Energy cards, walking, and heating our own water. As annoying as it all is sometimes, I love knowing that I am not wasting energy but helping the environment instead. Living in Dublin has made me very aware of all the energy I use and how to preserve it. In Blackhall we have energy cards that have all our energy we can use for the entire semester. I am constantly unplugging anything that is not in use and always turning off lights when I leave a room. We also have to heat our own water for our showers and sinks. Instead of leaving the water heater on all day, my roommates and I plan when we are going to shower, so we only have to turn it on once. We do not have air conditioning in our apartment, but we do have heaters in each room. We have learned to put on more clothes or use blankets when we are cold instead of turning on the heater. We also walk everywhere! Our classes are between a 20-30 minute walk each way from our apartment and sometimes it gets irritating walking so much, but I mostly do not mind it. You see so many more people using public transportation, bikes, or walking than driving cars in Europe. Also, when we go shopping to the grocery store or department stores, we use our backpacks or reusable bags to put our stuff in instead of getting the plastic bags. I know at home we save the plastic bags to use for other things, but most people throw them away. I feel all these environmental friendly aspects are such simple things to change that do not affect us nearly as much as it does the environment. I know I will definitely be more aware of preserving energy and helping out the environment when I get home after living abroad.
Kathryn Jamieson is studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland, with the Foundation for International Education.