I'm always an admirer of good advertisement.
Someone bright once said 'an unexamined life is not worth living.'
For a majority of people, having reflection is probably just another dorky, nerdy, pathetic thing to do, and probably these are the same people that will go through life without being mindful of what they are doing.
Anyway, this is not an entry about them. It is an entry about Earth Hour and me.
No, I am not trying to be a major player in conservation, although I am usually pretty big on conversation.
This year, I spent my 27th of March being on call.
I pledged to at least switch off, at least my on call room's lights, which I did, as I was busy attending the Caesarean marathon in the operation theater.
I was rather delighted that day due to the fact that my anaest colleague was pretty open to the idea of it as well and did not disagree on switching half of the Operation Room's ambience as I brought a new life out to the cold harsh world. Well, he's the 'Earth Hour baby'.
The other non-essential lights of OT was switched off, too.
Nevertheless, she was slightly upset 'bout the long line-up of cases that day.
I could really imagine how much electrical wastage the hospy was going through by not switching off all those non-essential lights during normal hours, which I believe could really help save lots of money. By allowing breaks for those electrical and electronic appliances, it could probably prolong their usage, which is a good thing because some of those items are really pricey stuff.
It isn't an odd sight to have me raking up several Pfannenstiels and suturing them up, accompanied by the computerized double screen X-ray view of an open fracture which was completely irrelevant to my op. I wouldn't be surprised if those valuables suffer from a premature death anytime soon.
Anyway, the grand self-righteous piece by Chuah in The Star which set to criticize the rest of the malaysians without realizing his own stupidity and ignorance just made him the biggest Earth Hour Idiot of Malaysia. His effort of travelling up to the Ampang's Look Out point to 'celebrate' Earth Hour had helped gravely in increasing carbon emission.
Of course, not to mention, the millions of jahils out there who celebrated Earth Hour by lighting up candles in a massive way.
But, luckily, the wisdom of Ang Yen bowled me over. In her letter "The untold truth about Earth Hour":
Earth Hour is a global event organised by World Wildlife Fund and is held on the last Saturday of March annually. Households and businesses are requested 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.
However, by turning off the lights and electrical appliances for one hour does not contribute to the environment if Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) are not involved.
TNB purchases electricity from IPPs in Malaysia under certain agreements. It transmits and distributes electricity to almost all houses and premises in Malaysia.
To achieve uninterrupted electricity supply, TNB always produces more electricity than the usage by the public so that there will be no power failure due to insufficient supply. That unused electricity generated is known as electricity reserve margin.
Malaysia had a high reserve margin of 42% in the year 2009. This simply means that we are wasting 30% of produced electricity every second as the unused energy can’t be stored and will just be lost.
Nations like Japan have only single digit of electricity reserve margin. Why should Malaysia need 42%? I didn’t understand until I found out that it is mainly because of the contracts between TNB and the IPPs.
TNB has to purchase a certain amount of electricity at a contracted price, whether it uses the electricity or not. TNB has no choice since the contracts have already been signed. So our precious energy resource is wasted.
How much coal or petroleum is required to produce such a big amount of electricity, all of which ends up wasted?
Back to Earth Hour. We are asked to switch off our lights for one hour. The claim is that we can help to conserve the environment. Is this possible in Malaysia without the cooperation of TNB and the IPPs?
You might be switching off the lights and not using electricity, but the same amount of electricity is still being produced each and every second. The same amount of coal and petroleum is being burnt and the same amount of waste gases is being produced.
The only difference is that your electricity bill will be a little lower. But you have done nothing for the environment.
I am not against the protection of the environment and conservation of energy, but please do it in the right way. Why doesn’t the WWF talk this over with TNB and the IPPs and get them to participate in the project?
The objective is right, but the message the public is receiving is misleading. People believe they have done their part to conserve the environment by turning off the lights for one hour, but the truth is not that.
WWF should focus more on instilling the right positive attitude towards Mother Earth instead of making this event seem like entertainment, with people doing as asked merely because it is trendy.
- Celebrate Earth Hour by positive attitude towards Mother Earth.
- Get TNB & IPPs participation to achieve the real objective of Earth Hour.