Today, WWF is asking all people to switch off all electrical appliances for one hour between 8.30pmand 9.30pm.
This is a laudable effort. IT is symbolic. By switching off one hour, we may not achieve much saving of electricity, but it is a reminder to all of us, the inhabitants of this planet, that we cannot keep on doing what we have been doing.
Homosapiens , especially the North Americans, have been adopting a very wasteful lifestyle. It is time that we take stock of the depleting resources of Mother Earth and be more responsible in our utilisation of commodities and other goods.
Once it was said that planet Earth could only sustain the lives of 6 billion people. We have already hit that target. Thanks to modern technology, we have been able to produce higher yielding crops ; modern farming technique have helped us produce enough proteins to feed the growing population. The demand on food especially on meat will be disproportionally high in the coming decades, as reater proportion of people become more affluent, especially in CHina and INdia , and these people would adopt a lifestyle that consumes more protein than before.
Water shortage will be a big problem if conservation is not practised. Clean water, perhaps more than modern medical treatment, is said to be the single most important factor to raise the average life expectancy of the people. In the early 1800s, life expectancy was around 38. My favourite pianist, Chopin died before 40, otherwise we would have more etudes , preludes and nocturnes from him.
In the early 1900s, life expectancy was around the late 40s. Now in Japan, it is around 80. In Malaysia, it is around the high 70s, and rising.
Ultimately, there will come a day when the Earth’s support system simply cannot support the number of people. What will happen then? Famine, wars, epidemics will occur .
All of us have a duty to remind ourselves and our next generation that we must change our lifestyle.
This switching off for an hour is good to impart on the younger mindsets the importance of conservation and preservation.
It will be good for those with young children at home to drive the message across why it is important to conserve energy, water and all things around our house including toys, gadgets, furnitures, papers and so on. . Teach them not to be wasteful. Teach them to treasure things at home.
When the nation plunges into darkness tonight, it will be the best time to imprint on the young minds the importance of ” reduce, re-use, recycle”. On top of these 3 Rs , i will add a 4th R “regenerate”- we should perhaps start to plant some fruits and vegetables in our garden for those of us living in landed property. All these will help to buy us time, perhaps with more time, we can move up to higher technological levels and delay the onset of the time when Earth can no longer support the increasing population.