*Disclaimer: This post contains no picture, but a message that is dear to my heart. I write this because I am so disappointed at people’s attitude toward conservation and also concern on the recent artic ice melt. Read on, and I hope you and I will be on the same boat in giving our children, a better future*
Photography by Jonathan Hayward
Sometimes I wonder why people refuse to recycle or is feeling indifferent about saving the planet. It angers me sometimes. Especially when a PhD holder would tell me that by the time the catastrophe happens, I would have been died, or when a Christian (or other religious view in this matter) would say that these are all planned anyway, the end of the world.
I’m a believer in Jesus’s second coming. And I believe that He will come in the most dramatic way, if I am still alive to see the day, I know it would have been those disastrous kind, just like what it is said in Revelation. HOWEVER, at the same time, I also believe that somewhere in between, it is our responsibility to keep our planet liveable for our future generations. It is not easy, and the most difficult thing is to convince others on its importance.
The earth was a gift to manhood. But it still doesn’t belong to us. As a responsible steward it is our duty to take a good care of it. (Just like how we must take a good care of our family, our body, our children)
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” (Psalm 24:1-2)
Some people come to me, telling me that no matter what you do it won’t matter because it’s such a small step. After all, I’m just a middle class citizen with no voice to change the world. Remember the girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes? What happen now? The world was silenced. But it continue to wither. People often would tell me, it’s the world leader that need to make the change, it’s the rich, they are the number one consumers, those that contribute the most to carbon emission. Which is again, true, and that’s why I am most annoyed at those ignorant rich people who are just so selfish!
Will the earth come to an end? Looking at how it is dying right now, I can confidently say yes. Is there a turning back ? I’m not sure. I’m not an expert. Would it still be possible for my grandchildren if I have any to see the polar bear, other than in picture? I’m also not quite sure. But whether or not we can do some thing to make a difference? This I am sure. But this takes a lot of willpower and patience as people around us might or might not be so supportive on what we are doing. So here are a few things that we’ve been doing as a family. I hope it will inspire you to do the same.
At home, we:
1. Recycle water, we only mop the floor/ wash the toilet using the rinse water from our laundry (most of the time, we hand wash everything, except for big items like bedsheet)
2. We don’t own a dryer, thus we use nature’s best dryer, the sun. If you live in a four season country, I understand that you might need to use the dryer during winter time. But if you live in the tropic, especially in Singapore. Please don’t. Dryer takes up a lot of electricity thus higher carbon emission.
3. We use energy efficient bulbs all over the house and only turn on lights when necessary. For example, if we are in the bedroom, then the living room will be dark. I use to hate the idea of having a dark living room, but I’m used to it now.
4. We only turn on AC when it is absolutely necessary at night. This year, we’ve been good, our electricity bill have been about $150 on average. If we need to use the AC, we will keep the temperature between 24-25 degree.
5. We limit our time in the shower. Showering is one of my favorite thing to do after work and it is so easy to stay under the hot shower for a longer time, but I kept mine to minimum, and I turned off the water while I am soaping. Similarly when I wash my hands/ brush my teeth. We don’t keep the water running. My water is also not steaming hot. Similarly, I have no water heating thermos at home. We don’t keep hot water as it takes a lot of energy. If we do, we use thermos that keeps the water warm for some period of times.
6. My kids loves to draw, so naturally they “wasted” a lot of paper. At this age, they could care less where the paper is coming from. So rather than buying a new drawing book, I bring home recycle paper from work with empty sides so they can draw on it.
7. I try to always bring my own bag when I go for grocery shopping and refrain from using plastic bag for as long as I can. Occasionally I still need the supermarket plastic bag as we are using it for our trash bag. But I always consciously trying to reduce my usage of plastic bag.
8. We recycle everything that can be recycled. And dispose them properly to the recycle bin. And yes it annoys me to the max when I see people throw non recycled items there!
9. As much as I can, we always include the importance of conservation in our daily conversation with the kids and our helper. They might be too young to understand, but I see that the older one now have shown more respect toward the planet.
10. I love shopping. But I know that it is also part of carbon emission. So I stop. Not completely stop shopping, because every so often I need new stuff. But I’ve been suppressing my desire by asking myself if I truly need the item. Be it clothes, toys, household items, or others. (I resist the temptation of buying from a major sale lately). I also unsubscribed most of my shopping mailing list, which means I no longer have access to the latest sale or online deals. Have I been successful? Sort of, I’m getting there. Not buying things means I’ve lesser things and contributed less to the mass consumerism which is also a big factor in climate change.
11. As for driving, I’m still driving to work instead of taking the MRT. Which is where I probably fail in terms of my CO2 emission. I need to see my children as soon as I can because my husband usually come home later than me. Driving help me to cut about 40 minutes of travelling time. So what I would do is to ask my colleagues if I can give them a ride if I happen to pass by the route. The most common route is the ride to the MRT. By the way, I finally found someone who live about 8 minutes away from me, and from now on, we are going to carpool!
12. Eating beef is also one of the major contribution to global warming as to raise cattle farmers need to clear land and thus lesser tree. So we barely eat beef, sometimes we eat pork, and chicken. When we do, we buy those that is either produced locally or from nearby country like Malaysia, or Indonesia.
13. In sourcing our fresh groceries, we try our best to buy those that are locally produced. We don’t always go organic as it is too expensive, but as much as I can, I made effort to know where is the food source and to make responsible decision on what we eat.
At work, I:
1. I would be that one lady who always turns off the light. Our office longue is blessed with plenty sunshine during the day, and somehow the lights are always turned on, so I am always the one who turn it off. Also turn off that damn projector when you are not using it! Why kept it on the whole time, they only have 100 hours life span. Save their life but only using them necessarily.
2. Similarly, I turned off the nespresso machine when it is not in use.
3. I tried my best to eat at the canteen to avoid buying food in plastic containers and disposables utensil. But these days I usually brought my own container if I have to pack my food from the canteen.
4. I learn best and do best when I have hard copy and paper. But I also know I can be wasting a lot of these. I feel really guilty each time I need to print something. So I will try my best not to print. And if I do, I make sure that it is printed double sided, if possible two pages in one. I bring home papers with empty sides so I can give them to my children, or to play charade with them.
5. I bring my own bottle water so I can always fill them in without buying a new one. I made my own coffee, but if I crave on something from the cafe, I would bring my own cup. Similarly, I make the effort to recycle. Washing my plastic containers and throwing them to the right bin. Which then again bring me to the next point, is that so difficult to choose the right bin? Really, these things that I am doing is simple. Inconvenient, yet simple.
6. I nag (yes I do get tired when people shrug) constantly so that my friends will at least contribute to conservation. I work with a bunch of ignorant people. They are great but so ignorant when it comes to these kind of things.
7. I usually don’t nag about this to my students, but I guess I will start to do so. Yes, they are those generation who often seems like they don’t care. But you never know what will your nagging do to them, right?
I’m sure you know what will happen if we don’t take control of all these right? To say that all the dreadful effect will only happen within a century is a complete denial. We’ve seen in the news on daily basis on extreme weather. This my friend, will only get worst.
Some said, that living in Singapore means that we are free from all natural disaster. So we need not worry. Well, that’s the most naive thought I’ve heard. Singapore is a country that is heavily reliant of export, especially on food. If people from our “food source” are experiencing drought, what do you think we would be like? We won’t have food too! Not to mention, extreme weather, new bout of flu, sickness, hunger. Ever heard of the word “got money also no use?” well that’s probably what would happen.
I’m not trying to be a pessimistic blogger. I am just concern. Really concern. For the future of my two children. For your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Yes, they might be the most annoying being. But don’t you care for them? The least you can do is start conserving, out of love, for a their better future.