The World is in your Hand

(The World is in your hand)

Today is Earth Day, and most newspapers carry the news that People around the world will be switching off for an hour. Malaysians are asked to switched off at 8.30pm.

I am posting an old article of mine , written one year ago. I am not rewriting it as it is still relevant and the points which I want to stress are still the same.

We cannot go on our wasteful way. I am an admirer of Thomas Friedman, who latest book : “Hot, Flat and Crowded” should be read by anyone interested in going green. (especially the North Americans)

This is it:

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.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lai Kee Kong
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 09:48:39

    MCA has always been a party at war with itself. Unity was never their strong point. There are too many diverse interest in the party, clans, associations, educational groups even temples. MCA represents the chinese but the chinese themselves are not a homogeneous group that has a single need and aspiration. Ideals and high concepts are not its strong points. Times has changed. The people’s needs has changed. It is time to change the channel.


  2. tonyboneka
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 21:45:01

    I am not surprised no one comment on this post. Malaysians are basically ignorant on the issue of sustainability, blinded by money and power. Given our long coastline and dependence on imported grains, we will experience significant impact of global warming soon. I guest the government then will blame it to advanced countries, as if we do not need to responsible for our well-known poor record on greenhouse gases emission.


  3. tonyboneka
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 21:56:52

    The earth does not need us to save it, it will heal by itself. We are saving ourselves, our children and our civilization.


  4. kws
    Apr 01, 2010 @ 10:38:50

    The world should switch off 1 hour everynight and not once a year if we are serious to maintain in this state in another 50 years. Who cares about climate change – just some propaganda from those high end users – a show of guilt?

    Look at US esp. Las Vegas, it’s consuming coal to power the sin city like no tomorrow. Another power house is China and soon India, then Russia.

    I think Malaysians are more energy conscious, using energy saving bulbs, using water instead of toilet papers, drying our hands with our clothings instead of paper towers, water for consumption rather than watering their gardens.

    Dr. Hsu, what do you think?


  5. Dr Hsu
    Apr 01, 2010 @ 12:17:48

    The worst culprits are probably the North Americans . But many individuals and NOGs there are pushing for conservation, recycling and other green issues. Canada has a green party. In US, lots of individuals are calling for the people to be more green orientated, one example is Thomas Friedman whose latest book: Hot, Flat and Crowded stresses on green issues and sustainability.

    Now, even our PM has started talking about sustainability. Malaysians are not in the forefront of green conservation, even though as people become more educated, more and more are accepting conservation and recycling as part of their lifestyles. Look at the supermarkets, they are actually cutting down usage of plastic bags by promoting no plastic days. They too save lots of money, and at the same time , help to remind people that we should recycle and conserve, and it is actually a win-win thing.

    We can do more. As with everything else (with the exception of football where we are among one of the lowest ranked) we are in the middle rungs, and we can certainly do more to help. I have been using energy saving bulbs in my practice and my home for many years. It is dearer to buy them, but in the long run, it is actually more economical, and at the sam time it helps conserve energy.

    Water conservation will become a big issue later on.

    The world population is going to hit 9 billion in 2050. How to find enough water to support lives will be a big issue.


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