The first time I was exposed to being environmentally conscious was during my secondary school years. I participated in the Interact Club and ALL they talked about (other than BGRs) was – green this, green that. We did all kinds of things such as planting trees and recycling projects. When we left school, I wasn’t sure if any one of us still practices our green fingers. That was like, 17 years ago?
When my aunt offered to install an air conditioner in my room when I was in secondary school, I stood by my principle of not creating anymore CFCs to burn a hole in the ozone. Then, last year, the El Nino came. It was too freaking hot to sleep at night. I resorted to the old style of putting buckets of water in my room to cool the temperature but it didn’t work. I was all drenched in sweat the whole night, tossed and turned, yet couldn’t sleep. So I threw in the towel and sadly, contributed another hole in the ozone layer by installing an air conditioner in my room.
I am still conscious about consumption of energy – use of petroleum in Malaysia, so I resorted to some ways of minimizing use of air conditioner. On a very hot day, I would just switch on the air conditioner in my room for 1-2 hours before sleeping time. I switch it off before I go to bed. It somehow cool the room, so by the time my head touches the pillow, in less than 5 minutes, I am usually gone to lala land, so I didn’t feel the heat at night all that much.
Other things my family and I did to minimize wastage and play our part in a greener environment:-
1. Bring own shopping bag when going out – whether or not I will shop.
2. For bigger items, normally, I don’t ask for plastic bags – just a “sold” tape across the big item.
3. Bringing my own water tumbler. Unfortunately, in Malaysia, there are hardly any water coolers around to refill.
4. In office, when it’s cold, I just switch off the air conditioner.
5. Setting air conditioner to maximum temperature 24C to reduce consumption of energy. You don’t need to set the minimum 16C! it’s too cold anyway!
6. I don’t print memos which are not important and encourage my boss not to print too!
7. Use as much recycle paper as possible. Use both sides of A4 paper.
8. Car pool to work with colleagues. Been doing that the past 4.5 years!
9. Since 2001, when I was working in KL, I bring my own container whenever I go out to ta pao lunch! Nowadays, I eat at home, so I hardly ta pao things!
10. I’ve just signed up for electronic statement for all my credit cards.
11. I use rechargeable batteries for my cameras and gears.
12. I never take warm bath – even when I had to wake up at 6.30 am to go to work years ago.
13. I unplug all power sockets when I get off work and at home, too to minimize “vampire” consumption of energy.
14. Scan documents and forward via e-mail to recipients, instead of photocopying.
15. My mom collects water from washing rice grains into a bucket and uses them to water the plants.
16. We normally wash the house porch when it rains to minimize use of water.
17. Use more enzymes for washing instead chemicals.
18. Recycling old newspapers, aluminium cans, paper and plastics by donating them to charitable organization which collects old recyclable items.
19. Only use the washing machine when it’s full – sometimes we wash clothes once every two days.
20. I think I am the very rare few who still use handkerchief!
So, have you done your part to show your love to Mother Earth?
For other ways of recycling, check this out!