Sunday, March 28, 2010
One Earth. One Chance.
Song of the Glob: "Union" by The Black Eyed Peas.
There's something I never did manage to understand about certain people. Why do some leave the lights on when they're not even there? When I was little, my parents would constantly remind us (my brother and me) to turn off the lights when we left a room. Ever since then, we don't forget to. Not all people, however, were brought up with this kind of attitude. It's a rather simple "don't waste" attitude and my family applies it to many things in our lives. We try our best not to waste electricity, food, water, heat, and so on. In being conscious of our consumption, we not only help the environment but we also help reduce the amount we have to pay on bills. You can't go wrong with saving money.
I remember going to a friend's house a long time ago, and she was NOT brought up with the "don't waste" attitude. She didn't need it, of course. She didn't need to save money because she and her family had plenty. What would be the point? The point would be to help the environment, and even though she may not have felt like saving money was important, you can never go wrong with it. Saving money = having more money, and who doesn't want that? This friend of mine hardly ever, almost never, remembered to turn off the light when she left a room. She would also sleep with the TV on. I suppose it might have helped her sleep, but there had to have been a more eco-friendly solution. I remember walking around her house and turning off the lights wherever I found one on in an empty room. If I walked down the hall past the bathroom and the light was on, it would take me all of one second to lean in and flick the switch, and I would every time.
One second of your time may be worth too much to spare, and the effort it would take to raise your arm up to reach and flick/push the switch would likely be overwhelming. Even so, if you did take the time and you did make the effort, would not the impact humans have on the earth then be slightly less catastrophic?
You may think that throwing your gum wrapper or empty bag of chips away on the street instead of in a garbage can is such a tiny thing that it doesn't have a great impact at all. You may also think it is too annoying to carry your trash for a few blocks before you find a garbage can. Of course, you probably won't want to put your trash in your pocket until you find a garbage can either, so what harm is there in tossing your trash on the street? After all, you don't do it ALL the time. Well, neither does that guy. Or that woman. Or THAT woman. Or that man. Or that girl. Or that boy. Or her. Or him!
That's interesting. If multiple people feel the same way and do the same thing (that is, litter), then the amount of litter in the world accumulates. If nobody puts their trash in the garbage, then the world is being severely polluted. It all adds up. You keep adding pennies, pretty soon you'll end up with a dollar. You might think that all you're doing is throwing away a penny's worth. In reality, you're adding your pennies to the huge pile of dollars, or pollution, that we have created.
This applies to electricity as well. In the following analogy, dollars are good. Turning off a light in a room in your house in your neighbourhood in your town/city in your region in your country in your continent, is still one light-on-for-no-reason fewer in the world. It may be but a seemingly worthless penny, but the more pennies you add, the more dollars will be made.
It always confused and bothered me when I saw an office building or a car dealership with lights on after hours. These are dollars in themselves that could be saved but are not, on a daily basis. Although they cannot be bothered to turn off their lights at night, why don't we? Why don't we teach children to save energy too? I'm not asking anybody to grow their hair long, forget to shave, and go vegan. I'm asking for people to contribute to saving energy, even if they don't "believe" in Global Climate Change. (Whether it's something you can "believe in" is another story.)
Even if there is no risk of GCC, even if we're going to be able to happily, blissfully and ignorantly use up the Earth's natural resources, would it hurt to turn off the lights in an unoccupied room every day? Would it hurt the environment to participate in Earth Hour? Regardless of the devastating amount of pollution we have little to no control over (the pollution produced by certain factories, companies, etc.), is doing nothing better than doing something? No. When is it ever?
But Earth Hour is at such an inconvenient time!
That's partly the point. 8:30-9:30 is the peak time for electricity usage. Any earlier and it would disrupt dinners and working people, and the fact that there would still be daylight would deplete the need for turning on lights. What time do you watch TV, usually? What time do you use your computer at home the most? Any later and most people would be sleeping, and therefore NOT using electricity. The point is to reduce electricity usage when it is being used most so the impact of Earth Hour is that much more beneficial.
My mom brought up an interesting point today. She said she thinks Earth Hour should happen more often, several times a year. And why not? It could become a routine thing, a habit, that more people could become better aware of and accustomed to. This way, if you missed one Earth Hour, you'll have another chance to participate next time. In doing so, think of the number of pennies and dollars that turning off lights would add up to.
There will always be people who will think like the man in the comic above. That will not stop others from trying to make a difference. Sometimes it seems like the difference is too small to bother, but that isn't true. The tiniest drop in the bucket is still a drop in the bucket. All you need is a few more to see some change.
I believe it's our responsibility as human beings to help preserve the earth, to take care of the earth, to give back to the earth, because it's the right thing to do. We take and we take and we take but we give nothing back. Instead we dig and we pollute, we destroy and we take over. We're like a parasite, sucking the life out of the planet until there is nothing but a useless carcass left to rot. This is not fair, and it's my responsibility to do everything I can to help. I'm not a superhero, I'm not going to change the entire world because I turn off the water while I brush my teeth or unplug the toaster when it's not being used, but I do help when I get the chance. I help. That's all. It doesn't take much time and it doesn't take much effort. There is nothing stopping us from helping even the slightest bit. It is our responsibility to. It's our earth. There's only one. If we fuck up on this planet, where will go? We won't get a second chance.
We have one chance to do some good and this is it. This is it.
Now go watch Wall-E.