Soon, the world will be swallowed in darkness.
Thankfully, it is not the end of the world. In fact, this seemingly bleak picture could stretch the lifespan of our world if it ensues in the next years to come. Yes, it will, if we bear in mind Earth Hour.
First launched on March 31, 2007 in Australia, Earth Hour is a global event organized by World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature, and is held on the last Saturday of March annually, requesting households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.
Our participation as a third world country may be small but our efforts will always be big. In fact, our country is the top participant in last year’s event, with a record of 650 cities switching their lights off for 60 minutes, beating the country where it originated, an official from the WWF said for the Philippine Daily Inquirer (issue March 30, 2009).
“More than 15 million Filipinos in 650 major towns and cities from distant islands participated,” said WWF communications officer Gregg Yan in the same interview mentioned earlier.
Reports say that the electric grid figures in that year show that 386 Megawatt-hours were saved in Luzon, 150 Megawatt-hours in Mindanao, and 75 Megawatt-hours in Visayas for that blackout. Imagine the bulk of energy we have saved, and as a result, successfully reducing our power plants’ utilization from natural resources.
Even if the official Earth Hour is a couple of minutes away from now, here are some ways we can do every single day in the office to somehow start little by little an Earth Year:
1) Set The Thermostat Lower. The Philippines is a tropical country and “hot” will forever be an everyday feature, but keeping the office extraordinarily cold is not a good idea though. It hampers people from being awake and more productive, and they would go to the pantry to heat water for coffee or tea, heat another thing in the microwave for eating, thus, crunching more numbers in the bills.
2) Replace Old Bulbs. Change incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights or CFLs (example: the picture above). They are a bit pricier, but here’s the logical catch: a 14-watt CFL produces the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb.
3) Print Wisely. There’s what we call as Print Preview. Before printing any documents, check files in it for errors or corrections so that nothing would end up in waste, that is 1) the electric energy exploited by the whirring printer, and 2) the paper coming from cut-down trees in some balding mountain. Remember, Paper-Less Management?
4) Simply Unplug. Anything that’s connected to outlets eats up energy, off or not. This usually disregarded fact leads to “phantom energy use” which accounts for about 10 percent of an individual home’s electricity use. One layman tip: check all devices are unplugged before leaving the office.
5) Turn It Off. If “unplugging” is for long-term purposes, like leaving a computer unplugged for the holidays, there’s “turning off” for short-terms, like switching a computer off or powering it down when going out for lunch. It is as easy as a toddler’s A-B-C.
With these being said, there is no need to further expound why this special hour on the last Saturday of the month is our vote for our planet’s sustenance. Come March 27, 2010 at 8:30 to 9:30 in the evening, let’s switch off our lights and other electric devices, open the windows to welcome the wind, and see the stars shine in a different light.
[originally written for the company’s online newsletter so pardon all the references to work]