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Help Save the Earth, How do we as consumers adapt?

28 December, 2007

Dear Editor, MALAYSIA has developed rapidly over the years. However, consumer behavior towards the environment is distressing.

We have the right to live in a safe environment. But are we looking into it seriously? Who is responsible for providing a safe environment for us?

Consumers need to practice sustainable consumption to protect the environment.

Sustainable consumption is the use of services and products for basic needs while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials, as well as cutting down the emission of waste and pollutants.

Products and services pose a threat to the environment.

Changing our consumption pattern will help preserve our environment.

If we choose to stop using plastics now, our concerns about landfills are over.

But it is not a viable option as there are no viable substitutes available.
The government has a role to play in the proper enforcement of the law, educating the masses, and creating awareness among industries and consumers.

Industries can implement pro cedures and guidelines to ensure eco-friendly products are made or services provided.

Consumers will benefit from the efforts of the government and industry.
Environmental issues are a very important challenge.

How do we as consumers adapt?

We can do the following to save the Earth:

Take your own bags when shopping to carry home grocer ies. Plastic bags are not eco-friendly and are non-biode gradable.

Cycle or walk for short trips. It is eco-friendly and keeps you fit.

Turn off televisions, stereos and computers when not in use. Frequent use of power contributes to global warming.

Prepare and bring home-cooked meals to work or school. It’s healthier and more economical than eating outside.

Collect unused paper products at home and take them to recycling centres. Recycling wood products can save millions of trees a year.

Stop using chemical pesticides. Planting mint and basil can help keep pests away.

Replace lights with compact energy saving fluorescent lamps. They last four times longer then a normal light bulb.

Decide on what you need before opening the fridge. Re peated opening wastes electricity and adds to your power bill.

Avoid using polystyrene. It’s non-biodegradable and depletes the ozone layer.

Volunteer for a green project in your local community. Start or join a community environment programme to preserve the environment in your neighbourhood.

Share advice and tips on sus tainable consumption with your family and friends.

Cool your house the smart way. Use white window shades, drapes or blinds to keep the heat away. Air conditioners contribute to global warming.

Buy locally grown food. Not only will you be saving money, you are also supporting the livelihood of local farmers.

Help reduce the world’s waste — don’t use disposable products like paper plates and napkins, plastic utensils and cups.

Saving water means saving electricity because one of the biggest users of electricity is supplying water and cleaning up sewage.

Use organic compost to im prove soil health.

We have only one Earth. We need to treasure it for future generations. Changing habits may be difficult, but we have to think of the future of our chil dren.

Piarapakaran Subramaniam
Fomca programme manager