By: Shazia Yousuf
April 22, 2012 will be the 42nd anniversary of the Earth Day. Last year’s theme was “A Billion Acts of Green” and the goal was to generate a billion acts of environmental service and advocacy before the global Earth Summit 2012 in Rio.
This year, more than one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day 2012 and help Mobilize the Earth™. People of all nationalities and backgrounds will voice their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection and contribute towards "A Billion Acts of Green".
We may contribute to a greener earth, by doing at least one act of conservation in order to make those “billion acts of green” possible.
Recycle. We may start by recycling things right from our home. We could encourage our kids to reuse old cans, tins and card board boxes to make useful things for home, like jewelry box out of old cardboard boxes and bookmarks out of wedding cards. We may reuse jam jars and ice cream tubs to storage box for cookies and other food stuff.
Go Paper less. Try to use as less paper as possible. Share documents through email or keep them in a repository that is easily accessible to the relevant people.
Use Green Materials. Some paper use can't be avoided, so use recycled paper and envelopes that have been processed and colored using eco-friendly methods. Pens and pencils can also be made of recycled materials, and refillable pens and markers are preferable to disposable ones.
Avoid Printing. But if very necessary, use recyclable printer cartridges, since recycled replacements are cheaper than new ones.
Make efficient use of electricity. Keeping in mind the power crisis that we are faced with, we should try using compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent ones. LED lamps are also gaining popularity since they use lesser amounts of energy.
Avoid Hidden Power Usage. Many appliances have "standby" settings that draw power, sometimes as much as 15 or 20 watts, even when they're turned off. To make sure that computers, monitors, printers, photocopy machines, televisions, VCRs, DVD players, and microwave ovens are totally off, pull the plug rather than flipping the switch on the machine.
Day lighting. By far, the best and a totally free source of light is the sun, which gives off free, full-spectrum light all day. Make the most of daylight by keeping your blinds and curtains open when light is required during day. Sunlight not only lights up the room, but morning sun rays are also supposed to be anti bacterial.
Develop Good habits. As efficient as your lighting equipment might be, it doesn't make sense to have lights and fans on when no one's around. Turn out lights and fans in rooms or parts of the house where no one is. Teach your family and friends about it too and it will become second nature. This will save you bucks from your electricity bills too!
While using air conditioners, set the temperature to 26 degrees or higher and make use of timer to turn the air conditioning off after a certain duration for lesser consumption of electricity.
Rid Toxic Indoor Air. It is not uncommon for interior air to be more contaminated with toxic chemicals than the air outdoors. Wooden furniture, carpeting, and paint are common sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a family of chemicals that pollute the indoor environment. VOCs have been linked to birth defects, endocrine disruption, and cancer.
Absorbent fabrics also trap dust, mites and other allergens and our modern, mostly airtight homes keep them trapped inside. Keeping home well ventilated and maintaining proper levels of humidity by opening windows or using exhaust fans when cooking or showering helps in avoiding home air toxication. Use of furniture that is easier to clean is also necessary.
These are some of the ways in which we can contribute towards “Going Green” and achieving the set target of “A Billion Acts of Green”.