The Last Great Western Motorway Cycle

Words by Eoghan Holland

I took the summer off writing ecology articles to attempt completely destroy the planet by travelling around the place like some kind backpack wearing horseman of the avocadolypse, moving from city to city like some sort of plague of annoyance on the locals while collecting varying degrees of sunburn. I mostly did it so I could use this wonderful cultural portal to boast about my holidays under a thin veil of ‘ecology’ or something, but you’ll be glad to hear, It went awfully, though I’m pretty sure the flights alone did enough damage to warrant the trip.

Which raises the question; where does a person get on and off with the environment? I’m happy enough to say I’m a contradiction in progress when it comes to that nagging issue of making the planet unliveable. I think maybe only the most extreme personalities would be anything but that.

I know my car is spewing unbreathable dinosaur shite into the air every day, I know that in order to make a phone call in a mobile location a child has to go down a cobalt mine, a load of concrete has to be poured into the earth, someone in a polo neck must receive money, steel must be heated to an exceptionally high temperature, reformed into a rigid structure using wizardry and transported to some scenic hillside where it takes the form of a mast, from which a combination of electricity and modern sorcery makes animated gifs of cats float through your fleshy form if it happens to be in the way in an instant so it can be reconstituted right into my face. Lol. I know this, yet I continue to use these things. And why would I? As Galway’s highest paid ecology writer surely I can afford some innately condescending lifestyle where the need for cars, mobile phones and any possessions not based on avocado or coconut oil are mere privileges while those faceless corporations take everybody else for a ride, and indeed, get paid in a currency so pretentious that the Eurozone is secretly stockpiling avocados and coconut oil to try and buy their way into it, but no, ecology writing pays in a very similar way that most people’s contributions to the internet do, and I, like you, must make do with the means of transport and communication available at my time of existence. However, contradiction or victim of circumstance, I started writing these pieces as a way of teaching myself more about exactly what I’m destroying on a day to day basis.

Which brings me in no convenient way to looking at the absolute state of the way we’ve been doing things in Ireland. I’m reminded of the most wonderful and saddening scene narrated by the very reverend Boaty mcBoatface himself, David Attenborough. In this clip, David draws attention to the Lyrebird, a most wonderful creature – which with the most amazing accuracy can mimic the sounds in its local environs. The Australian national archive holds recordings of these birds’ mimicking computer games, flute players and speech. In the Attenborough clip, the bird is record mimicking the sound of chainsaws, which very obviously are approaching its habitat. In its innocence and desire to make itself known to its potential mating partners, it sings like this a for a few hours every day – essentially singing ‘hey babes I can make chainsaw sounds would you like to join me for dinner’ Lol. Stupid bird can’t even tell when a chainsaw wielding capitalist is about to turn its neighbourhood into a magnificent set of flat pack shelves with matching corner unit for the January sales.