Reinventing Earth

Most of you might have been transfixed on the goggle box on 7.07.07 with all the concerts going on. Yes, Live Earth. Of course there were other events going on, like the Youtube gathering and the local ping.sg awards.

Anyhow, the concert was simply a publicity stunt for a more pressing problem, global warming.

So now that all the hype has passed, it’s time get up and do our part for the only place we have to live on. Greenhouse gases is one of the main things that is causing Global Warming, and with it comes many other problems. Personally, if people just talk about the increase in temperature, we are missing the point. Maybe we are just looking at the face value of the term “Global Warming”. I mean, since it’s going to be warmer, let’s just crank up the air-conditioning and live like Eskimos in tropical Singapore, right?

Unfortunately, “Global Warming” isn’t just about higher temperatures. We need to see Global Warming as an incubator of global problems. Problems like epidemics, natural disasters and stronger strains of diseases. If you’ve gotten the flu recently, you might have felt that it was one of the worst you’ve had. The occurrence of diseases borne by mosquitoes like malaria and particularly dengue fever in Singapore are on the rise. I’m not anything thing of a microbiologist, but from all these that’s happening, it is a matter of time mankind face an advanced epidemic. Hey, it never hurts to be prepared. Or for this case, it never hurts to take preventive measures.

Which finally leads me to talk about taking action. If you aren’t already practicing these, well, you ought to.

Recycle

We Singaporeans are a lazy bunch when it comes to recycling. And the even messier problem comes from opportunists. Unfortunately, there are those who rummage through the recycling bags that people leave outside for the collector. They make a mess of things, thereby creating a huge challenge for both the collector and the giver.

Sembcorp does have contracted “karang gunis” who will come by to collect your recyclables every fortnight. If you do spot them, ask for their contact so that you can call them to collect your recyclables personally. This way you can prevent those opportunists from making a mess in front of your door.

Reuse

They may disposable, but it doesn’t mean that they are only good for one-time use. For a start, plastic bags can be reused as trash bags, disposable utensils (especially those from Macdonald’s Big Breakfast and Hotcakes) have a decent lifespan that can last a few picnics. (Speaking of which, they need to change those styrofoam packaging to paper ones soon.) Shopping bags make great organizers for documents, tin cans are great storage solutions. Many Singaporean guys like get hold of those trip flare or grenade canisters for their waterproof property. Possibilities are endless when we try to exploit advantageous properties of any packaging. Hell, even your fruit peel can be used to make compost for gardening.

Reduce

I think this is by far the most important thing if you want to be truly eco-friendly. Previous points only serve to make us feel better that we have done something. But I think the best way to reduce our impact on the environment is probably to do less or in some case not do it at all.

Less Shopping – If we reduced our shopping, a lower demands will bring about a reduction in energy consumption. So buy only what you need. It will do a lot for your pocket.

Less Packaging – Packaging is a problem when you throw it away. While still on shopping, look out for the items you need in less packaging. This could mean getting something in bulk or even the less attractive product.

If eating at a food centre, try ordering only from stalls that use reusable utensils and crockery. If you are getting takeaways, bring your own containers, just like the good old days of our parents. If you find those stalls that use the “opek” husks for packaging, it’s just as good since it is biodegradable. And leave their addresses in the comments because they tend to serve the better tasting food.

If we ate less meat, it would reduce the methane (a greenhouse gas) produced by livestock. Even better, eating less means reducing the worldwide obesity epidemic.

Fan = good, Air conditioning = bad – Use a fan to aid the ventilation of a room. Open the windows while you are at it. It will bring down the overall temperature of the room. Air conditioning on the other hand isolates the air within the room. It’s probably one of the biggest contributors to Global Warming in my books, either directly by the greenhouse gases it emits or indirectly by the energy consumption.

Switching off – A simple, straightforward tip.
Not using an appliance? Switch it off at the socket.
Appliance on standby still use up power. Switch it off at the socket.
Not using the room? Switch off the lights.
Easy. And this will help reduce the bills.

Going public – Driving is expensive. First, it’s the car. Next, it’s the fuel. Then it’s the ERP. Even when you don’t drive you are paying for parking! And let’s not forget the jam. The world class transport that is the MRT takes you from point A to point B with only a human jam. If you are lucky, you will rub shoulders with someone really hot. If I had my way, I would make it mandatory for every car to be off the road one day every week.

So that’s just a few ideas rattled off hand. If you would like to contribute ideas, just leave them as comments.

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