I didn’t observe Earth Hour last month, neither did I in the past. I didn’t feel the need to do so, and I had never really been swayed by the hype around it.
It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in its cause. I did and I do, but not in the fleeting interest in the cause behind it. It was just that I didn’t need to be part of it, to be told of it, to be convinced of its cause.
I don’t want just an hour, and a fleeting one at that. And I’m not happy that Earth Hour seems to have become just like a yearly ritual, and one that not many people would remember and do unless bombarded with PR and media messages, which by the way take up energy that organizers were meaning to conserve. I hope the people and organizations behind it would work harder on going beyond the hour, on getting behavioral change and long-term actions among people and businesses.
Anyway, let me not lecture and instead share what I do to conserve energy and other resources regardless of whether or not it’s Earth Hour or Earth Month or what have you.
1. I turn them off.
I’ve developed this habit of switching off anything that is not being used. Anything includes lights, heater, power sources, appliances and gadgets. So if we’re having dinner in the dining area, I would turn off the lights in the kitchen and other parts of the house.
2. Wrinkled sheets are fine.
I don’t iron anything my family and I don’t wear outside the house. Anything includes bed sheets, pillowcases, blankets, kitchen and dining linens, house clothes, and pajamas. This is more because it’s tiring to iron clothes, sheets, etc, but just the same, it saves lots of power.
3. I climb.
Not the mountain, of course. The stairs – 30 flights to be exact. We live on the top floor of our residential building, and that offers me an easy but great way to exercise. Obviously, my primary purpose is to exercise, but again, it saves A LOT of power from lifting the elevator to the top floor and bringing it back to the ground.
And thinking of that much energy saved motivates me further to keep going, though wearing high heels from work and the thought of the pain once I reach the top can be a deterrent.
4. Cool is good enough.
We live in a place where it’s warm and humid almost throughout the year. That would have been perfectly fine if we lived at a time when nipa huts were the perfect abodes on tropical islands. But we live in a concrete jungle (with enough trees, thank goodness) and though I can sleep through the night with just a hardworking electric fan, my chubby cellito sweats a lot that she finds it difficult sleeping without the aircon on.
What we do is keep the temperature at 25⁰ and have all the aircon units cleaned once every three months to keep them working efficiently.
5. Water is for use and reuse.
I was guilty of taking long baths in the morning and at night. I still bathe twice a day, but I try to keep them short. And to conserve water even more, I try to reuse it as much as I can.
My daughter, though turning 4 soon, still prefers to bathe in her little tub, which is good because it lets us keep the water. Instead of throwing it away, we just leave it in the tub and use it for flushing the toilet.
This may sound gross to others, but if there’s any water left in the tub, I would use it in rinsing my hair after shampoo. Of course, I use clean water for the final rinse
The same thing with water used to rinse her hand-washed clothes – we put it in buckets for flushing and cleaning.
1. I turn them off and annoy them.
I’ve become “notorious” to some people at work for habitually turning off the lights in common areas like the toilet and the server room. “Notorious” because in several occasions, I had turned off the lights in the men’s toilet (the switch is located outside) without realizing it was occupied! I found myself a few times rushing back to my desk when I heard someone shouting, “Hey, turn on the lights!” Of course I would quickly turn on the lights before scramming
2. I don’t leave them feeding.
Feeding on electricity, that is. Just like what I do at home, I turn off my monitor when I’m not using it. And I make sure I switch off my desk’s power sources before heading home. When I get OC sometimes, I would turn off some of my colleagues’ power sources while on my way out of the office and feeling frustrated how most people don’t care to do such an effortless thing.
I had actually asked our IT manager to remind everyone to switch off their power sources before leaving work, and he did. But I guess people can’t really be bothered about these things – but they need to!
Whether or not others care to bother, and with or without Earth Hour or Earth Month, which is this month by the way, I will keep bothering.
I know I’m still a work in progress when it comes to cutting down my carbon footprint, but my resolve is firm that I will get more “stubborn” and hardcore in doing my part, even if that means leaving people groping in a dark toilet
I hope you will too!
Filed in: environment (let's all care!)