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Earth Day 2010

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Penny V extols some suggestions on how you can be more environmentally conscious and friendly on Earth Day 2010.

If you logged on to popular search engine website, Google today, you would realise that it is Earth Day! That’s right everyone, it’s a day to remind us about what we need to do to sustain our precious planet.

Now more than ever, all of us need to be stewards of change and be aware of how our everyday habits may contribute to the rapid climate changes that we’re all facing. Europe’s last winter lasted much longer than usual and Asia just became hotter and hotter. If you think 35°C is hot in Singapore, try being in Calcutta, India where it can go up to 40°C and above. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Watch ex-presidential candidate, Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which breaks down the science on climate change or read about a multitude of other core issues here.

The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, when Gaylord Nelson, a United States Senator from Wisconsin called for an environmental teach-in. Years later, almost 175 countries observe this celebration and encouragement of environmental activism.

Earth Day 2010 coincides with the World People’s Conference on Climate Change, organised by the Bolivian government. The event will be webcast online by One Climate.

Unfortunately Earth Day only means something when we do something about it. Only then, can we advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs.

And the things you can do to be more green and help Mother Earth are simple!

When heading down to Starbucks or local coffeeshop, bring your own tumbler, which can be washed and reused. Same can be said for water, get your own fancy stainless steel water bottle, from Sigg or Klean Kanteen.

“Americans send about 38 billion water bottles a year to landfills. Considering the 1.5 million barrels of oil needed to make those bottles, the environmental impact of plastic bottle waste is truly staggering.”

Findings by German water filter company, Brita. Left, advertisement run by them to spread awareness on how much oil it takes to produce plastic bottles.

-If it’s possible, instead of using the dryer, which uses a whole lot of electricity, hang your clothes out to dry! Same goes for the dishwasher; wash used utensils, plates and cups by hand. You waste less electricity and water.

Turn off the heater after your shower or bath. Leaving it on wastes electricity – actually since it’s so hot in Singapore, skip the heater! You’ll be utterly refreshed.

-If you can help it, walk, instead of taking the bus. Or ride a bike, skateboard, rollerblade, etc. This reduces your carbon footprint.

– Turn the lights off when you leave a room and don’t let your computer sleep if you’re going to be away for a substantial amount of time. Turn it off. Also, get energy efficient light bulbs.

-The same thing can be said about leaving the refrigerator door open! Close it.

-Strangely enough, even though Singapore is a garden city, we don’t have a tree planting day of our own! But who needs it when you can organise one by yourself. Get some friends together, get some plants and pretty up that neighbourhood. Of course, please ask express permission from the right authorities before starting anything! Maybe you can work together to make it a community project.

One Punggol community garden in Singapore has already gone ahead with its earth-friendly ideas: It composts fruit and vegetable waste from nearby wet markets and coffee grounds from cafes, nearly doing away with the need for fertiliser. – Straits Times Article, Apr 12, 2010.

-If you’re estate doesn’t have recycling bins speak to your local MP, Mayor or local town councilman to have them placed in a common area. Rally your neighbours together to do their part by starting a community recycling programme.

-Turn some of your old clothes into something trendy by altering them. 10 bucks goes a long way than $40 on a new top, which leaves some of your old textiles to waste. If you really don’t want them, give it away to a charity so that others may benefit from them.

-Remember the fashion fad with the canvas bag: I’m Not a Plastic Bag ? Well these days, there are more where they came from in all imaginable shapes and sizes, colours and styles. Take one, two or even three with you while you’re out shopping. This reduces the use of plastic bags, which aren’t biodegradable and unfortunately end up in landfills and oceans.

All in all, these are just some ideas that will help you be on your way to becoming more environmentally friendly. Not only that, it helps you save money, feed the soul and be a role model and catalyst for change. Remember every little bit counts!

As Captain Planet used to say, The Power is Yours!

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