Despite the hype to the contrary turf is not a fossil fuel by any stretch of the imagination. It is a living growing crop and it is neither as polluting or as dangerous as is hysterical woke environmentalist’s green agenda claims. In Ireland it’s known as turf which we will refer to it as here and not peat. Turf in simple terms is an Agricultural Crop that grows in Irish Bogs and in similar climates elsewhere worldwide. It is mainly harvested by the people for the benefit of the people and families in wherever it is available in Ireland and no government policy or statutes will ever change that.
Irelands Most Economical Available Fuel
Turf can be sold, traded, advertised for sale, bartered and gifted in the same way as any other agricultural crop like potatoes, carrots, grass, wheat despite Eamon Ryan’s insane statuary ban on its sale. Turf has always been one of Irelands most economical and readily available fuel for home heating that can also provide 24/7 hot water and energy for cooking meals. Turf produces natural and healthy heat despite claims to the contrary. Turf is not a fossil fuel because it is a living growing resource on the Earth’s surface.
Cutting the Turf
In Ireland, the traditional summertime practice of cutting turf is a culturally significant activity famously captured in the bog poems of Seamus Heaney. In one of his most revered poems, “Digging,” Seamus Heaney reflects on how the familial tradition forged around digging the turf continues in his own work with words:
“My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.…
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.”
The laborious task involves cutting “sods” of turf, from the bog using a specialized spade known as a slane, then stacking it to dry and finally transporting it home to light the fire for warmth in colder days.
Fossil Fuel and Other Lies
The recent conversation in Ireland instead of being dominated by discussing the obstacles to wind farms but rather it is centred on what is incorrectly labelled as a fossil fuel, the marginal but nonetheless a most valuable resource the humble turf. What is widely claimed by the Green Agenda to be one of the worst polluting fossil fuels available out of ignorance or out of misinformation (it is not a fossil fuel and has no proven impact on climate change), with no proven claims that it produces more carbon emissions than coal while creating less heat. It is also claimed that the high rates of particulate matter released into the air by burning turf mean that it is especially damaging to the human respiratory system. There are no studies to support this claim as the particulates are heavier than air and quickly falls to the ground as indeed does CO2. The familiar and pleasant smell of a turf fire is a source of comfort and nostalgia for many, but its naysayers consisting of self-appointed “experts” and a compliant media claim that it is a harbinger of suffering for people with asthma and other chronic conditions again without any substantiating evidence.
A Most Valuable Activity
Irish bogs were valued primarily as sources of turf—on land that could not be built or farmed on. From that perspective, cutting the turf each year was regarded as a valuable expression of rural practicality by harvesting heating fuel and turning what remained into good farm land that would otherwise be all too easily disregarded. The vast area south of Dublin known as Newlands Cross and Newlands was once a vast bog that was harvested for generations to heat the homes of Dublin. Once cleared it revealed what became valuable and fertile farmland and has now become priceless development land as the city encroaches on and replaces the farms. Luckily environmentalists weren’t around to prevent this valuable transformation.
Environmentalists in recent decades have started claiming that this fuel harvesting and land reclamation is backward. There’s a sweeping statement for you like most of their assertions. Rather than bogs being a waste of space, in the age of rampant greenhouse effects, bog represent a priceless storehouse of carbon, buffers of flood water and vibrant homes of rich biodiversity. They claim that cutting the turf, and worse, burning it, is doubly self-defeating in the effort to reduce carbon emissions. Without carbon nothing would grow and it is pumped into greenhouses as a valuable fertiliser. As it is heavier than air it falls to the ground and promote growth a fact that is totally ignored by environmentalists. Do they have a hidden agenda or are they just plain ignorant?
A Clash of Culture
Environmentalists demand that we considering the role of turf-cutting in Irish cultural memory and what they claim as its negative environmental impact where they hysterically rant on about the age of climate catastrophe. We would all be under water more than a decade ago if their projections were correct. They say that a clash of culture, interests and rights should have been anticipated and dealt with. For example the European Commission in their profound ignorance made no allusion to turf-cutting as a cultural practice in its call to eliminate the burning of turf in Ireland. That oversight was replicated by the Green driven Irish government in their race to obey the Commission when they announced plans to phase out turf in what would amount to a total ban on the harvesting of turf.
Backlash and Backtrack
The move did not ban the cutting of turf, just the selling of it like moving the chairs on the Titanic. This resulted in an immediate public backlash which prompted the swift chair moving exercise by way of modification. The revised policy not only protects the right of families to cut turf from their own bogs, but also allows small-scale trading of turf with neighbours to continue for the present or a one year’s grace fuzzily presented. The government leaders to their consternation faced internal dissent, not just from backbenchers but even from some cabinet ministers appalled at the potential electoral consequences (the only consequences they pay attention to) to any move that challenged the tradition cutting of turf.
Burning the Amazon in Connemara
Widespread objection to what might be seen as a straightforward and what was and is still being sold as a rational environmental move is not even grounded in the actual use of turf. Less than 5 percent of Irish households use turf as their primary source of heat but that’s a freedom that must be curtailed by an increasingly totalitarian regime in Leinster House. The broad based rejection of the turf ban is a sign of a healthy backlash and an expression of a healthy rural defiance against the Dublin political culture and its disconnect with rural Ireland. The government’s action is perceived as being driven primarily by urban concerns and a desire to please their globalist masters. They have no appreciation or concern for life in rural Ireland or traditional Irish farming communities. Harvesting bogs in Ireland is the equivalent of burning the Amazon is the screaming cry of the woke environmentalists with no sense of how ridiculous that claim is. That’s all the government chooses to hear.
Huffing and Puffing at Madness
Opposition parties in Leinster House huffed and puffed at the madness of the government’s ban on a readily available and affordable source of home heating as the prices of oil and gas climbed into the stratosphere of unaffordability. The expensive government-backed retrofitting of housing is not yet widely available ’though according to the current political doublespeak such a plan has already been launched and it explicitly prioritizes people at risk of energy poverty. One man said that the stench of that one statement is more polluting than all the turf in the world by far.
Back to Connemara’s Amazon
This recent turf clash suggests that the consultative measures deployed by Irish environmentalists failed to achieve their aims. The ludicrous mantra that destroying bog land is the Irish equivalent of burning the Amazon isn’t even worthy of a response no matter how shrilly it is screamed. That doesn’t stop the woke environmentalists from claiming that the small turf cutters in Connemara while admittedly not directly culpable for the devastating heat waves India and Pakistan, they are at least as complicit as every other fossil-fuel burner (what fossil fuel?) in the energy-consuming West. They still insist that turf is a fossil fuel. You couldn’t make it up. One cannot reason with those who are who are so deluded in pursuit of their agenda.
Saving Face and Going to Sleep
Ireland’s turf battle reached its present climax on April 27, when the shaky coalition government of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael with the Greens defeated an opposition move to overturn the turf ban, but only after making a pitiful commitment to halt its implementation until at least next year. Remember the Titanic chair moving exercise. The oppositions faces were saved and they went back to sleep. Ireland’s turf war demonstrates that as much as elements of contemporary Irish society and the Irish government may revel in their sycophantic desire for the recognition of Irelands self-perceived progressive international reputation, parochial issues still have the capacity to dominate the local political process since of course all politics are local as they should be.
A Bog of Turf Beats Wind Farms
If the turf war or dispute is anything to go by and it is not over yet, Ireland is unlikely to easily embrace Europe’s demand for green alternative to fossil fuels. This is especially true since Europe is now in a fuel crisis of its own making as a result of the counterproductive effects of its sanctions on Russia. Intermittent supplies of electricity from unsightly and environmentally disastrous wind farms that are already troubling and blighting the sight lines of Irelands famous and beautiful panoramas are never likely to compete with the success of the turf fired electricity power stations of the past. European Green energy policies would quickly have Hell freezing over if given the chance. The turf war is not over by a long shot and turf will win in the end.