My name is Micheál. Originally from Limerick – I’ve lived in many places around the world including Canada, Australia and New Zealand over the years but have been living and working in Dublin for the last 10 years. I work for a small Information Technology consultancy firm as a Cloud Solutions Architect.
What sparked your interest in sustainable living and where did you start?
Year on year we hear how the global climate emergency is getting worse and how peoples’ consumer lifestyles (especially in the Western world) are a contributing factor to increased pollution, waste, and global emissions. I resolved to make whatever small changes I could to reduce my own personal impact on the environment.
I started by attempting to reduce plastics where possible by buying loose fruit in the supermarket or organic food stores. Also renewed my efforts to recycle properly at home and make sure no non degradable materials go into the black bin. I also try walk or bike instead of using the car for short trips or errands around the city (even if it’s raining).
What is a sustainable change you have made that makes you really happy?
I replaced my Nespresso capsule coffee maker with an old-style stovetop espresso maker. Sure, it takes a few minutes longer to put the water in the bottom of the espresso maker, spoon in the loose ground coffee, screw on the top of the coffee pot and then wait for the coffee to brew. But there’s no waste coffee capsules that need to be disposed of / recycled afterwards. Also, I’m saving money by using ground coffee instead of buying capsules every week. And the brewed coffee gives a lovely aroma around the house that the Nespresso machine never did.
Are you tackling any sustainable changes at the moment you’d like to share or are planning to?
Less food waste. One sustainable change I’m currently trying to make is to have little or no food waste every week. It’s more a change of behaviour to be more sustainable by ensuring that all the food purchased is consumed and that nothing goes to waste. All it requires is a little planning for the week ahead and looking in the fridge more often to see what’s there and what needs to be used up, before deciding what’s for dinner that evening.
What would you like to see in a sustainable future?
As I live in Dublin city, I’d like to see a greener capital city in a sustainable future. An effective transport network (buses, rail, trams etc.) that run 100% on clean energy. By 2030 all cars on the road should be electric and non-CO2 emitting. Better and safer cycling routes in and around the city and the suburbs to encourage people to cycle instead of driving.
Climate science and sustainable living best practices should be introduced as core curriculum subjects in second level education now or in the near future. To give all younger people the knowledge the skills to know how to live in a sustainable way as they reach adulthood and make their own way in the world.
If one of your friends told you they wanted to start living more sustainably, what would be your top tip to get started?
I’d suggest they sit down and think about / write down all the ways their behaviour impacts the environment – whether good or bad. They need to identify their biggest impact on the environment and determine if there is positive changes they can make, whether that’s how much they travel (car + planes), how they consume or purchase food, where they buy their clothes from and how often etc.? The list of areas in which one can live more sustainably is long and he/she would need to review their current behaviours before deciding on the most impactful changes to make.
What keeps you motivated?
My motivation is selfish in the sense that when I do something good for the environment, I know that it is also something good for me as well being good for all of society. Even the act of doing something very small which you know is the right and sustainable thing to do gives me a sense of satisfaction.
…And For a bit of fun and… really find out about you…What was your first concert or your first CD/Tape/Record you owned?
First tape – Pearl Jam / Ten
Thank you Micheál!