Ga Ga for Galway
The next stop on this journey was to the city of Galway. While Dublin represented a more metropolitan environment, Galway impressed me as a big small town. The focus of this study abroad introduced our group to organizations and policies like Housing First and Focus Ireland. These are efforts to end homelessness across Ireland. However, what stood out for me in Galway, and what was so very meaningful is the UN sustainable development goal #7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. There were two obvious observations that are worth mentioning. First, there is literally no air conditioning in any building or hotel that we visited. I find this a great way to conserve energy. Obviously, everyone who can breathe has access to fresh air. Secondly there were massive windmills everywhere producing modern energy.
I did in fact have an aha moment as it relates to windmills. I had assumed that Ireland was producing their own windmills but, I soon found out that the windmills were brought in from Holland. This fact reaffirmed my belief in international trade and challenged my belief in socialism and capitalism. What is clear is that we can share technology and resources with other countries and still maintain economic dominance thus ensuring access and affordability to all.
I now believe that in addition to solar, windmills are essential to producing low cost, easy access energy. If Ireland can do it with a population of roughly 6.5 million surely the USA can. I also feel that energy should be a human right and not a privilege. I also now feel that my knowledge in this space is limited. It is clear that I need to learn more about creating lost cost energy for less resourced communities. I am willing to concede that my individual efforts have not been good enough. I plan to move forward differently in practice.
Ga Ga for Galway