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What’s your plan to save the planet?

April 22, 2009

These are the things I do different this year compared to last year.

  1. Drive less. I used to go home after work, wash up, drive out to dinner. Now I eat dinner on the way home and save myself a trip.
  2. Leave home for work earlier to avoid the traffic. Shorter times on the road mean less fuel burnt.
  3. Buy groceries once a week. I used to go whenever I need to, which can be as often as 3 times a week. Now its once a week. I also use less plastic bags in the process.
  4. Install a ceramic water filter at home and stop buying bottled mineral water. I prevent 2 x 1 liter plastic bottles from going into the garbage every day.
  5. Change all my light bulbs to energy saving ones.
  6. Turn off my balcony light. I used to leave it on overnight to discourage unwanted nocturnal “visitors.” None ever came anyway.
  7. Turn off the living room lights whenever I’m in the bedroom and vice versa.
  8. Kill the power to my appliances like the aircon, TV, DVR and console game when I go to work. Keeping them on standby consumes electricity.
  9. Cut down my home aircon usage. I don’t use my living room a/c any more. The bedroom a/c is only turned on when I go to bed.
  10. Cut down TV viewing from 2 hrs a day to 1 hour cuz I still can’t live without my toons.
  11. Plant some tomato plants at my balcony. Plants take in co2 and release oxygen in the day and my balcony actually looks green.

Most of these are habits that I found the easiest to change through the flick of a switch or spending less time in the car. After a while it has become automatic. I do them without thinking.

I know it may not seem like much, saving the fuel that is otherwise burnt to provide me an extra 2-3 kilowatts of electricity and an extra 10 km of driving a day, and saving 60 plastic bottles a month from ending up in the dumpster but if it means that the environment suffers less on my account, then I’m happy to do it.

What about you, what are you doing different this year?

Btw, happy Earth Day. 🙂

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2009 9:37 am

    Use less water when brushing teeth and bathing? Also use less plastic bags – don’t get the plastic bags when buying something.

    Yeah, I’ve stopped letting the water run when I brush my teeth some time ago. Got one bad story about plastic bags. One lady brought along her own bag to the supermarket to avoid plastic bags. After she shopped and paid the cashier, security stopped her to check her bag for stolen goods. Nothing was found of course but after the embarrassment, I think that was the last time she will bring her own bag.

  2. April 22, 2009 12:54 pm

    Started to bath in cold water since a few months ago instead of warm water all along. Make/ferment garbage enzyme to use as a detergent to wash floor. I am starting my second pail of garbage enzyme now with lemon and oranges skin.

    You’re making your own detergent? Wow, you’re way ahead of me! 😀

  3. stella permalink
    April 24, 2009 7:25 am

    Well, Damien u forgeting something! Eat less, less n less meat until one day u can let it go to save the mother earth. All the things that u’ve done above is good things too (expecially planting the tomato) but it will not benefit (or affective) the planet as much as switching to plant based diet.

    Pls read this article:
    http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2009/04/meats-not-green-this-earth-day-go-vegetarian-to-save-the-planet/

    I know i used to talk spiritual reason or killing karma stuff(eating meat) that related to disaster, global warming (GW), crisis economy n why being veg can save earth. Probably people do not understand this but I find it’s very easy to understand. For scientific reason, i don’t really know how to explain though i know some that really make sense like:

    Meat/livestock industry(Non-vegetarian living)- Impact on ecology:

    Greenhouse effect
    – World 1.3 billion cows annually produce 100 million tons of methane.
    – Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas which traps 25 times as much solar heat as co2.
    – generates 65% of human-caused nitrous oxide that 296 times as warming as CO2
    – livestock produces more greenhouse gases than all worldwide transportation combined.

    Water consumption
    – Livestock (cattle, calves, hogs, pigs)production accounts for more than half of all the water consumed in USA.

    Land usage
    – a third of the surface of North America is devoted to grazing.
    – Half of America croplands grow livestock feed for meat n dairy products.
    – 220 millions acre of land in the USA have been deforested for livestock production.
    – 25 million arces in Brazil, and half the forests in Central America.

    Or for more detail questions like below, pls see:
    http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianvegan101/f/environment.htm

    .How does eating meat affect water usage, water pollution and the ocean?
    .How does meat consumption contribute to rainforest depletion?
    .What does eating meat have to do with fossil fuels?
    .What are some environmental reasons to go vegetarian?

    Actualy u are already not bad for being a semi veg as out there they are still many have not eat less meat or turn to veg yet or don’t know much the meat effect toward the environment. Some has change their diet to veg after hearing the bad effect of meat, egg n livestock industry towards the environment problem. Some change to veg b’coz of sickness or cancer.

    IMO, at least the environmentalist, nature lover or protector, animal protection, WWF, pet lover, farmer, organic farmer or organic shop, NGO, Government, great leaders, medias should be the first to go veg as green living means eating green n meat is not green. They are the living example that people will like to look up to. If we love our country, nature, animal n pet, then we shouldn’t eat meat. Most of the time when we give some info to the environmentalist, nature lover, gov, medias, they did listen but mostly like to emphasize recyle, reduce, reuse, use less plastic bags, plant tree, save water, use public transport, use sustainable energy…. but not many would like to say veg to heal GW n earth. Many will only publish a small article of veg benefit to earth but steps that mention above will be widely say out. Some might even ignore this veg info(i think i better talk to the wall). Their awareness is very slow compared to US or Europe. Funny how human civilized on earth. Mostly they cannot let go of meat b’coz of habit, society, politic, family, business or profit making. How many years have we use these method n have it ever success in preventing nature disaster/GW that happened on earth.
    Yeah, these method can help but only moderately (even all people are very co-operative). Some say waiting for solar energy or new invention technologies for addressing the carbon foorprint or GW but how long does this invention take. Normally very long n take a lot of financial to invent something. So that is why we always stress that being veg is the quickest n easier way to address GW.

    P/s : i think u know that – Non-violence: It is a compassionate living in harmony with nature.

    Hi Stella, I was listing all the things I’m doing different this year compared to last year and eating veg wasn’t on the list becoz my diet hasn’t changed. I still do veg, as always.

    Looks like you’ve done a comprehensive study on the effects of livestock farming and its carbon footprint. Actually everything has a carbon footprint, even vegetable farming (you can check out how much of South America has been deforested to plant sugar cane and others). And then there’s the butchering of course, which makes things worse.

    We live in a region famous for its food tradition and where people are slaves to their tastebuds. People will drive an hour just to taste some shop’s famous char siew. We rank towns by their famous dishes – best duck noodles, best siew yoke, best bak kut teh. All the celebrations are done around food. Take away food and you take away culture. Take away culture and you take away identity. Take away identity and you take away sense of belonging, self confidence, etc. And you end up with a buch of insecure people who will make life difficult for everybody. IMO that is why its nearly impossible to change people’s minds.

    About the only way you can change them quickly is to ship everyone to Sweden and give them carrots and cheese to eat.

    Something funny to share. Whenever I choose to have a handful of peanuts for breakfast, I get strange looks as though something is wrong with me. A friend once thought I had no money to eat so he secretly ordered something for me – curry mee with extra chicken. 😀 I laughed and told him I was fully vegetarian that day. He was happy to have the bowl of curry mee though.

  4. tinytapir permalink
    April 27, 2009 3:26 pm

    “All the celebrations are done around food. Take away food and you take away culture. Take away culture and you take away identity. Take away identity and you take away sense of belonging, self confidence, etc. And you end up with a buch of insecure people who will make life difficult for everybody. ”

    What I thought about when I read this is that KFC advertisement which shows the old kampung couple where the old grandmother was cooking stuff at home for the family reunion and then they ended up getting KFC and it was all happily ever after.

    If you ask me, a lot of the food culture in K.L. is already dead (all except the eating part of it). When I used to go to friends’ meet ups for potluck you wouldn’t see home made stuff but a lot of plastic bags from delifrance, KFC, Pizza Hut et al.

    You could be right. Still, I’m trying to understand how people could drive for hours just for a particular delicacy. In the US, Burger King tastes the same whether you’re in Miami, Denver or Chicago. Basically food doesn’t have that big an influence compared to here, which could also explain why Americans aren’t the most cultured folks around. 😀

  5. May 14, 2009 11:03 pm

    Yeah, it’s nearly impossible to change people’s minds. But nothing it’s impossible if it’s for a good cause of human consciousness. Sometimes someone has to come and remind us of the purpose n benefit of veg.

    Don’t worry about the famous food tradition, culture, celebration, identity, self belonging, self confidence..etc. Worry if we can do it or not(be veg) n don’t let this negative food temptation(meat) influence us. As u know many veg food can now look similar like meat eg veg siew yoke, veg duck noodles, veg bak kut teh ..etc. Sometime we can’t even differentiate it whether it’s meat or veg meat. When i was a meat eater, i do not like the taste of bak kut teh. But after being a veg, i find vegetarian bak kut teh is very tasty. It also have to depend on how it was cook .. I find that my veg friend’s n my mother’s bak kut teh is very tasty. But when i follow exactly my mother recipe, it doesn’t turn out the taste exactly like how she cook. Well, it also has to know how to get the right taste so as to make the food taste more delicious n inviting.
    All we need is more vegetarian restaurant or organic veg cuisine. Some of our worldwide members are planning to open vegan cafe n vegan restaurant for the purpose of encourage people to turn veg n to save earth.

    u have some strange look from your friend? It happened always. Maybe they are not used to this veg or no knowledge at all. In Malaysia people are not used to this veg trend n exposure is very limited. Sometimes they are not very open minded. I guess exposure to vegetarian n vegan diet is very common n well accepted in US n UK.

    I feel there nothing wrong of being veg n sometimes i do feel sorry for the public for not understanding the truth even though i have told them several times. Guess karma is blocking them n their time is not yet ready. I cannot force them as this veg transition have to be desired n accepted naturally.

    Anyway we still have to continue spreading the veg solution message, awareness, remind/inform each other n the benefit of vegetarian as our days are numbered. Maybe some of them will listen. They don’t realize how much benefit a person can gain once turning to veg diet. eg a few:

    1) Stop global warming, save earth, save future generation bcoz it has a moral power n scientific power. The principal is “like attract like.” We have to respect life n then we will beget life.

    2) new invention or technologies will be invented once human consciousness has raised after turning to veg. The technologies n invention used on earth is actually very outdated, slow, not advanced enough n is been used n throw to our planet by the advanced planet. When human consciousness is raised, we can join other planetary system as we have evolve n can match with them. New invention will be able to receive n invented. We can even visited their planet like holiday tour or they come to visit us.

    3)Children will be smarter, intelligent …etc

    Damien, if u have free time, pls watch:
    1) Juice Fast for Peace – March 7, 2009 Culver City, CA, USA and

    2) video conference with supreme Master Ching Hai : SOS-Save the planet, march 6, 2009. part 1-6, xalapa, mexico. Also from suprememastertv.com

    I find this two topic is very inspiring n positif.

    WordPress blocked your comment again. Sometimes it lets you through, sometimes it goes crazy. Sorry about that. 🙂 Anyway if your comment doesn’t come up immediately, give it a few hours and it will come up.

    And thanks for the links.

    I have found some vegetarian hawkers and restaurants here. Unfortunately most of them are expensive. I had a simple plate of chap fan (mixed rice) at a Chinese temple once. Price: RM7.50, including a glass of chinese tea. A meal for two in a veg restaurant can go as high as RM50. If they are trying to promote vegetarianism, then I think they have failed miserably.

    I’ve mentioned it before. Over here, commercialized vegetarianism seems to be affordable only for the rich. The poor has no choice but to eat meat because it is cheaper.

  6. June 16, 2009 10:37 pm

    Damien. i hope u don’t mind for replying late a response cuz am quite lazy/dislike writing comment. Sometimes i would think first b-4 writing anything when unknowledge of the subject. When it’s too long, am already lazy to write n laziness is not a good habit (still trying to overcome it). It would be nice if human have telepathy, sentences appear automatically, no need communication as talking use energy n it’s tiresome.

    RM7.50 for vege chap fan + chinese tea. Yes, it’s quite expensive. Some temple do charge higher as a quarter, half or all the sales go to the donation fund. So treat it as a donation to the temples.

    i do agree most vege restaurant/hawker here are expensive n they have failed miserably if they are trying to promote vegetarianism to all races whether rich or poor.. Mostly it is for profit making same like any other meat eating restaurant. Commercialized vegetarianism seems to be affordable only for the rich as these business only target for rich customer or middle group.. We can’t blame them too as the global economy downturn had caused all the prices to gone up n they are using these reason to charge higher. So they also need to earn a living for survival n to cover the expenses cost like food/raw material, employee, rental, electricity, water, cooking equipment, renovation…etc. But somehow their effort of promoting vegetarianism (maybe bcoz of religion cultivation) is already not bad though it’s only affordable for rich people. But i do hope that they charge a reasonable price so that all walk of people can afford to eat veg.

    Actually, there are vegetarian restaurant run by one of a noble organization (forgot the name) that charge only rm2.00 to rm2.50 for a simple vege mixed rice, curry gravy with chee cheong fun, curry laksa, nasi lemak…etc. Chinese tea is free n a self service style. After finish eating, have to clear your plate n plastic cup into a pail provided. Their purposes is just to promote vegetarianism not for profit making. Mostly these organization have enough donations fund to cover the cost expenses. So their motive is very ideal. But there are some of these restaurant do use e-mee that have eggs substances n it’s not very pure. I do hope they will not use eggs as people like me or any indian/ vegetarian people would not take eggs n it can caused people to break their precept. Bcoz the price is cheap so the quantity given is small or material given like rice is simple rice not the tasty fragrant rice. So if a person is hungry, they have to order 2 plates to fulfill the stomach. So we pay what we got, eh. Anyhow they are very good already as i heard they are planing to open 100 vege restaurant all over the state of malaysia just to encourage people to go vegetarian. Sometime these type of restaurant or other hawker/restaurants that offer cheap vege food are situated further than the city area as the rental cost is much more cheaper in this area than city area. I think u know rental cost at city area is more expensive.
    There are also restaurant with no air-con (fan ceilling) or share hawker that charges rm3.50 to the maximum of rm5.50 for a 3 items mix rice or a single menu like fried kueh teow, fried rice …… etc. Actually if u order a simple meal like vege or tofu would not cause so much. Maybe around 3.50 to 4.00. Only the fancy meal like vege siew yoke, vege oat fish, vege shark fin, vege chicken chop or any kind of special vege meat substitute are normally cost expensive as they charge the industry cost of making this similar meat product. That’s why a fancy restaurant with air-con can go as high as RM50 for a meal of two bcoz of the fancy vege meat.

    I notice that most vege restaurant/hawker could not last long either 1 or 2 year. maximum will be 3 years. Most of the reason is bcoz chef is hard to hire, lack of staff, chef/staff doesn’t stay long, raw vege material is expensive, working hour is long n tire, pays is low, quality of vege cooking has gone low due to no qualify chef n was replaced by the ordinary trained indonesia/nyammar staff. So people go for meat eating again which is not very good. It’s a pity that the veg restaurant close down so fast as i hope they will mushroom a lot.

    For the poor n to save money, i guess it’s best to make your own simple vege meal at home. Sometime these vege restaurant/hawker or shops is very tempting as they sell delicious food/drinks, fancy vege material, healthy stuff …so on which lead us to overspend or overeat. Sometime can’t really save money. Maybe once a while only visit or eat at this vege restautant.

    It would be nice too if humans don’t have to eat to survive. Then we don’t have problems like fat/cholesterol (lighter feeling), animal would not be kill for food, save many animal n they will live in peace/harmony, no hunger problem, human will not have gout or rheumatism due to soaking the water too long either too much washing like plate/cups/utensil or washing too many vegetables especially the eater industry/restaurant/hawkers, avoid backpains/hand pain when washing/cleaning too much, avoid spending too much time on cleaning after using the kitchen or waking up early the morning to prepare food n buy raw material. Many times n energy is spend on doing these things only n is mostly very tiring n time passes very fast..If humans don’t have to eat then time can be spend on doing useful things like spending on hobbies that they like, cultivate/learning the spiritual path which everyone should do as each one has a spiritual entities in them, help the society or do meaningful stuff. It is said that in one n half years, food will be very few. So we can see that durians is not easily seen during this month of june compare to many years ago.

    Anyhow damien, we should be very grateful/thankful or be gratitude to these vege restaurant/hawkers as bcoz of them, we have vegetarian to eat, it’s a tough/sacrifice job (use physical strength, time, energy, long working hours, pay low except chef salary, one day holiday n it’s on weekdays only),n is at least known by the people though not all people change their diet yet. Most importantly their purpose is very noble in promoting vegetarianism (though some only target the rich) n the number of vege shop is few. Someone have to start something now so that in the future veg industry will flourished.

    There will be a time the veg eater is more than the meat eater n people will be very spiritual/happy n peaceful. This is call the golden era. It will be the other way round – meat eater will be very less (can be counted), more veg people/veg restaurant n it’s very hard to find the meat restaurant then.

    Hey Stella, how’s it going? Yeah I can understand the difficulties in commercialzing vegetarian fare with the costs involved. Even if the price is the same as non-veg fare, I’m not so sure if it would be enough to attract the masses. Something tells me without the interest of the consumers, they won’t eat veg no matter how cheap the food is.

    Hey don’t worry about response time. I’m thankful that someone is actually reading my blog. 😀

  7. June 24, 2009 10:43 pm

    Well, life is fine n just sometimes unpredictable… I’m sure there are many people who reads your blogs. They are just like me who are lazy to write comment. i should also be thankful that u are willing to read my long winded comment n u may have disagree with it … If for other bloggers which is sometimes fierce, serious, unfriendly, not cheerful, they will shoo me away. I notice that Blogger have temperament n mood too. (of course they are human that have feeling too.) So can’t mess up with them sometime. Have to respect them..

    I don’t know why when come to write comment, it can be so long winded n sometimes i just don’t know how to write short response. By nature i’m just a quiet person that don’t like to talk or say much. i should learn to write short comment like what others do but just certain topic have to be that long..

    I think the society will change for the better one day. I heard that the shops that sell rm2.00 to rm2.50 are doing very well n the food will often sell finish in the afternoon. My friend who have just open a vegetarian restaurant said that the meat restaurant owner across the road had complained that half of their customer had go to my friend’s veg restaurant to eat veg. Bcoz of the climate change n pandemic swine flu, there are people who are taking step to take lesser meat n some have really turn vegetarian. Yeah, it is still very slow n haven’t attracted the masses yet but let’s envision that it will happen one day.

    Someone told me an interesting thing the other day. He said vegetarians are the most selfish people he’d ever met. He spoke about a few nasty colleagues who are vegan and his neighbor, a 100% veg family who would throw rubbish at other people’s sides of the road and routinely beat their dog. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that but I have heard that vegetarianism actually reduces aggression in people. When animals are about to be slaughtered, they get frightened and produce an aggression chemical that gets locked in the meat. That’s transferred to humans when they consume the meat. Maybe that explains why carnivore animals are more aggressive than herbivores.

    On my blog you needn’t worry about short or long comments. Feel free to express yourself. I treat blogs like homes. I visit only those whose homeowners are open minded and interested in having a conversation. I don’t bother visiting homes whose owners are psychotic. 🙂

  8. July 3, 2009 9:07 am

    Well, what the someone said is right coz people believe/judge what they see n don’t truly look at the clearly pictures.

    Many people change their diet to vegetarian/vegan b’coz of health reason.

    They don’t really practise going green or compassion towards the animal yet. Their motives is just for healthy purposes or to cure certain diseases.. So the someone saying vegetarian/vegan are most selfish, uncompassionate n unenvironmental are probably belong to this group.

    Yeah, the rate of aggression of a human that consume meat are more than a non meat eater. Which also explain why in the animal kingdom that the animals that eat meat are more aggressive than herbivores.

    Obviously, vegetarianism suppose to reduces aggression in people but this have to be together with a true heart. They are many type of vegetarian. Vegetarian in the heart is the best. We don’t just eat vegetarian or be vegan only but our actions, speech and thoughts must be together n uniform. The vegetarian diet is only to propagate more loving kindness which already exists in us, to polish it more to its full extent to all beings including our younger brothers n sisters, to sow our love n to polish our compassion.

    Therefore vegetarianism is not only eating tofu, grains, vege and avoiding meat, fish/seafoods and egg but “ahimsa”, meaning non-violence, includes a lot of aspects like compassion towards animals, kindness, good moral standard, peace, happy, unconditional love………..etc.

    The 100% veg family that routinely beat the dog maybe is due to sometime they don’t like when the dog is making too many noices like barking , running around, chasing, making a mess of the surrounding, urinating…etc. Especially if the family like cleaniness or quietness then all this will make the owner to beat the dog to teach him a lesson so that it will not repeat or disturd them again.
    But u know this is not a right method to teach a dog.. They are supposed to love, talk n train the dog in a right manner cuz sooner or later the dog will understand/listen to the owner n wiil be a loyal dog though they can’t communicate with the dog.

    A spiritual friend of mine had 3 lovely vegetarian dogs. But the mother who is not spiritual had turn veg for 2 years due to health reason n do not really know how to appreciate the dogs n complained the daughter had treated the dog better than human. This is true as she feeds good food to these dogs like salad with olive oil, organic vegetables, fruits n mineral water which the dogs like very much. It is what she eats everyday. One of this poodle dog had even meditate with her sometime which she recently noticed. The mother sometime beat the dog (when she is out) b’coz the dogs barks loudly which she doesn’t like it as it disturd her sleep. These is what her sister told her when her sis was in the home. The dogs sometime bark b’coz they want to inform someone that they have just urinated or pass a motion n need people to clean it. So my friend will clean it when the dogs bark. The poodle dogs had once urinated on her bed. But after she has scolded /taught/reminded the dog with love for not to do again, the dog had never urinate on the bed ever since. So if a person really train or treat the animal with love, they will surely be a good animal. Am not saying that the mother is bad or whatsoever as it beat the dogs (probably very soft) but she just haven’t develop the love towards the animal yet (though already a veg for 2 yrs) n doesn’t believe the animal has soul too though she did noticed the intelligence of the dogs.

    So the parent also have to teach their kid to treat the animal well as parent attitude has a great influence toward the children upbringing..

    Another good story to share. A spiritual friend told me that an environmetalist, nature lover, animal protection n a christian faith has turn vegetarian for some years. His reason is bcoz of the love of the animals that he is willing to let go of the meat. Thoungh his eating maybe not pure (me think) as he only eat the non meat eg vege noodle, fruit n separate meat that he’s not eating ( eg a bowl of vege noodle + fish ball ) but he somehow learn the value of love towards animal n compassion. Let’s hope in time this person will learn to eat only pure vege food without mixing with meat.

    Sometimes the people become veg is also bcoz fear of climate change, animal/nature lover or the religion advises them to do so as it is a noble way of living.. So they probably know how to go green, follow partly, don’t do it or do little bit. They are willing to let go of the meat but haven’t cultivate the compassion toward the animal or environment. So a person really have to cultivate vegetarianism within in term of loving kindness n compassion. Merely following a vegetarian but do not really practise or understand the essences of it does not bring much help or result. But time should be given to this beginner veg or some time veg people as this loving kindness or compassion towards animal or environment have to be cultivate n practice in action. They’re actually not bad already as willing to forsake meat for climate change or other reason compared to other people who still like to eat meat. It will be the best if they practise spiritual pursuit so that they have a more understanding of vegetarianism.

    Anyhow sometime a spiritual practitioner do not practice what the teaching taught or do not carry virtues into practice as the level of understanding, love or compassion are still slow or haven’t progress yet. Still need time to learn n develop as everything come from inside.

    Yeah, I do feel the blogs is like the blogger homes. The commentor is just like a guess or visitor to the blogger homes. Bloggers n commentors have their own thinking /characteristic n each has their unique way to espress themself. Sometimes they are quite hillarious or funny.

    Yes, many people link passivity to vegetarianism. To be blunt, it can be a challenge to live passively when your living environment – your friends, colleagues, clients and competitors – are all aggressive. By that I mean they selfish, quick to take offense and are critical and vengeful. We can see that there are more war zones on the planet than peaceful places. It just takes a small incident to blow up into a big conflict.

    So you are right when you say diet is only part of the solution. The mind is the other part and thats far more difficult thing to control than eating.

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