Mark 29th March 2008 down on your calender for Earth Hour, where lights are turned off for one hour to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming. 

Here’s how I make Earth Hour a daily thing:

  •  I turn off and unplug all appliances that are not in use, instead of leaving them on standby-mode.
  • I turn off lights that are not in use.
  • I do not sleep with the air con on, although my husband goes along with this abit  reluctantly.
  • In public toilets, I dry my hands naturally by using only time, instead of the hand dryer. Yes, I am guilty of taking quick swipe on my pants at times and  leave wet palm prints unwittingly.
  • I take quick showers with cold water instead of using the water heater. Yes, even at night. And I’ve grown so used to it that it’s more enjoyable showering in cold water,  I feel more refreshed.
  • I stand very near a pail during my shower to capture the grey water (about 1/4 pail of water “saved” per shower,  especially from rinsing hair after shampooing), which I use for flushing my toilet bowl with a scoop. Effective enough for the yellows, I still flush for the browns though.
  • I hang dry my laundry instead of using a dryer.
  • I am trying hard not to spend too much un-necessary time surfing the internet on frivolous stuff. Need to log off and get in touch with real life.
  • I try to recycle as much as I can. 
  • I make use of the excellent public transport system in Singapore and take the buses and MRT as much as I can. I’ve boycotted cabs since the last price hike in end Dec ’07 and this is an achievement for someone who has single-handedly helped many cabby uncles raise their families in my lifetime. Okay, so I’m exaggerating abit here.
  • My mom washes her vegetables in a container (instead of running water) and keeps the water for giving dirty dishes their first rinse.  

As an additional incentive, trying to conserve as much energy and water as possible pays off in the monetary sense as well. Our monthly water & electricity bill for a family of 4 adults (with 2 being home the whole day) comes to be about S$60 monthly. My friends have told me that their average monthly bill comes to be about S$100 over monthly. The difference would translate into S$480 savings in a year. Hope this inspires you to look into creative ways that you could conserve energy too.

I think the mentality for alot of families is that they could afford to pay for their water & electricity bills so they see no need in engaging in such practices. But this is not the point anymore. Like Christina from A Thinking Stomach mentioned before, we are part of the problem and part of the solution.

Are you contributing to the problem or doing your bit? I feel sad sometimes when I think about how some can be oblivious and ignorant to the problems of this dying earth.