Saturday, August 8, 2009

Go Green Go Hybrid

Peace be upon you.

Trying to be environment-friendly can be costly ..and requires effort, especially in 2009.

Really? you'd ask.

Yes, really. Sometimes. Let me explain.

1. 30 years ago, do you recall following your mum to the market? She'd bring the large rattan basket. The (mostly chinese) vegetable seller and (Muslim,of course) meat seller would paper-wrap the veges and meat and hand them over to mum. Mum put them in the rattan basket. Plastic bags were hardly ever used.

2. Trishaw riders would help us commute at short distances for a small fee. It was fun, wasn't it?

3. Umbrellas were biodegradeable. Remember the large green ones?

4. We kids and adults alike, used bicycles eveywhere! But at least to commute short distances- friends' houses in the neighbourhood, the football field, the neighbourhood grocery store, school, tuition. (I hated tuition).

(sigh...) Those were the days.

Now, the haze and smog are here to stay. Thanks to us. Yes, you & me & our kids.

Why? Because we abandoned the eco-friendly lifestyle I described above, to become "modern" men and women today, as we "blindly" followed the 'Western industrialised" lifestyle (by watching too much TV and Hollywood movies where everyone drove big cars) and we have remained stuck in the rat-race eversince. It is pointless having a million dollars but we have lousy air to breathe and cannot escape to another planet.

NASA and Russia have not opened up the other planets for sale yet. so, planet EARTH is here to stay.

Is it too late to reverse the effects of pollution and global destruction we have done?

So, what steps shall we take on this only planet we have?

1. Use the basket/ Tote bag the next time- and everytime- we go shopping. Teach our (youngest) children to do the same. Leave your Loius Vuitton bag behind for the next romantic dinner out with your partner.

2. Pack a few plastic bags in your tote bag, to pack your grocery items at the supermarket. Your local grocery cashier will get used to you, and will respect you for it.

3. Politely decline plastic bag if the item(s) are small and few.

4. Educate your local grocery store/ wet market to use old newspaper to wrap your items.They'l get used to it.

5. Buy a bicycle. Use it.

6. Buy a solar-powered car. If that's not available yet, buy a Hybrid car (like I did). It's not just about saving fuel; it's about reducing your "carbon footprint" on this planet. God created the perfect planet and gives us healthy air to breathe into. He forbids us from making any destruction to the planet.

A Hybrid car may be slightly costly (due to import and excise duty) but it's worth the effort in saving the environment from the onslaught of carbon emissions.

View testimonials from happy Hybrid Honda owners here:

7. Organise street demonstrations (just kidding) to get the government to waive excise fees on fully imported Hybrid cars forever. (just being cynical about the "demonstrations" idea). Seriously, 'greenie folks' like myself sincerely hope the government will encourage car users to switch to Hybrid vehicles by removing excise duty, thus making such cars more affordable for those who sincerely want to do their bit for their environment.

8. Switch to non- fossil fuel as alternative energy. Encourage young students at high school and universities to design/ research on alternatives to fuel.

9. Get Proton and local car manufacturers' R&D departments to design 'hybrid' vehicles, thus producing cheaper local-made vehicles that will eventually replace "normal' cars.

Andrew Glikson, Earth and Paleoclimate scientist at the Australian National University (ANU), wrote:
Should humanity choose to undertake all possible mitigation and adaptation efforts in an attempt at slowing global warming down, or even reversing it, steps need to include:

1. Urgent deep reductions in carbon emissions, on the scale of at least 5 percent of emissions per year, relative to 1990 (Anderson and Bows, 2008).

2. Global reforestation efforts in semi-arid and drought-effected regions, among other providing employment to millions of people.

3. Construction of long-range water conduits from flood-affected to drought-stricken regions (an even more important task than designing Broadband networks…).

4. Urgent development of atmospheric CO2 draw-down methods, including CO2-sequestering vegetation, soil carbon enrichment, sodium-based CO2 capture (a technology no more complex than space projects technologies and financially not more expensive than military expenditure).

5. Rapid transition to clean energy (solar-thermal, hot-rock, hydrogen, wind, tide, photovoltaic) and transport systems (electric vehicles).

It is possible that, in order to gain time, some governments may opt for geo-engineering efforts, including stratospheric injection of sulfur aerosols (simulating volcanic eruptions), likely over polar regions, meant to temporarily raise the Earth albedo while other measures are undertaken.

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