Friday, 28 March 2014 | MYT 5:30 PM

A gift for Mother Nature: Make every hour Earth Hour

Hotel Zenith in Kuantan, Pahang, commemorated Earth Hour 2012 with candles in the shape of the number 60 to symbolise 60 minutes with the lights off. – Bernama

Hotel Zenith in Kuantan, Pahang, commemorated Earth Hour 2012 with candles in the shape of the number 60 to symbolise 60 minutes with the lights off. – Bernama

Don’t wait for one special day to do good for the planet. You can do it every day.

Once a year, come Earth Hour we think about doing something good for the environment. While it really is great that we care for our planet at least for one hour – an effort that definitely should be lauded – it is also important that we think about how to use the remaining 8,764 hours in the year to benefit Mother Nature.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t.

People are so accustomed to their relatively easy-going lifestyle that they only think about doing good for Mother Nature when an inconvenience occurs. Don’t believe us? Well, think about the times we have been in these situations:

We promise to conserve water only when the supply is cut, and we have to make do with a bucketful of water to shower with and it happens to be “hair wash day”.

We are only grateful for electricity when the power is out, and we step on a Lego brick in the darkness, trying to look for a candle all the while screaming bloody murder.

We wish for more trees only when we get into a car that has been parked under the blazing hot sun, praying that our first few minutes in the moving “oven” won’t be our last.

We think, we promise, we wish ... but there is one crucial thing that is missing out from this equation: do. And that is exactly what people need to do ... just “do” the things they know that are good for the environment.

Dare the World to Save the Planet, view of Kuala Lumpur with KLCC and KL Tower switch of light to be part of the world's largest voluntary action for the environment inconjuction of Earth Hour 2013. FAIHAN GHANI/The Star.
A view of KLCC and the KL Tower during Earth Hour 2013. – Filepic

Start somewhere

Okay, now before we go crazy trying to come up with new ways to help conserve energy and save the environment, let’s start somewhere simple and easy.

It is Earth Hour day tomorrow (March 29), and the whole world is coming together to do something nice for the planet once again. From 8.30pm to 9.30pm (local time) people will shut off all electrical appliances, hoping that the 60 minutes of darkness will treat the ailing planet. We can do that, yes?

In Uganda, 500,000 trees will be planted to fight deforestation and in Russia, there will be a celebration to commemorate the passing of a long-awaited law to protect the country’s seas from oil pollution – thanks to the 120,000 Russians who spoke up and made the government listen.

There will also be a reason to celebrate the hour in Argentina where 3.4 million hectares of sea are now conserved as the country’s biggest Marine Protected Area.

There are so many ways you can be part of this Earth Hour celebration and do more than just sit in the dark, praying that no thieves break into your house within that one hour (although we do hope that nothing like that happens to anyone). Now if you’re in the Klang Valley, check out the activities you can join at bit.ly/1dyNvFr 

Earth Hour in our daily lives

What is more important than celebrating Earth Hour is to practise the same compassion we have towards Mother Nature (during that one hour) every hour, every day. It is not easy, but at the same time, it is not impossible either.

1. Use the sun – it’s there for a reason

Purchasing solar panels can be expensive and not environment-friendly, but it is entirely possible to rent them. There are companies in Malaysia that rent solar panels (check them out online). You pay a fixed rate for the electricity that the panel generates. As the sun will last for millions of years, the price of energy remains the same.

If you don’t want to buy or rent solar panels, you can build one from scratch. Here’s a video that shows you how:

2. Motion sensor is the way to go

If you find yourself sleepless at night not due to your snoring spouse but because you’re afraid that somebody might try to break into your home, install motion sensor lights.

The light turns on and off automatically, so you can save a lot of electricity as opposed to leaving a light on throughout the night.

3. Keep it cool

An air conditioner keeps us cool, but it is also important that we keep its compressor cool. Did you know that compressors that are placed under direct sunlight use up approximately 10% more electricity? If yours is placed under the scorching sun, keep tall plants nearby. However, for safety purposes, make sure that the plants are not too close to the compressor.

4. LED or CFL?

Now, we have heard many times that we should change every light bulb in our homes to Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFL) to save energy, money, the Earth and so on. But here’s a new revelation: Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lightbulbs do the job better. Actually, each kind of bulb has its pros and cons, and maybe this video will help you make the right choice.

5. Check your power

Heard of apps which help you to track your energy usage? Well, Wattulator and Leafully are the latest apps that help you track energy. If you are a mathematics genius, then Wattulator is your app of choice but if you want to learn how to take part in more green activities, Leafully will work better for you.

Tags / Keywords: Environment , Earth Hour 2014 , conservation , energy , Earth , planet , sustainable energy , power , nature , world


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