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Going up in a plume of Co2

March 27, 2009

How to save the earth?

I can put it in two words. No, not Earth Hour. Mindfulness and compassion.

Sure it doesn’t have the cool and funky ring of Earth Hour but it’ll far outlive it.

First, mindfulness. Do you know how much your choices are thrashing the ecology. Actually do you care? Or are you doing it only because you don’t wanna look like a dork.

I wrote about carbon footprints here. Click this if you want to see Google’s listing about carbon footprints. You need to know what it is before you appreciate how it fits into the picture.

What is mindfulness? Counting the calories of everything you eat is mindfulness. So is counting the carbon footprint of everything you consume, like how much carbon you’re releasing into the air for every hour your PC is on, every kilometer you drive and every plate of sashimi you eat. If you can count calories, you can count your carbon footprints.

So you’re either mindful or you’re not. Mindful people always think of alternatives. They ask themselves, would the carbon footprint be smaller if I do this or that? They develop a habit of taking the lesser path wherever possible.

A couple of people I spoke to recently admit having no idea how flicking the light switch is connected to global warming. Actually it didn’t matter to them ’cause all they were interested in was the candlelight dinner and street party on Saturday. Can’t say I blame them, because that’s how the message was crafted.

Anyhow they should know this. Electricity is generated when people burn fossil fuels like diesel and coal to drive huge turbines. This act dumps tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day. Co2 is a greenhouse gas, the stuff that prevents heat from escaping the earth. When a billion people switch off their lights for an hour, the release of tons hydrocarbons is thwarted. I assume load balancers on the grid will rev down some turbines when supply exceeds demand. The planet avoids being a little bit hotter as a result. This, I believe is the message behind Earth Hour.

Second, compassion. Not only to others whose existence is threataned by the effects of global warming but to yourself. You cannot take care of others if you cannot take care of yourself, just as you cannot take care of yourself if you stop caring for others. Don’t believe it? Cut down the forests and kill all the animals and see what happens to you.

The Geta or Japanese wooden clogs helps you avoids squashing bugs when you walk. A practical application of mindfulness and compassion.

The Geta or Japanese wooden clogs helps you minimize squashing bugs when you walk. A practical application of mindfulness, compassion and making your footprint small - literally.

I’ll do my share to support Earth Hour this Saturday and probably a little bit more. Hope you do too.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2009 1:56 pm

    Ok, I know it sounds a bit gross, but one of the things that I think people can do is to minimize the usage of toilet paper and tissue paper. I still remember this one time when I was in my office’s toilet, doing my regular morning biz, there was this guy who went into the ‘room’ …or whatever you called it, nxt to mine.

    First thing he did, grabbed the toilet paper roll…and then you can hear the sound of the toilet paper rolling for at least 7 to 8 seconds. That’s a freaking lots of toilet paper! And he didn’t even start his biz yet. Those toilet papers were meant to wipe the toilet seat.

    I nearly threw something over =_=

    Sounds like he may be suffering from some type of compulsive disorder. 🙂 To tell you the truth, looking at the state of public toilets here, sometimes I don’t even bother myself.

  2. March 27, 2009 4:18 pm

    Thanks for that angle. A billion lights switched off for an hour and the heat reduced. Ah, that’ll make a difference.

    A billion unfinished plates of food not thrown away but given to another billion people to eat. A billion batteries not thrown away because they’re rechargeable. A billion used dresses not thrown away but given to….

    The endless possibilities. Maybe we need a ‘waste not, want not’ policy.

    Some ingenious thieves put the same logic to good use. A bank insider skims $10 from 30,000 accounts, hardly noticeable if you have something like $18,752.13 in your savings. Then he quits the next day and disappears. Or 10 cents a day from a customer, harvested 100 times a day over many years, can be significant. Grains of sand do make mountains.

  3. stella permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:06 pm

    Good post, Damien. You’re right, mindfulness n compassion should cultivate in every human hearts
    in order to save the earth. People should also have awareness about the counting calories of everything we eat. I will support Earth Hour too eventhough it’s only an hour but i don’t see much it can help for the long term basis. It’s just help for that one hour only. Anyhow it’s better than nothing to be done for mother earth. Actually it’s not easier to see medias in Malaysia especially this year that they take this effort to create awareness about saving electricity. Even in tv they are always relaying this message to support 60 Earth Hour but in a very short minutes. It’s more like advertisement but it’s very catching n nice done. Just not very detail n graphically convey why we should switch off the light, the consequeces of c02 or just like what you are saying that people having no idea how flicking the light switch is connected to global warming.

    Damien, i still cannot imagine how the Japanese wooden clogs helps to minimize squashing bugs when using it to walk?

    Great to know that you support the cause too. 🙂

    Oh, the wooden clogs? Look at the soles. Each clog is supported by two raised wooden slats that are narrow. Its unlike normal footwear that has a footprint-shaped sole. The smaller the contact surface between your footwear and the ground, the less things you step on when you walk and the less insects you kill.

  4. LC Teh permalink
    March 29, 2009 3:49 pm

    Talking about the state of public toilets here, there must be some people who are way off the normal. We have pretty well cleaned toilets within our walls, but that doesn’t stop these paranoids from finishing a whole roll of tissues to clean everything before they do their ‘business’… I wonder if they do that at home where they pay for the paper with their own money.

    The phobia about contracting germs from toilet seats is pretty universal. Considering how many trees are cut down for toilet paper, it might be better to just carry a little bottle of disinfectant. I’m sure Wally of Dilbert can whip up something nifty for that real quick. 🙂

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