Earth Hour took place last weekend, a time where the whole world unite and come together to help earth be a better place. Earth Hour; to some may be only an hour event that occurs annually but to many people out there it means so much more than an hour of switching our lights off.
I first learned about sustainability and the importance of recycling when I was in university. Before that, I’ve never really given much thought about it. Of course there were activities in schools and we were taught about recycling but it was only in university that I saw the bigger picture of how important it is to live a green lifestyle, if not fully at least to adopt where possible. Perhaps it’s because when I was growing up, all the hype around me isn’t ethical consumption that I became ignorant to conserving the environment. It was to a point that I did not even realize the impact of my daily consumption towards the environment. It’s the little things I do like throwing the plastic bottles in rubbish bins instead of recycling, using plastic based items that’s easily disposable and many more. If I skim through my daily lifestyle from A to Z, I could list a whole bunch of how un-environmental friendly my routine was, probably still is but less now than I am more aware of the issue but it just shows how normalized it has become until we don’t notice that we are bringing harm to the environment by consuming harmful products. I don’t know if it’s because of modernization and new technologies, demanding things to be produced cheap, durable, easily disposable, fast among other criteria but it has led us to live a life that abuse the resources provided by earth and instead destroying them in the long run.
Having said all this, to celebrate Earth Hour this year I told myself that I would pledge to try to live a greener lifestyle. I want to start small, probably by reducing my daily consumption of unethical products that brings harm to nature like contributing less to the usage of plastic straws by bringing my own, although I know it’s not that easy to bring your own straw everywhere you go, reduce water consumption and air condition at home, walk and use public transport more instead of driving and most importantly to be more mindful of what I consume. I know sometimes it may not be easy to change because the surroundings may not be suitable with your new aims. For example, you may want to stop using plastic straws but naturally every shop here in Malaysia serve drinks with straw. You may want to use public transport or walk more but the weather isn’t really friendly here and not all places has access to public transportation. On top of that, there’s security to think about too. Nobody said changing lifestyle is easy. It’s because our lifestyle is influenced by our surrounding. Unless everyone change towards a greener lifestyle, there’s always going to be barriers around you, challenges you need to face and try to overcome.
Do not take that negatively though, instead consider it as a challenge so you can improve and innovate along the way. I cannot really remember who said it to me when I was younger but I remember clearly the person told me if he would choose where to live, he would choose to stay in a place where the economy of the country is volatile. Why? Because that’s where all the problems are and that’s also where you’ll learn the most in the corporate world. When you come out of all those challenges, you’ll be rich with experience and knowledge.
Same applies to this issue, there are many problems to tackle but this is also the opportunity for us to change what we can that is within our control. Starting with yourself may seem too little of a change but once you start, slowly it’ll impact your surrounding and when more people switch lifestyle, it automatically shifts the market towards a greener market for consumers and that, that is the power each and everyone of us in this world holds.
I may fail or I may be able to meet my personal sustainable goals but what’s more significant here is that, I’m willing to give it a try and start changing.
And that is what Earth Hour meant to me this year. It was an hour, but one hour is enough to remind me of what’s truly important in order for us to continue living comfortably in this world.
I hope Earth Hour means something to you too.