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Articles by Dawn Attride

Dawn Attride is an Irish science journalist living in New York who covers health and climate change.

Featured Article

On Ireland’s wet and windy Achill Island, local sheep farmer Stephen Gavin, 64, has been harvesting peat from the wetlands near his home since April. The unmistakable smell of the bog’s sweet earthiness hangs in the air as Gavin cuts rectangular sods of peat from the wetland that squelches beneath his feet. Gavin started cutting turf — the Irish term for the carbon-rich earth taken from bogs — with his parents when he was 12 years old. Stacked, piled, and dried outside when the weather is warm, the sods will fuel his home’s fire for the following year, just as they did for generations before him. 

Many houses in Ireland’s west are over 100 years old and cannot be updated with modern heating technology without comprehensive renovation, leaving locals like Gavin to rely solely on the fuel product in their backyards. “I cannot put one of those [heating systems] in my house,” Gavin said. “We’d have to break all the floors up, and the whole house would be totally destroyed.”

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