Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A word on our Environment

Most people love to accessorise -- I know I do! Whether it be nice fashion items, some bling, or cool gadgetry -- its as much fun looking for stuff as it is owning it.

It could be a $10 costume jewelry from the flea market, or a $2799 Samsung Omnia, or a $35,000 hand-stitched Hermes handbag or even a $550,000 Hummer -- if you like it and can afford it, there's nothing wrong in getting it. Right?

Well, financially, perhaps. But these days, we have to look beyond just the price tag and understand what is the true cost of a given item -- stated in terms of the (usually negative) impact of our choices and lifestyles have on the environment.

Take my 7-seater MPV for instance. I just learnt that if I traveled a modest 15,000 kilometers a year, it would have generated -- get this -- nearly FOUR TONNES of carbon dioxide. Our other family car equivalent, although spotting a fuel-efficient engine, would still put out another 2.4 tonnes of CO2!

So just from commuting and weekend driving alone, the two cars would have added 6.4 tonnes of greenhouse gasses to our atmosphere, contributing yet a bit more to global warming.

It is because of this that some bodies are advocating attributing an environment cost to a product. That means besides the usual specifications of a product, manufacturers are encouraged to also state the environment cost of:
  1. Producing the item -- how much pollutants were generated in the production of one item

  2. Maintaining or operating it -- how much more will be generating with its continued use (think: fuel / power consumption / CO2 or pollutant emissions etc)

  3. Disposing it off eventually -- impact to landfills; threat of dangerous chemicals leaching into groundwater etc
Now that we've started talking about the amount of CO2 generated by a car, should we also look at other aspects of our lives that also contribute to global warming?
  • How about your food choices?
  • How about your garbage dispossal?
  • How about the things you own and use -- do you repair or replace?
  • What are your at-home habits -- are you using more resources than you need to?
  • Selling off old newspapers is fine, but what about the other garbage -- do you separate them for recycling?

I started poking around the Internet, to see what was the impact to my lifestyle on Mother Nature... and honestly, some of the numbers surprised me. And you're talking to someone who *think's* he's already quite environmentally cautious:
  • We only switch on the a/c when it is very warm (over 31c), and even that for an hour just to cool things down
  • We actively use recyclable bags to avoid unnecessary use (and subsequent disposal) of plastic bags
  • We try to carpool and avoid single-occupancy driving as much as possible.....
So it was quite a disturbing but good learning experience when I took some quizzes and realized that there are so many other of my choices and actions that also impact the environment, that I'd never thought about so far!


Did you catch that number?
99 tonnes of CO2 a year! That's what the survey tells me what my family's lifestyle is likely producing. And that means we are living as if we have got 2 planet Earths to support us. We are living as if we have 3.7 hectares of land absorbing enough CO2 to offset what my family is producing!


I'd say this is a wake up call! Are we aware what is the impact our actions are having on the earth... and what is it our children will be inheriting from us.... our mistakes or our conservation efforts?


Read up more
http://www.carbonfootprint.com/



Test yourself

http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/calculator/

http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/

http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

10 commented:

Angeline said...

wow! you've got a very informative site! Nice!

I make my own accessories too..*wink*

Jay said...

Hmm after reading your article, it really makes me think of MY impact to the environment....good blog, thanks :)

Center Parted said...

Hi Angeline, thanks for dropping by! Wow, accessorise with custom designed bling -- way cool!

Center Parted said...

Thanks for the support Jay. Yeah, we need to take better care of the environment -- it the only one we've got!

Bengbeng said...

aiyo, can live a day at a time pun kira bagus oledi lo in this present day and age. but to comtemplate on this posts contents..i guess most Malaysians are environment-friendly.

we learned it from our forefathers..not because we love our environment but because thrift has always been considered a virtue. little is wasted or thrown away unless necessary. most things r recycled in some way or other.

foongpc said...

Good information! Everyone should take note of this. Makes me more aware now. Hope one day we have environment friendly cars!

sting said...

Gosh, you are such environmentally friendly and you get such points?! will need to test for us.. *runs off to test*

Center Parted said...

Hi BengBeng, thanks for dropping in.

There are many malaysians who are environmentally conscious. But a lot more who aren't.

How many among us dare say we've done enough for our environment?

I for one would not dare to make that claim. There's just so much more to do!

We live in a country where smokers (as an example) think its their birth-right to fling cigarette butts out of their car ANYTIME, ANYWHERE.

And yes you are right... many of us have been reduced to a 'kira bagus loh' attitude in life...

But, hey, isn't it time we said enough is enough and stop settling for mediocrity??

Center Parted said...

Thanks Foong!!

Center Parted said...

Hi Sting, hope to hear from you on how you did in the test.

At the very least, it helps us become more aware of our choices... and hopefully be the start to change the way we live. Cheers!