Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Moving on with making a difference to the world...

Before I get into the details of tips on saving water/ electricity etc, I want to take a moment and point out how utterly jinxed my existence is sometimes. Only the last post started with "No one's sick around here" and here I am on sick leave from work with red eyes, a bad headache and some chills. Am I not being thankful enough for good things that come to me or should I just stop talking about them in public? I'm not sure.

So moving right on. Things one can do in their daily lives to save water and electricity so this generation doesn't have to worry about whether or not to have children, given resources in the world are being depleted at an alarming rate. (Tell me i'm not the only one who keeps debating this in my head?)

- For those of you who use the aircon as you sleep: Here's some terrific tips on using an air conditioner wisely. You don't have to be a saint and give up sleeping in cooled environs, you can be smart, though. The one I particularly identify with is about keeping the room well sealed when the aircon's working. Ensuring all doors and windows in the cooled room are closed most times, esp through the heavy duty night hours, can bring down your monthly electricity bill by at least 10%.
In a time when cost of essentials like food are going up, this is a chance at savings that you simply cannot ignore!

- While cooking whether on conventional gas or in a microwave: Here's some tips on how to get most fuel efficiency while cooking. I particularly like the tip on keeping the burner of your gas clean so most heat is absorbed by the cooking vessel vs. the accumulated residue on your burner and the defrosting of frozen food before putting it on the gas. Very relevant to Indian households and cooking methods (which is most visitors on this blog).

- For those who drive: Here's tips on fuel efficient driving. I have a friend who carefully notes down the mileage he gets on every run and once informed me (with the wise, all knowing look, of course) that the only reason he doesn't drive at impressive speeds is cause it compromises mileage and hence fuel efficiency. Made me check out more details on google. And it's all true. It may not be as exciting to drive anymore, but it'll ensure the earth lasts somewhat longer if we can all do this. :-)

- Saving water: Btw, do you know there's a water crisis imminent upon us all? And there's so so many things we can do, little shifts in our daily habits, that can save up to 25% of the water we use on a daily basis. Go on, read about them here. And apply them.

- There's other random tips you can google more on such as ensuring you wash fewer bigger loads in the washing machine vs. multiple small loads, drying clothes physically vs. using a dryer (when you have the option, not all american households do, I get that), ensuring water heaters are left on for minimal time before you go for your shower and switched off right after, ensuring fridge doors are well sealed and aren't left open for too long.

That's mostly what I have for the day. Oh! I *must* allude to the earlier post on saving food in keeping with the spirit of this post :-)

Just to point out, none of the above cost you money, and are all easy to do. I know there's not too many original thoughts up there, and you could've googled those yourself. But how many of you have actually googled these before, huh? HUH?

Yeah, that's what.

Good night!


Albatross said...

All of the above is true, and very implementable at an individual level. And sure we can make a difference.

On a slightly larger scale, though, things get tougher. I've done a lot of work on CERs & Carbon Credits; getting companies to work on this. Simply put, the system pays companies that are doing ecologically friendly stuff. The googlers can google more.

The issue though, is that for small firms to make this work, they need to be 'certified' by certain authorities, and the certification process is sometimes as expensive as the firm's turnover. Hence, the idea gets turned over.

At one end of the spectrum, yes, it does make a huge difference that individuals can start, today, now.

At the other end, the big pollutants get away with everything, including murder (sad but true pun intended). Some big nice guys get rewarded.

Somewhere, closer to the individual side of the spectrum, small groups that want to make a difference cannot, for the big guys design the rules for themselves.

But a little progress is always better than none.

Unpred: get well soon.


Prasad said...

Covering the pans during cooking (yeah, those rare occasions) is one technique I use -- it drastically reduces cooking time.

I feel carpooling is the second-best tip on fuel-efficient driving. Sadly, "timings don't match" is a convenient excuse people use to not carpool.
The best tip on fuel-eff driving is, of course, to bicycle. :-)

Using eco-friendly bags in place of plastic is another cost-less idea.

unpredictable said...

Albatross: Thanks. Btw, I know you meant to point out seeming larger forces that are anti- earth, but the intent of the post was pointing out individual efforts and there's very little corporations can do to prevent us from doing those. Hence.

Prasad: Yeah, in the US they have a special lane even, for carpools! What an amazing idea! You and your passion for bicycles! is all I can say. :)

Prasad said...

Check out this:

and this:

And the latest:

Paris seems one step ahead of everyone else (or at least just one step behind The Netherlands.).

Penguin said...

Totally agree with Prasad! I usually have a medium-sized cloth bag (given by some bookseller in HK to carry my substantial purchases) in my handbag which I can whip out to buy my groceries in. And on the occasions when I'm carrying my backpack, all the stuff goes in it - it's much easier to carry as well (I don't really care too much for well-toned forearms, you see!)

I remember, when we were in Amsterdam and just starting off work, the grocery stores there said they would charge us for carrybags. Pretty soon, all of us started lugging the Albert Heijn bag we bought that first time everywhere - Sweet memories!

Another simple way of cutting down waste (apologies for the thesis-like comment, but...) is using rags to clean kitchen-tops and stoves, instead of paper towels. Yes, I know paper towels are easier to use, but rinsing the rags/kitchen towel builds muscle, I say!!