26 Mac 2009
VoTe FoR eaRTH, VoTe FoR iTS SuRViVaL
On March 28, 2009, switch off your lights for Mother Earth - between 8.30pm and 9.30pm. Then, switch on to a new lifestyle where you start caring for, and really being concerned about the planet you call home, and its well-being.
March 28, 2009, 8.30pm. You are standing in front of your light switch. You stop and think for just a while – should you turn it off for Earth Hour? Well, nah. It’s okay, you tell yourself. It won’t help anyway, you’re just one person. Besides, you really need to finish that pesky assignment; can’t do it in the dark.
Guess what? If that was how you decided, ou just voted in favour of Global Warming.
This year, for the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote. By switching off your lights, you have put in a vote for Earth, and by leaving them on, you have just voted for Global Warming. And this very year, it is Malaysia’s first time ever participating in Earth Hour.
VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community; a call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet, and it can begin in your very living room. By merely turning off your lights from 8.30pm to 9.30pm, you can show that you choose to vote for our planet and not for global warming.
“It is a symbolic action – a symbolic event that cares not about whether you’re young or old,” says project manager of Earth Hour Malaysia, Devan Subramaniam. “It is something done to fight global warming.”
Global warming, simply put, is characterised by the rising temperatures of the Earths’ surface – leading to unpredictable weather, melting icebergs and receding shorelines. Where once land was, there will be seas due to the melting icebergs in the Artic. Where once we can comfortably sit outside our porch for a drink, we will have to retreat into our homes and strip down to our lightest clothes.
“Climate change will affect the young the most – the future heirs to the planet will be the ones to suffer the consequences of global warming,” warns Devan. “The older generation may think: it won’t happen while I am still around, but it is a reality that is very likely to happen very soon.”
Devan believes that the youth can do so much more for the planet, and that they should start early. “Documentaries such as ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ have very harsh, strong messages, but Earth Hour is something fun, and something anyone and everyone can do.”
He also says that the main message is to do something good for the planet. “Vote for Earth by switching off your lights,” he urges.
Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008, the message had grown into a global movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Coliseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness; and this year Earth Hour is being taken to the next level.
With the goal of one billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re on. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.
But for Devan, he believes that this year’s Earth Hour is not just one hour of switching off – it is a call for a start to a change of lifestyle.
“It’s about changing your lifestyle – especially the youth. Keep in mind to not use electricity unnecessarily,” he says. “In this urban lifestyle, laptops and air-conditioning is important, but it is not something we cannot live without.”
So how does turning off your light actually help put an end to global warming?
Electricity is most commonly produced by the burning of fossil fuel such as coal, petrol, and gasoline, which is used to power the turbines and machines needed to produce electricity. These processes are responsible for the emission of greenhouse gasses –more commonly known to us as carbon dioxide and methane gas. As levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere increases, so does the temperature.
By reducing the use of electricity, the demand for energy is reduced – a small step, but a crucial one to alleviate the problem. By simply using less fossil fuel (petrol and diesel for example) in our lives, we can help prevent the emission of these seemingly harmless (at first thought) gasses into the air we breathe. It is not about environmental jargon or frightening facts about global warming –sometimes all it takes are simple, everyday steps that you can practice to stop the Earth from being a melting pot (quite literally).
Here are some simple things you can do for the Earth; starting with turning off your laptop when you’re not typing away at it. If you simply must leave it on, switch to a power-saver mode.
Try replacing light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs, and switch them off when you leave the room. Keep in mind also that in our bright Malaysian sun, there is simply no need to turn on your room lights – throw those curtains wide open for natural light, or roll up those blinds.
Even something as simple as washing your clothes could make a big difference: Abstain from washing those simple tees and jeans with hot water as it consumes much more energy than an ordinary half-load cold wash.
Freezing mornings call for a hot, hot shower – but revel in the refreshing cold water on a hot afternoon as an alternative to too much air-conditioning. To get serious about saving energy, we need to look to the source of usage: radios, the ol’ telly, the perpetually-turned-on lights. Simply turn it off when not in use.
Another thing that we never truly consider is: just how much are we contributing to global warming? By knowing our carbon footprint, (how much each and every one of us is helping global warming along through a measurement of how our lifestyle choices affect carbon emissions) we can take steps to reduce it. To learn about your carbon footprint, go to carbonfootprint.com/calculator.html.
So, when Earth Hour comes, who will you vote for? Even though it may not seem like very much, every little bit counts, and every journey has to begin somewhere –the journey towards a halt to global warming can begin right in your own room.