Friday, March 23, 2007

What are YOU doing to save yourself?

Watched An Inconvenient Truth on Monday and was sad to see only ten to fifteen people in the cinema. Being educated in Australia, I found that I knew about most of the issues Al Gore has been speaking about throughout his career concerning carbon emissions. But I realised that I have been failing to do anything about them, even though there was a point in my life when I was faithfully recycling and saving as much on carbon emissions as I could.

It is very hard to put into motion the steps which I had become used to and could very easily do in Australia - for example recycling. There, the weekly rubbish collector would pick up both your normal household waste and your recycled matter, which you had to separate and sort properly yourself. Having that kind of municipal support was a great convenience and made recycling a part of life.

When I came here I was still recycling but often found myself with large bags of plastic bottles and nowhere to take them. Once I found a place (One Utama, across town) I would drive more than half an hour only to find I had to feed the hundred or so bottles one by one into the narrow slots of the recycling bins. That was ten years ago.

Now, that there are more facilities, I find I haven't been as vigilant as I would have liked. I have followed quite well some of the ten simple steps given to help reduce carbon emissions, but there is more that I could really be doing.

Do you know the significance of excessive carbon emmission? Too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contributes to the greenhouse effect. Basically, because of the sudden increase in the temperature of the earth's atmosphere, we are roasting ourselves to uncertain and most likely longdrawn-out deaths. Unpredictable weather conditions will occur, just as we are seeing them now. Summers will arive later and so will winters. This will affect the migratory, breeding and birthing processes of wildlife, ultimately affecting the food chain (yes, we are the ones at the top).

GO WATCH THE FILM. It is not just a factual documentary. It is a treatise on your life expectancy, with a little humour and polite anti-Bush sentiment thrown in. Al Gore is a charismatic teacher and you wonder what it would have been like if Bush hadn't been placed in office back then.

GO TO and find out what the film is about, what is happening to the earth and what you can do about it.

Don't be a slouch, it's your life and that of your children. I think wastefulness is a sign of non-appreciation or ungratefulness for what we have - womething which we are all guilty of, including myself.

There are a few very simple things to do. They are not hard. They will save you money and meantime you will teach your children the benefits of non-wasteful living. Or what religious and philosophical teachers would call MINDFULNESS.

CHANGE YOUR LIGHT BULBS to compact fluorescent bulbs. They cost more than normal bulbs but last forever and each emits almost 75 kg LESS CO2 per year! I've had mine for more than 6 years and they still work (Ikea rules!)
DRIVE LESS by walking, cycling, car pooling and taking public transport as much as you can. The government is trying to get the public to do this with the new proposed personal vehicle use fees. Save a kilo of CO2 gas from being emitted per 3km not driven!
RECYCLE MORE. SAve 1.1 tonnes of CO2 gass emission just by cutting down on HALF your household waste (recycle it).
KEEP YOUR TYRES WELL INFLATED. Flattish tyres use up more petrol. Make sure they are well inflated to improve your mileage up to 3% (thats money saved too!)
USE LESS HOT WATER. We live in the tropics! Don't need much hot water, dudes! Electric kettles boiled once use enough energy to power a fluro light bulb for years! Make sure you don't waste the enrgy boiling a half-full kettle. Better yet, get cool and boil water in a smart stove-top kettle for better savings. Use low-flow showerheads if you can. Don't wash your clothes with hot water.
AVOID HEAVY PACKAGING. Cut garbage by 10% and save half a tonne of CO2 emissions. That's half a tonne of gas, a whole lot of it to save! Heavy packaging means the extra paper and plastic wrapping that covers whatever you buy to consume. Fast-food chains and food packagers are big heavy wrappers. And we Malaysians have a lovely habit of throwing it on the ground - a bad habit perpetuated by the very ugly attitude that someone else is being paid to pick it up, so why should I bother to throw it away properly? That attitude just stinks of low self-esteem (high self-esteemers would take care of their world to take care of themselves) coupled with majorly over-inflated ego if you ask me. If you have to throw it away, do it properly like the capable adult that you are. Even better, dont buy rubbish in the first place, or recycle it.
ADJUST YOUR AIRCONDITIONING to 2 degrees higher than your usual to save about a tonne of CO2.
PLANT A TREE to save one tonne
TURN OFF DEVICES THAT ARE UNUSED to save thousands of pounds of CO2 emission

Lovey, C


Anonymous said...

I am starting to have concerns about compact fluorescent lamps.

First, they contain mercury.

Mercury batteries were banned many years ago worldwide because the mercury ended up in our landfills and eventually in the water table. Well why are fluorescent lamps which all must contain mercury to work any different?

And now the Electrical Safety Authority up in Ontario Canada is warning consumers to never use the lamps in "enclosed fixtures" because of heat buildup after many media reports of the fire hazards.

Anonymous said...

turning airconditioning 2 degrees higher..means hypothetically, from 24 to 26?

mamasan said...

hi anon, yes, turning the aircon 2 dg higher, meaning, making it a little hotter. Also keeping your room enclosed (no open doors or windows) while aircnditioning so that it doesn;t work harder to maintain temperature. Energy probe, are there other alternatives to the normal lightbulb that you are aware of? I assume the suggestion to use CFLs is made because it is probably a better alternative to normal bulbs, but my knowledge is limited. perhaps you coul point us in the right direction?


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