Friday, April 23, 2010

It's Earth Day!

I was actually trying to search for the repeat episode of Earth Day Specials on Playhouse Disney (Astro) when I found out that today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day!! Didn't know that it is celebrated every year on April 22. I thought it was over after the Earth Hour. Tsk tsk tsk... So outdated. No wonder they were clearing refrigerators and diapers along Gurney Drive in Penang! (Read more in The Star Online.) Kudos to the thousands of volunteers by the way!

We have so much to do to save our fragile little home and our future generations. According to the Earth Day Network, the world is in greater peril forty years after the first Earth Day! Although the blame is mostly on the developed countries, each of us have a role to play. Malaysia seems far behind in efforts to save the world, buy I must say that of late, there has been some efforts in turning the population a little greener. The state of Penang has boldly initiated the 'no plastic bags' campaign in 2009. A step closer to making Penang a green state. The State Minister Lim Guan Eng's speech during the launch of the campaign entitled "Penang As A Green State: We Are Willing To Lose Our Popularity But Not Lose The Next Generation" scores three thumbs up with me!

Writing this post also brings me back to the time when I had the priviledge of meeting Professor John Guillebaud about 5 years ago.  At that time, he was Professor of Family Planning and Reproductive Health at University College, London. According to him and his colleagues, part and parcel of what is happening to our world today is due to overpopulation and he strives to promote family planning and saving the environment everywhere he goes. He planted the Environment Time Capsule in 1994 to be opened fifty years later in year 2044. Things linked to environmental issues of today including a letter of apology to our future generation are placed in this capsule.

We may not be another state minister or John Guillebaud but we can all do our parts, big or small. I have always turned off the tap when brushing my teeth and re-used/recycled paper (I collect scrap, remember? {Read post 'Facelift'}). We also prefer energy-saving light bulbs. So to do more this year, I am going to pledge to do 3 Green Acts:

1. Switch off all electrical items when not in use and not leave it on standby mode.
2. Potty-train Baby O so we don't use more disposable nappies (and use cloth diapers next time!).
3. Bring our own tiffin carrier or other reusable containers when tapau-ing (taking-away) food.
Bonus no.4 will be to grow our own food and composting - space-permitting.

Here are more simple things we can do one small step at a time that will change our future:
  • Extend the life cycle of a product - re-use bags/ wrapping papers/ use both sides of the paper etc.
  • Grow your own fruits and vegetables
  • Reduce food waste - buy only what you need/ clear refrigerator before buying more food/ ask for less (rice/ noodles etc.) when ordering if you know you can't finish it
  • Reduce use of air-conditioner by drawing the curtains to keep hot air out
  • Recycle old cell phones and electronics
  • Collect rain water to wash the car, water plants, etc.
  • Car pool instead of driving alone
  • Pay bills online
  • Ask more people to join in the pledge!
Why don't you pledge to do 3 Green Acts with me? Don't just do it for yourself, do it for our children because
"We have not inherited the earth from our grandparents, we have borrowed it from our grandchildren" [Kashmiri proverb]

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