A lot of people all over the world is talking about the Earth Hour. For those not in the know, not many I guess, Earth Hour is a global call to raise awareness on climate change issues by encouraging everyone to turn off non-essential lights and electrical appliances to save energy. This year it falls today, 27 March 2010. Started in 2007 in Australia, it has grown into a global movement. Last year cities and towns in over 88 countries officially participated. The number is expected to increase this year. Brunei for the first time will be officially in it. Thanks to the efforts of a group of determined young people and supportive NGOs.
What can one hour of switching off the lights do? Not much in grand scheme of reducing our energy usage and the climate change. But this act, hopefully will trigger other acts that will have a bigger positive impact on climate change issues. So, it is not just for today, not just for one an hour. It’s for every hour, everyday, all year round. What can we do to conserve energy and save the environment?
Turn things off, buy energy efficient appliances, use less stuff, use cloth bags, recycle hazardous household wastes and MINIMISE WATER USAGE are among the simple things we can do. Yes water. Reduce our usage of water. Apart from energy, water is another major issue we must focus on. Water, energy and environment are all interlinked. You cannot deal with one and ignoring the others.
We can even argue what are essentials what are not. Is watching TV essential? Some say it is non-essential but in this modern age of information and entertainment some need it as a form of outlet to remain sane and to keep touch with the rest of the world. Do we need 100 watts light in the toilets? Some people say level of lighting varies on the usage of the area. Areas for reading must have high level of lighting. But some people read in the toilet. How about charging our hand phones and gadgets while we are sleeping? Is the burglar scaring light essential? How about having more than one fridge per household? How about more than one car per person? The list goes on and on. Very subjective and varies from one individual to another. Some say if we follow fully the green guide we may end up back in the stone ages. We must find the balance between having a modern lifestyle yet taking care of the environment. In moderation I guess.
In our enthusiasm to celebrate the Earth Hour, please remember the aim is to create a sustainable low carbon future. In short lowering our carbon foot print individually, the whole country and the whole world. Some of our activities may leave a higher carbon footprint compare to switching on the lights. Lighting candles are worse for the environment than light bulbs. Carbon dioxide emission is a s much as ten times higher. So candle light dinner, no matter how romantic it is and how good it is to your relationship, should be avoided. Guys may use this as an excuse to go on a romantic candle light dinner with their loved ones. Plausible reason even though the real reason may be they are skint or even stingy. Come to think of it, dinner should be avoided too. Candle lit or not. Be it fast food, slow food which is eat at your home or sit-down restaurants, all food production especially for beef involves destruction of rainforest contributing to global warming.
No lights, no dinner, no TV, no radio, no to many other pleasurable things we took for granted. Have fun tonight everyone in saving the earth.
Based on data from the International Agency, Brunei's per capita Carbon Dioxide emission stands around 15 metric tons. We are way up there despite our total emission is negligible compare to the total global emission. How much can one hour switching off do? At the most, just about 0.01 percent. Well, that's my rough estimate assuming it is just one hour out of 24 hours a day, 365 days every year.