay that we can measure our sustainability as a country through the analysis of various indicators. Examples of these indicators would be population statistics, recycling statistics or energy usage statistics etc.

Week 9-Critical thinking or thinking critically!

•April 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hello blog!

A different type of subject this week. It was called critical thinking and i found some of the lectures a little bit confusing at first but I gradually came to understand it a little more. In the first slide of the lecture we were given an outline of someones interpretation of what critical thinking is and what it is about. This is what they said…..

“When we become critical thinkers, we develop an awareness of the assumptions under which we, and others, think and act. We learn to pay attention to the context in which our ideas and actions are generated. We become sceptical of quick-fix solutions, of single answers to problems, and of claims to universal truth. We also become open to alternative ways of looking at, and behaving in, the world”

Brookfield, S. Developing Critical Thinkers

Over the course of my sustainable development module I think that most of what I have learned boils down to this one quote. In my opinion from doing this module we are in a sense becoming critical thinkers. We are doing a course in energy and we are learning of the numerous problems that the world is facing now and in the future. It is apparently our job to come up with solutions to some of these problems and make changes. During the sustainable development module we have done several exercises on problem solving and idea generation. It was these exercises that forced us to start thinking critically about the problems and their solutions. For example I remember in one of the lectures we were given the task of pointing out the pros and cons of locating the Spirit of Ireland’s  new idea in O Connors pass in Kerry. We were divided into the pro side and the con side. In doing so I think we learned to pay attention to the context in which our ideas were generated as we had to figure out the negative effects it would have on the environment and society etc. This is part of the quote showing we were thinking critically.

Also this module has thought me to be sceptical of quick fixes. This is due to the fact that I have come to realise that with every problem there are numerous solutions but each one may have a fault. For example at the start of the year I would’ve been all for the wide scale introduction of electric vehicles in the future to replace the polluting conventional cars but now I am not so sure. I have learned that world lithium supplies are nearing an end as well so the price of it can only get bigger. This means cars will cost more. The cost of the average lithium battery in a car is already about 7000 euro. What happens when it runs out?? This is why there are no quick fixes, you have to look ahead and see the implications and problems with each solution.

Have a look at this….I am sceptical about it but maybe its a genuine answer??

Week 8-Greenwashers

•March 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment


This week we did a little swap with weeks eight and nine so we moved on to the subject of corporate social responsibility. I would have probably preferred if the weeks stayed in order cos it meant we lost out on a lecture due to paddys day on Wednesday. The reason is that from being at the lecture on Thursday I realised that there’s actually a lot in this topic and we didn’t get into much detail. Before I start any thing what does CSR mean exactly??Well…..looking through the web a lot of sites seemed to have their own view of it and they were always closely related but this is the one I would agree with the most……

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a commitment to improve community well-being through discretionary business practices and contributions of corporate resources.

It seems as if there are no right or wrong answers regarding CSR. Everyone has their own opinions and this was shown clearly in the task we were given. Because there’s a lot to talk about on CSR this will most likely be the easiest of all the blogs I have had to write. One of the slides from the lecture posed the question Why CSR?Why now? looking through the list of reasons , the ‘environment’ was the one that probably stands out for us the most because it has the most relevance to our course. I think CSR has really taken off due to the widespread availability of the internet in the western world. Now more than ever before we access information about companies, their backgrounds and how they are behaving. If a company wanted to improve their image the environment tactic is probably the easiest. The green image is all the rage at the moment and any company seen to practice environmentally friendly work will be seen as a good company. This may be well and good but there are some companies that give the impression that they are a green company for the sole purpose of attracting the environmentally conscious consumer. It was only recently that i found a term to describe a term to describe this type of action. That being ‘greenwashing’……

Green·wash (grēn’wŏsh’, -wôsh’) – verb: the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.

So after finding out this I decided id try to find out some famous companies that were or are involved in this type of activity. One I found was about ryanair who had an ad out in 2007 about how the airline industry “accounts for just 2% of carbon dioxide emissions”. This ad was deemed to be false because while the ad was targeted at uk consumers you would think they were talking about the uk industry but in fact they were talking about global industry emissions. The actual emissions for uk were 5.5%. There was also criticism over Audi on an ad they had. They got an award in 2009 for being a bad greeenwashers after they ‘suggested, with a glossy advertising campaign, that its new diesel A3 is clean and does not harm the environment. And inferring that driving the car is as green as riding a bicycle.’ Thats ridiculous to say the least haha saying its better than riding a bicycle. For the laugh I said id check out the emissions of each the lowest for one of audis cars was 133g/km. Then I went outside and checked my own bikes emissions, surprisingly came up zero………..

Week 7-Changes

•March 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hello again!

So what am I talking about this week??Oh ya products and all that craic. Right so its clear that this area of responsible production and consumption is one of the biggest factors regarding sustainable development. In our module handbook there is a quote that says it all so il throw it in here  ‘Products are the source of all environmental problems. It may seem surprising but most environmental problems are caused by the unintentional side effects of the manufacture, use and disposal of products‘ Some guy called Datschefski said that in 2001. It’s obvious that he’s right just think of any environmental problem for example the problem could be ozone depletion?, how do we deplete it?? use of cfcs in aerosol cans and fridges, why do we use them? make us smell good and keeps our beers cold:) The thing is that only covers the use part of datschefskis quote, their manufacture and disposal do other damage. Said id throw in another song thats a bit relevant to this topic(something to keep ya from falling asleep while reading this haha). Compared to other topics this is probably more our problem than the problem of big businesses. Were the consumers at the end of the day and the final choice is ours. Think thats what jackson talks about anyway, though I dont think he was really talking about the environment……..

So after a little introduction lets talk something that interested me from lecture one. It was the concept of dematerialization. The example given to for this was the world-famous iPod. My first taught when I saw the few slides was wow look how sustainable it is, it’s basically wiped out millions of cds and cases from being manufactured because people now find it easier and cheaper to store their favorite albums and songs in one place and it fits in their pocket. It’s as easy as picking the song on iTunes, paying a small price(or getting it illegally for free which I do not condone…)and downloading it. Then I had a little look at the two questions at the end of the slide…1.Is it really needed? well this is just going back to the needs versus wants debate that Mags Liddy was talking about in week 2, in my own opinion I definitely want it…going for a run on the treadmill isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world and some music makes it a little more bearable. Question two was how sustainable are apples motives and in brackets was  the word batteries. I have never bought an apple iPod because i hate the iTunes program you have to use so I had to do a little investigation on this ‘batteries’ situation. I assumed they didn’t last long and I was partly right. I found in an article that explained it a little more……

According to a recent SMH article by Brigid Delaney, one in 15 iPod owners are complaining about the short life of the rechargeable battery. The battery only lasts for 18 months and cannot be replaced which is leading to lawsuits against Mac in the U.S. Mac’s response is that it’s the users’ fault: people are loving their iPods too much – using them around the clock.

The fact that apple decided to make iPods without the ability to install a new battery once the old one was dead was a terribly unsustainable thing to do and is definately not responsible production. It just goes to show that these mncs don’t care about the environment and maximizing profits is the main priority. In this situation they were really cheating consumers out of their money. But overall is it more sustainable than what we had previously in the form of cds? I think the answer is most likely yes. the only thing is their doing is by accident. All apple want sis more of the market which equals more money. This is clear from their recent invention the iPhone. from a sustainability perspective they look great because instead of people having to have one iPod and one mobile they can have the two combined leading to less manufacturing and waste in the end. But in my opinion from reading about that battery stunt they pulled all they wanted was a share of the mobile phone market which they hadn’t previously been involved in.

Week 6-The future

•March 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Dear blog,

Week 6 and things are getting a little more businessey!This week was pretty much all about government policies for the future and taxes and how they must be changed in order to be able to cope with future challenges such as more extreme weather due to climate change, reducing our dependance on imported energy and more financial strain due to the fact that people are living longer now. The government seems in a bad way at present and its clear they are going to have to work very hard to get us back on the road to that utopia Stephen was talking about. Maybe its a good thing were in a rough patch at the moment because it give us time to reassess the situation and get our priorities right again. Seeing as were talking a little bit about the future I was thinking what kind of material I could throw in between the lines. This song came to mind and even though its only relevance is its name I said id throw it in for the craic any way. Throw it up loud and read away!!

Climate change seems to be becoming more and more prevalent as the years pass by. The recent floods and subsequent cold snap in my opinion were a clear indication of that. Perhaps they were a once off but the government can’t take a chance on that. The government has got to start changing things now just in case this type of extreme weather starts to occur regularly in Ireland. At home the roads left me unable to get to work on several occasions. I wasnt complaining at the time but during the my first year in college ive come to realise that the college lifestyle isn’t the cheapest and a that money could have gone a long way. The point I am getting at that is people lost out on money and businesses lost money. Allowing this to happen regularly would have disastrous effects on our economy and has already impacted hugely on our ability to exit this recession. For example the flood relief fund the government promised will cost the taxpayer twelve million. I think the expression ‘prevention is the best cure‘ is highly relevant to this situation. Have a little look at skibb during the floods!!

As I’ve said already in my introduction ive singled out three of the major challenges the government is facing in the future, ive already talked a little about climate change and now il move on to the problems with our aging population because i think ive heard and read enough about peak oil and imported energy to last me a lifetime! Anyway back to the aging population thing again…it seems due to better healthcare and a better standard of living that us irish are living a lot longer. It’s obviously a good thing because people want to live as long as possible to see their families grow up and to probably see (well in my case anyways) technological advances and changes in the future. There are downsides to it though and the government will have to deal with these. Theres going to be a big increase in the amount of money needed by government to fund pensions and the extra healthcare that will be required. So where will the money come from?? Stephen gave us a few policies that could be introduced such as mandatory pension provision and tax-free long-term savings. Starting a pension as soon as you start work is probably an easy idea but in my opinion it shouldnt be mandatory because I wouldn’t want to be giving even more of my hard-earned money away along with the taxes I would already be contributing. I suppose my frame of mind would be to enjoy life today because you might not be here tomorrow, that’s why I wouldn’t like it to be mandatory. I would definitely rather have more money in my twenties and thirties than to be a poor old man in my eighty’s. Whatever routes the government decides to take regarding old people, it will always be controversial anyway….

Week 5-Food vs Fuel

•March 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Back again!

This week the topic up for discussion was food, it hadn’t occurred to me before how much relevance food has with the energy crisis that is upon us. The biggest relation that food has with the energy crisis is the conflict over land usage. The big question is whether or not land should be used to produce crops that can eventually produce biofuels or if it should continue to produce food for consumption. Considering estimates of rising fossil fuel prices and the predictions of future world population its fair to say that this conflict between the two is going to get alot worse before it gets better.

I think that if we significantly increase the amount of land used worldwide to produce fuel, it would have detrimental effects on the developing countries of the world.The populations of these countries are increasing at a rapid rate and the last thing they need is higher food prices. Its clear that people in developing countries spend the majority of their income on food for their families so as people in poorer countries spend a higher percent of their income on food, they are the most effected by changes in world food prices.

Week 4-Karpackie!!!

•February 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Here we go again!

So peak oil is coming. we don’t know when it is coming(here we go again with the questions…!)but it’s definitely on the matter when it comes it clear were going to have to be prepared especially us here who have the unfortunate disadvantage of living in a country that has no oil of its own and thus imports almost 90% of its energy requirements.Fact is Ireland in its present state of mind is pretty screwed whether peak oil comes next year or ten years or fifty years….even now we are feeling the crunch of rising oil prices especially me!

I’ll show you why. It takes me roughly two and three-quarter hours to get from home to college in limerick….for the journey up on a sunday and the trip down on a friday itll cost me approx. 35 euro now….how much will i be paying in fourth year(if i make it haha) for the trip up and down??if my memory serves me correctly in september/october of last year i think i was paying 1.11euro per litre, now I am paying in and around 1.24 per litre…even this week I saw one petrol station in cork stating prices of 1.30 per litre. Thats a change of 19 cent per litre! So calculating my losses due to the uncertainty regarding the price of oil…..19c per litre,so if i want lets say 20 litres at the price it is now itll cost me 24.80 euro and at the lower price of 1.11 it would’ve cost  me 22 euro……my losses per 20 litres: 2.80!it may seem small now but continuing with my calculations at my current estimates i go through approx. 197 litres of petrol per semester(only diving to college and back)….200 is easier actually,that’s a loss of 20.80 compared to October price i was getting in charleville of 1.11 per litre……what could i do with 20.80 euro…….20.80 divided by 4.60 = 18 cans of KARPACKIE!!coulve got three nights out of that,oh the humanity!!….(great taste, great value, support the polish economy!!)come to think of it beer and oil have a lot in common at the end of the day they both seem to be great you start off with them but they both end up having disastrous effects in the end.

Maybe should forget about beer for a while…back to oil,it really can only get worse from here.looking at news regarding oil recently i saw that the british are at again(will they ever leave people alone!!).this time their trying to drill for oil and gas in the sea in and around the Falklands islands but the argentine government is having none of it!This is what the argentine foreign ministry have said “firmly rejects plans of the United Kingdom to authorise operations of exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons in the area of the Argentine continental shelf under illegitimate British occupation” The British Geological Survey estimates there’s about 60 billion barrels of oil there….not alot considering colins figure for global annual oil usage.

It makes ya wonder maybe during the 800 years of oppression Ireland suffered from britain,they were just looking for natural resources they could steal off the stupid paddys and maybe they found it….in the six counties that are presently Northern Ireland. You’ll see 20 years time The Great Oil Fields of Co. Armagh will all over the papers!!!!