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Posts Tagged ‘earth

At about this time every year, we might get reminded about Earth Hour. We are encouraged to switch off our lights for an hour at 8.30pm this evening.

But the Hour means nothing if we do not do something like this every day. Last year I reflected on what I do in the office.

Other than marking the Hour at home, we also take measures to reduce the amount of electricity, gas, and water we consume. We take some pride that our monthly utility bill shows us that we consume about a third of what others consume.

It can start with scolding someone who leaves a light on when it is not needed. It can end with installing systems that stem the flow of energy-sipping devices.

We have replaced our oft-used energy-saving lights with LED bulbs. At the moment just two LED bulbs cost about as much as we spend each month on basic utilities (S$100). But these LED bulbs last even longer and pay off in the long run.

We also installed two devices that automatically shut off energy-sipping devices. Again, two of these gadgets cost as much a month’s utility bill, but we gain in the long term.

I bought these items from Greenbox at Star Vista mall. It stocks some nifty everyday products made from recycled material too. But you have to be prepared to pay a small premium for most of the things.

In one of my visits, a salesperson remarked that the high cost of the items was something you could bring up when you entertained visitors at home.

I thought to myself: How Singaporean. Buying these products is not about showing off. It is not even the cool thing to do. It is the right thing to do.

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Web 2.0 was used to good effect during the 2004 tsunami and the 2008 US Presidential election. But I think that its use has stepped up a level with the tragic Mumbai attacks.

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Wired gave an outline of how tweets, blogs, Flickr, Google Maps, and YouTube were harnessed by tech-savvy Indians to let everyone know what was happening. Yahoo! has longer reports [1] [2] on how they are doing this.

Not only is this a very good example of how citizen journalism might work, the Yahoo! articles also highlight how the Web 2.0 users are self-policing and raising awareness. At least one blogger urged tweeters to do so responsibly. One blog urged people to donate blood. Bloggers and tweeters passed on information online when the phonelines got clogged.

It’s social activism and an example of the ground-up nature of Web 2.0 at its best!


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