Sunday, March 27, 2011

We Long to Live in an Alter Space Universe...

As we have just celebrated Earth Hour 2011 once again, one cannot help but stop and take stock of the things around us - environment-wise, that is.  Like all others, our family also closed our lights for 60 minutes to commemorate this highly eco-friendly event. 

But after that, what next?  What happens after Earth Hour?  Are we just supposed to limit ourselves to only an hour once every year to think about what's good for Mother Earth?

Earth Hourphoto © 2008 Louise Docker | more info (via: Wylio)

For some, the 60 minute Earth Hour is a way to go with the "in" crowd.  Everyone's doing it, so why not I? 

Sadly after this, we go about with our daily lives, return to our ordinary routines and act as if nothing happened.  We continue to throw our trash everywhere.  We leave the lights on in empty rooms.  And so on and so forth.  If Mother Nature was one cruel judge, we'd all be given death sentences immediately to crimes against the earth.  =(

We cannot sit around and be passive anymore!  As Al Gore said, today is the period of consequences and oh boy!  Are we feeling them rightly!  Our landfills are filled to overflowing capacity, floods are so rampant and species are going extinct every minute.  If we aren't careful, our kids might not even know what a tree is!  Such a scary thought!
And which is why we celebrate Earth Hour.  For even a measly 60 minutes, we are reminded of how fragile our planet is and how simple changes can greatly alter our environmental realities.

Yes, celebrating Earth Hour is all well and good but isn't it better to go BEYOND THE REQUISITE HOUR?  To take the extra step to ensure that minimizing our carbon footprint becomes a habit and not just a hip, 60-minute thing to do?


We can all start small!  Here are just a few tips to make conserving our energy reserves so much easier and to keep Mother Nature happy beyond 60 minutes in a year:

1. Turn your refrigerator temperatures down.  Refrigerators account for 20% of electricity used in all households, hence ensuring that their temperatures are kept at a lower point, ensures that more energy is saved and minimizes the use of unnecessarily high electric levels

While you're at it, make sure that the gaskets around your ref doors are also clean and that it still seals the doors perfectly.


2. Replace some of your old appliances.  Sure, your 1970's-era refrigerator still has some moxy in it, but usually older appliances are energy wasters and emit more CO2 emissions than newer, more energy efficient models.  Plus, they look better, don't you agree?  =)

Note the missing buttons on our very old 1980s electric fan (left)?

3. Do not keep up with the Joneses.  Or in our case the dela Cruzes (Pinoy eh!).  Purchasing the biggest and the most expensive applicances in one's vain attempt to up your social standing with the neighbors just does not cut it anymore. 

Be practical and buy a model that fits your needs perfectly!  A regular-sized fan works just as well as an industrial strength one to cool your small sala.  Not only are you saving money, you're also keeping your electric costs down.

4. Clean or replace your aircon filters.  Oh sure, its a chore, but don't you know that air conditioners work harder to draw in air through dirty filters than with clean ones?  A clean AC filter ensures that units use 5% less energy which leads to less CO2 emissions (about a whooping 175 pounds worth) in a year!

Another upside, you get to give your old toothbrushes a new life by converting them as filter cleaners.  Just be sure not to use them on yourself again lest you want to start a blackened teeth trend.  =)

5. Buy energy-efficient compact flourescent bulbs.  Sure, they may cost more but these little light babies use only a quarter of an energy used by an ordinary incandescent one and they last 8 to 12 times longer!  Now if changing the bulb every few months or so is a chore for you, then this is definitely incentive enough, don't you think?

6. Use public transport as often as possible.  You've saved long enough for your dream car.  Of course, it is quite understandable that you may want to use it as frequently as you can, but sacrificing a few days of no-car use can not only be beneficial to the environment, but to you as well!

Bye-bye, car!  Hello, walk-a-thon!

Aside from the health benefits you get from the exercise (walk-a-thons anyone?), every gallon of gasoline you save avoids 22 pounds of CO2 emissions.  See!  Walking isn't all that bad.  =)

7. Reduce, reuse, recyle!  Try to buy items with less packaging as possible.  This ensures that less waste is used, hence lessens trash placed in our overflowing landfills and garbage dumps

Better yet, why not recycle your containers into something useful?  Be an eco-trepreneur and follow in the footsteps of some small entreps whose products made from recyclable materials are making big waves in the fashion industry.  Soda pop earnings anyone?  =)

8. Put your Green... thumb to good use.  Planting shade trees and lots of plants can help lower the temperatures outside your home, thereby, cooling the space around your abode.  Believe me, we are a family that can definitely attest to that.  We have an indian mango tree that is constantly being used as a car shade by one of the neighbors. 

My work area, completely shaded by our glorious indian mango tree.  =)

Not only that, we get to save a lot in purchasing indian mangoes!  And with a pregnant woman in the house, that definitely says a lot!  =)



If these tips don't keep you inspired to go BEYOND THE HOUR, well, then maybe this will! 

For those who are willing to go beyond the 60 minutes, my favorite nephew will give you the precious gift... of a smile

He is the next generation earth user, and his is the smile of gratitude in thanks for the help you have given him and all others his age to ensure that they will still continue to have safe air, water and a clean earth to live in.

Isn't that incentive enough?  =)

More tips can be found at the Alter Space FB page.  Incidentally, Alter Space is the 1st Filipino environmental awareness game on Facebook Join and learn more about saving the environment for the future generations by logging on to

Got more tips? Don't be stingy with the comments! Let yourselves be heard!

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