Earth Hour – What does it mean to you?

Have you been taking care of our Mother Earth? Recent events have set me thinking about this question once again.

Earth Hour

Last Saturday (31 Mar 2012), many people observed the Earth Hour. Earth Hour was started by WWF-Sydney in the year 2007 for the people in Sydney to show their support for climate change action and was picked up by many countries in the world by 2008. Introduced to Singapore in the year 2009, the event has since been quite widely talked about in our local community, or at least during the period leading up to it. In fact, according to the Earth Hour official website, Singapore ranked among the top 21 countries in the year 2011 in terms of social activity around Earth Hour.

While many countries, cities, organisations and individuals have made effort to raise awareness about Earth Hour through various activities and created much hype around them, I personally felt that the true spirit of the movement lay in the actual action taken in support of the cause, not just during Earth Hour, but on a daily basis. Real action would give much more significance to the movement, especially if it could be done on a long term basis.

How many people are truly committed to the cause, and how many of those who pledged commitment can walk the talk?

Could it be that many people are just too caught up in the same way we have lived our lives? Do we need to go through a Tsunami or other life-changing encounters to be able to truly appreciate and take care of the planet we live on?

I like to take the Japanese as an example. Recycling is part and parcel of their lifestyle. Every Japanese household have recycling bins that sort out different types of waste. There are also established systems in which these wastes are collected. I admire their recycling systems, adopt their ways and adapt it to our local context. Personally, recycling has already became a habit in my life, but I am still lacking in many other areas of environmental-friendly actions and I constantly remind myself that I should do more.

Earth: Our Untamed Planet

Recently, a tour of the latest Science Centre Singapore exhibition, “Earth: Our Untamed Planet”,  coincidentally made me ponder upon the same issue. Increased frequency of natural disasters around the world have drawn some people’s attention to whether their occurrences might also have been indirectly caused by the actions of mankind. Either way, the fact remains that being tenants of this planet, we need to treat it better and be aware that what we do affects the place we live in. A scene from the science fiction movie “Wall-E” suddenly came to my mind at this juncture – a land of grey garbage with still air and silence. I wouldn’t want to live there.

When you are done with the use of your computer/appliances, will you remember to switch it off? Don’t forget to shut down your laptop at the end of the day and cut down unnecessary electricity use while you are away. This is something I also need to remind myself to do religiously, or my recycling efforts would all have been negated. Of course, there are many other things that we could do for our dear Mother Earth and they have been much talked about in the media.

If this is what you have been working towards too, let me say a word of “Ganbatte kudasai”! (Just to quote a line of encouragement from the Japanese)

Haven’t given this issue a thought? Seemingly small, the accumulated effort from individuals can reap great results. If you care about the planet you live in, why not start today?

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