20 simple ways to save the environment
Change your thoughts and change the worldBy Natural Resources and Environment Board Sarawak, a partner of Youth Green X-Change 2014
Time flies so fast! There are only six years left to achieve Vision 2020, in which Malaysia endeavour to be a developed nation by the year 2020 in all dimensions: economically, politically, spiritually, physiologically and culturally.
In 1991, the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia who conceptualized Vision 2020 Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad explained in his working paper addressing Malaysia’s commitment towards sustainable development, that, in achieving Vision 2020, “We must also ensure that our valuable resources are not wasted. Our land must remain productive and fertile, our water unpolluted, our forest resources capable of regeneration and able to yield needs of our national development. The beauty of our land should not be desecrated; for its own sake and for our own economic advancement.”
While various initiatives, activities and programmes are held by the government to protect the environment, improve environmental quality, enhance environmental awareness and encourage environmental citizenship among us, what we can do at an individual level can also contribute to a better environment.
Taking ownership of our surrounding environment and self regulation is one of those ways. To save the environment, one does not need to be instructed by the law, it should be habitual. It also does not need to be a big rehabilitation action or project, it could be as simple as changing our thoughts and action, improving our daily habits towards environmentally- friendly lifestyles, and avoiding wastage in our daily consumption.
Make a change today. Our little effort to protect and conserve natural resources can yield big results for Mother Nature.
Here are 20 ways to save the environment starting from today, be it at home, school, work or play.
1. When cooking, use proper-sized pots to cook food. Cover the pot while cooking. You will be able to reduce energy consumed.
2. Use runoff water from the washing machine to wash the toilet or bathroom floor. You can easily reduce water consumption by 50% per wash.
3. Install a dual flush toilet system in your toilet. You may reduce water consumption by 50% for a family.
4. Take showers instead of baths. Showers use less energy and save water.
5. Run the washing machine only when the load is full. It saves energy and water used.
6. Don’t leave the water running when you aren’t using it. For example, wash your vegetables in a basin of water rather than under a running tap. It saves 15 times water consumed compared to washing under a running tap.
7. Segregate your kitchen waste into organic waste, recyclables and non- recyclable waste. Use the organic waste for compost. Segregation of organic waste from dry waste reduces garbage odour.
8. Connect outdoor lights to a timer to prevent energy waste.
9. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). CFL bulbs saves up to 60% energy compared to incandescent ones.
10. Dry your clothes under sunlight instead of a dryer. It saves energy and is better for your clothes.
11. Use towels or handkerchiefs instead of tissue paper. Cloth can be reused unlike tissue paper. This will help save the rainforests.
12. Plant trees. Trees clean our air; absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. This is a great way to compensate the pollution of our environment besides beautifying our compound, providing shade and reducing surrounding air temperature.
13. Use solar powered calculators instead of battery operated ones.
14. Bring your own water and food container. It avoids the generation of pet bottles and polystyrene packaging which are hazardous to health and environment.
15. Switch off lights and electrical appliances when not in use. It saves electricity and money.
16. Photocopy on both sides of a paper. It reduces the number of trees cut down for making paper.
17. Buy more locally produced products. It saves fuel by reducing unnecessary transportation and reduces carbon footprint.
18. Prepare a shopping list to avoid unnecessary purchases. This will help reduce waste and over-production, which will save natural resources and habitats. It also helps you save money.
19. Reduce unnecessary packaging, and shop with a canvas bag instead of paper and plastic bags. This will reduce the amount of trash that is polluting our environment. Plastic bags take very long to biodegrade and shorten the lifespan of landfills.
20. Use more environmentally –friendly modes of transportation. Not so green: Airplanes, cars. Greener: Train, bus, car pooling (car sharing). Greenest: bicycle, roller blades, walk. It avoids air pollution and is great for health.
The Youth Green X-Change (YGXC) outreach programme was launched in April 2014. A Youth Seminar followed by an environmental-based photography, short film, essay and feature writing competition has been completed. A final event for the year, the YGXC Camp will be held in Kuching from Dec 10 to 12, 2014.