Monday, October 02, 2006

Green Map Greatness

A few weeks ago, I was looking for my nearest recycling centre, and decided to use the newly published Green Map for Dublin. These are alternative maps of cities and areas all over world, which list things like parks, bicycle paths, health food shops, vegetarian restaurants, ecological buildings, and, naturally, recycling centres. The Green Map system varies from place to place in terms of its coverage and what's included, but as someone who's into maps I like that they provide an alternative view of a city, as well as condensed listings of places, businesses and resources that are relevant to living in a 'greener' way. The Dublin map has been around for a while, run partially through Sustainable Ireland, but only in an on-line format, and sadly not one that is currently very easy to navigate, or comprehensive in what it lists, although it's a good start, and needs people to provide input for inclusion in an update. It doesn't make sense to print a lot of green maps because like ordinary maps they go out of date very quickly, and having them on-line means they can be revised more easily (without chopping down more trees). However, having a printed version is also useful because, logically, a map is something you might want to take with you, out in the real world, that almost unimaginable place away from computer screens. A few days before using it, I'd picked up the first ever print version of the green map for Dublin, and it was more comprehensive than the on-line one and listed plenty of recycling spots as well as veggie restaurants and eco-buildings. Interestingly, it was also partially in Polish, reflecting the fact that there are now over 100,000 Polish people in Ireland and Polish is probably the second most widely-spoken language in the country. Armed with a new back carrier on my very old bike, I loaded up about 3 month's worth of recycling into my saddlebags (a far superior term to panniers) and successfully navigated to a recycling centre near my home which I'd never visited before, relying on the Green Map tucked into the pocket of my jacket, a pocket likely specifically designed and intended to hold a map, but never before used for that purpose. It helped that I was able to look up the Dublin Waste website before setting out, to check exactly what was accepted at that recyling centre, and its opening hours. So, winning combination of on-line info and in-world action.


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