Your Planet Needs You- But How Much Do You Care?

Posted on June 11, 2009 in unEarthed

Apurva Desai

The theme for World Environment Day (WED) 2009 is ‘Your Planet Needs You-UNite to Combat Climate Change‘. It reflects the urgency for nations to agree on a new deal at the crucial climate convention meeting in Copenhagen some 180 days later in the year, and links to overcome poverty and improve management of forests.

This is the theme for the World Environment Day, 2009. Is it, you might ask? We all, by now have managed to register, that 5 June is World Environment Day, but do we actually celebrate it? Celebrate not like Diwali, Christmas, Id or Holi.

Environment needs a life-long celebration. Do we actually go out and do our little bit for the bleeding environment around us?We humans are becoming so selfish, that we have stopped caring for anyone, except, ourselves. Well, let me remind us all, no environment means any of us.

Concentrating on the WED Issue — 2009, I feel it is a pretty sensitive, yet easy to follow issue. How many times do we just leave the lights, fans switched on, even when we’re not using that room? How many times have we just thrown the water down the drain, when we don’t want to drink it?
Why couldn’t we think of sharing that water with the plants? Why?
Why does it happen that when it’s the Earth Hour, we don’t feel like switching off the comforts of our lives, for just an HOUR? Why does the silly sitcom seem so important then? Even though loads of us preach about how to do this-how to do that, learn papier-mâché; read about the bamboo houses, why do we never implement it? Why do we always have a tailor-made formula for failing to do it?
Why not, just get out of your cozy blankets, and face the brazen world outside? Why not choose the harsh, challenging way?
Climate change does not mean, going out, and cleaning the air, literally. It can start from your home. Yes, look no further. Plants in pots, non-mercuric bulbs, all count!

Here I am, enumerating various ways by which you, as a citizen can combat climate change:

At Home:

-When using an oven, minimize door opening while it is in use; it reduces oven temperature by 25 to 30 every time you open the door.

-Unplug seldom used appliances.

-Learn about alternatives to household cleaning items that do not use hazardous chemicals.

-Wash clothes with warm or cold water instead of hot.

-Purchase appliances and office equipment with the Energy Star Label; old refrigerators, for example, use up to 50 more electricity than newer models.

-Plant trees to shade your home.

-Use compact fluorescent light bulbs to save money and energy.

-Turn down or shut off your water heater when you will be away for extended periods.

-Set your refrigerator temperature at 36 to 38 and your freezer at 0 to 5.

-Turn off unneeded lights even when leaving a room for a short time.

In Your Garden:

-Leave grass clippings on the yard-they decompose and return nutrients to the soil.

-Use only the required amount of fertilizer.

-Minimize pesticide use.

-Put leaves in a compost heap instead of burning them or throwing them away.

At Office:

-Copy and print on both sides of paper.

-Set up a bulletin board for memos instead of sending a copy to each employee.

-Use e-mail instead of paper correspondence.

-Use recycled paper

-Reuse items like envelopes, folders and paper clips.

-Car-Pooling- Saves everything!

-Use a ceramic coffee mug instead of a disposable cup.

Water Consumption:

-Check and fix any water leaks.

-Turn off washing machine’s water supply to prevent leaks.

-Turn off washing machine’s water supply to prevent leaks.

-Check your car for oil or other leaks, and recycle motor oil.

-Take your car to a car wash instead of washing it in the driveway.

-Use water in buckets, not the hose.

-Don’t wash dishes with the water running continuously.

Create Less of Trash:

-Revegetate or mulch disturbed soil as soon as possible.

-Avoid products with several layers of packaging when only one is sufficient. About 33 of what we throw away is packaging.

-Maintain and repair durable products instead of buying new ones. (That means no new mobiles every term.)

-Buy used furniture – there is a surplus of it, and it is much cheaper than new furniture.

-Reuse packaging cartons and shipping materials. Old newspapers make great packaging material.

-Buy rechargeable batteries for devices used frequently.

You will not believe me, when I say that even doing half of these things reduces your carbon footprint! Yes, it does. I hope, I have enlightened, and motivated you to do something about the ailing environment.
Mexico has already vowed to become a Climate Combating country. What are we waiting for?


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Squid Girl

Great list of suggestions to reduce one's impact on the environment. May I contribute a few more?

Recycle compact fluorescent lighting (CFL).
Recycle old unused electronics. Especially old analog television sets. Cathode ray tubes (CRT) can leak mercury if broken, which does happen when they are sent to the landfills.
Use timers on thermostats, lamps, and water heaters.
Change air filters and consider cleaning the ducts.
Switch to vegetable or soy based candles to reduce bad emissions being released into the home.
Use low VOC paints. The air quality in homes is worse than fresh air because of all the emissions coming from items such as paints, fabrics, carpets, mattresses. Furniture is often made using formaldehyde.
Install special attachments on shower heads and faucets to reduce flow without effecting water pressure.
Reduce time in showers and turn off water when soaping up or shampooing. Turn back on when rinsing.
Use bucket to capture water that goes down the drain when waiting to warm up water in the shower. Use that water for watering indoors or outdoor plants.
Turn off water when brushing teeth.
Return dry cleaning hangers. They can reuse them.
Keep car tires properly inflated.
Buy in bulk. Costs less and has less packaging.
Recycle packaging and other curbside recyclables.

Mulch to help keep moisture in and prevent it from evaporating.
Grow your own food to reduce the amount of fuel needed to transport produce thousands of miles from the source (usually South America or California) to your table. Not only is the food literally local and hopefully organic, more plants increases CO2 and helps local bees.
Pick up pet waste from the yard. Don’t allow it to seep into ground, which then makes its way into local water sources (rivers, lakes, ponds).

Use electronic or digital files when possible instead of hard copies.
Add statement to bottom of email signature to consider the environment before printing out files.
When printed marketing materials are needed (i.e. annual report, brochures), use a printer familiar with the FSC-certified paper stock, request recycled paper stock and use soy or vegetable-based ink.
Consider green options when purchasing office supplies.
Use washable plates and utensils if a dishwasher is available in the break room.
If using catering for in office lunch meetings, ask if the caterer can reduce their disposable packaging in the delivery.
Set up in office recycling bins for plastic bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard boxes, paper (copy, newspapers, magazines) and office electronics. (resources for donating or recycling electronics: Cristina Foundation, Office Depot, Staples, RadioShack, Call2Recycle).
Cancel unread magazine subscriptions and always recycle magazines after use.
When shipping materials, replace styrofoam packing peanuts or plastic bubble wrap with recyclable options such as water soluble packing peanuts, crumbled newspapers or craft paper. If you can’t reuse the peanuts or bubble wrap, take it back to packing companies like the UPS store so they can reuse.

Create less trash
Recycle rechargeable batteries found in laptops, cell phones, cordless phones, digital cameras, camcorders, power tools, two-way radios, electric toothbrushes, electric razors. Find drop off locations at

Youth Ki Awaaz

Hey Squid girl,

Great comment and an amazing list. I liked the points of garden and office in particular. Keep posting and welcome back in advance :)

Youth Ki Awaaz

Miss Sunshine

I am so glad you took it seriously. Why don't you write an article for us? It will be really helpful.


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