It might sound a bit strange for a walking holiday and Camino specialist to buy a bog in Ireland, but that is exactly what we have done. This project is one that has been in the works for a while, and the final sale went through in January. The bog is part of our commitment to the environment and our community. It is part of a much bigger plan to offset the carbon footprint of our business, and bring that response to climate change home to Ireland.
Why did we buy a bog?
We looked at many options for carbon capture and carbon offsetting before we made this choice. Being a socially and environmentally responsible company is something that we are, and have always been, passionate about.
We knew we wanted to offset all the carbon we couldn’t reduce or avoid, but we wanted to do it here in Ireland rather than exporting the problem.
Bogs and wetland are an incredibly important part of Ireland’s ecosystems. They are home to many bird, mammal, insect, and amphibian populations. Additionally, they are an incredible part of the carbon sequestering system our world relies on. Thousands of years of plant matter is held in bogs and a huge amount of carbon with it. In Ireland, bogs also convert atmospheric carbon, just like trees do.
Unfortunately, Ireland’s bogs have not been looked after. The piece we have bought has been cut and drained in the past so that people could dry and burn chunks of it as fuel. There are large parts of it that are damaged and are now releasing the carbon they had held.
You may be wondering, “Why did you choose a bog instead of a forest”? Well, the simple answer is – we actually chose both. In addition to the large piece of bogland that we are restoring, we also have land that is more suitable for trees.
Many organisations who plant trees to offset their carbon will plant fast-growing non-natives which are then regularly harvested. There is plenty of evidence that this is not good for the land or the ecosystems. We are replanting our woodland area with native trees that would historically have been found in the area. This means they are good for the other plants and animals that have always been there. Our woodland pieces will not be for forestry. The trees will be looked after and encouraged to thrive as nature intended.
What are we doing to the bog?
We are going to start fixing it.
Nature is incredible at recovering if we give it a chance. With a bit of help, our bog will be regenerated in no time and can get back to storing and processing carbon. We are working with specialists to fix our bog and keep that carbon in the ground.
We will be re-wetting the bog, blocking up the drains, and getting everything healthy again. In addition to the carbon benefits, we expect to see many animals coming back.
How long will restoring the bog take?
That depends on a lot of factors, but work has already begun. We are assessing the bog’s current condition so we can monitor it and measure its recovery.
Soon, the muddy work will start. This means blocking drainage and allowing the land to get waterlogged again. There will hopefully be improvements in just a few months. As long as the weather does what we expect, the bog should recover quickly.
Our Irish bog will be sucking up carbon shortly, and we are incredibly excited to see it.
Follow the Camino will keep you all up to date with the process. It is something we are very proud of. If you are interested in learning more about our Corporate Social Responsibility you can read that here.