I realized too late that Earth Day occurred last Wednesday. I have always thought that Earth Day always falls on a weekend day. Oh well. My post is three days late but I think I’m going to post it anyway.
Before the start of the millennium, many scientists & environmentalists warned about the impending global warming phenomenon and its catastrophic effects on our planet, but unfortunately it mostly fell on deaf ears. Some argued that it’s a wholly natural event. Hell, some were actually expecting global cooling rather than heating, like the Little Ice Age that occurred in the 17th century, attributed to solar cycles. Others made some quick judgment that the whole thing is nothing more than a hoax. Now nearly ten years later, we are already experiencing severe climate change brought about by global warming. First, there’s the abnormal weather (hell, my country is already experiencing the rainy season this early, when in fact April should be the peak month for summer. It’s actually a good thing, if only because I couldn’t stand the heat for the past two months and only that). There has also been a destructive quality in weather disturbances for the past few years, as demonstrated by many hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones & snowstorms. It could only get worse in the coming years.The problem is that the causes of the eventual destruction of nature cannot be easily removed, mostly because they have become a necessary part of our lives. Sure, life may have improved during the age of industrialization, but at the expense of depletion of around 90% of the world’s forests because of urbanization. There’s also the increasing reliance to fossil fuels for the production of consumer needs of more than 8 billion individuals, resulting in huge volumes of waste such as carbon emissions, industrial chemicals and garbage from consumers during the entire production to consumption process, substances that are foreign to our natural ecosystem and are much harder to decompose. Finally, we cannot deny our need for fuel and electricity in our daily lives.
This doesn’t mean that we have to go back to basics. What matters most is to minimize the creation of wastes and avoid excessive reliance to fossil fuels. I have listed a few simple instructions that anybody is capable of doing, loosely patterned after a book entitled 10 Little Things You Can Do to (Help) our Country. Sure, they might appear to be useless because of their apparent simplicity, but imagine if all of us do them, it’s gonna make a big difference.
- Cut down on Internet and TV.
- Grow a plant.
- Unplug electronics when not in use.
- Invest in laptops.
- Avoid plastic.
- Turn off the lights before going to sleep.
- Don’t drive a car on short journeys.
- Spend more time with your family or friends.
- Iron clothes on a weekly basis.
- Patronize handmade products.
Media has been extremely saturated to the point where you can kill huge amount of time glued to the screen, and what do you get? Mostly mindless entertainment. Fact is, there were always alternative ways to cure boredom without wasting too much electricity. Read a good book. Finish a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Try making a garden. Learn robotics or any field of your choice. The possibilities are endless. TV and computers have their uses, but spending more than 8 hours is already unnatural. My point is, stop staring at that screen and get a life.
Not having a green thumb is not an excuse to avoid planting. Anybody can plant. All you need is soil, water and sunlight. Even a small plot of land will suffice, but in its absence, potted plants are always an option (and while you’re at it, remember to pick earthenware vases or pots). Plants doesn’t have any inhibitions against water either, you can recycle used water to feed the plant. Beside being decorative, plants play an active role in the environment, they help in removing impurities in the air and act as natural air conditioners.
Just because you pressed that power button, it doesn’t mean that your device is completely turned off. Even when the appliance is turned off, when it’s still plugged in the socket, it’s still consuming around 10-20% of what it’s consuming in full operation.
If you cannot live without computers, it’s better to buy laptops instead of large desktops. Not only does it consume less electricity when plugged in, but the included battery ensures that you don’t need to plug it often. Choose laptops that is capable of reaching 3 or more hours. Also, pick laptops with adequate hardware. Sometimes, the more powerful the hardware, the more power it needs to consume. Rigs with on-board video usually can do decent gaming and consume less electricity, and it doesn’t need a cooling fan too.
In a typical breakdown of household garbage, it’s too easy to conclude that a large percentage of them is composed of plastic. This poses an environmental hazard since plastic is an extremely resistant material, taking a long time to decompose compared to other materials. Efforts should be made to reduce the use of plastics. Patronize stores that uses paper bags. Buy drinks in glass bottles or Tetra packs. Wooden furniture is stylish. Select chinawares or glasswares for kitchen and dining room things.
There is no point in having a brightly lit room if you’re sleeping, since you won’t be doing anything anyway. However, if you’re concerned with security, use light bulbs the size of a strawberry, which can emit a decent illumination in a room. Lamps are an absolute waste of materials. And while you’re at it, why not sleep early?
Commute. In most roads, most cars usually leads to the same destination, but it’s usual that cars outnumber public transports. Therefore, the number of vehicles traversing some roads could be reduced drastically when passengers ride the same transport, in effect, reducing fossil fuel usage in the process. Another excellent alternative was to use a bicycle. It doesn’t just consume fossil fuels, but it’s also a great workout.
I don’t want to sound like a moral advocate, the only reason I wrote this tip is that, in a typical house with many rooms, it’s common for every member of the family to be located individually in their rooms, doing something, which translates to multiple consumption of energy. Wouldn’t it be better if all members in the house stay inside a common location, in order to concentrate energy usage in one room. Besides, there were many ways to have fun together, there are many activities that’s designed for families, such as board games and video games.
We have reached a point in time where everything has to be essentially manufactured. Handmade products is already a lost art. When was the last time you bought a handwoven t-shirt and other clothing articles? And why would you bother buying canned goods when there are fresh produces from the supermarket that’s basically the same? There’s too much reliance on synthetic materials right now, it’s easy to forget that many years ago, none of these materials existed, instead we use natural materials. Handmade products are not only made of 100% genuine materials (without the need to waste energy for advertising the product as well), but they also have better quality than their manufactured counterparts.
Well, that’s all I can formulate for now. Sorry for the extremely passionate write-up. I have always been a “tree-hugger.”