Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Belated Earth Day!

No, I didn't miss Earth Day. In fact, I posted the revival post on Earth Day with the intent to write a later post but I got lazy (certainly a theme with me).

We got some recycling bins in our office this week and, on Earth Day, my boss asked me to write a memo to go out to the office so that they know what the bins were for. I don't think she realized it was Earth Day, I didn't but I was looking for some clip art to add to the memo (her request) and searched Earth Day for inspiration and there it was serendipitiously.

The clip art I eventually picked was something off the theme of "Make Everyday Earth Day" and I'm happy to say that I feel like I am doing something towards that cause. Since I was little, my parents taught me things like save water and electricity. Not that the environment ever entered into the equation, frugality was the topic in question, but as I grew up and got educated on sustainable living, I realized that I was already doing most of these green activities and it motivated me to pursue it more.

And, really, that's the reason why a lot of big companies invest in greener policies. Not only do they save money in the long run (only the short term set up costs are restrictive), but they get to market themselves as eco-friendly, which helps to attract similar minded customers.

Recently, six months ago in fact, I got my first car (that is, one that is solely for my personal use and enjoyment). Despite being male and asian, I really didn't know much about cars and didn't have a "dream car" vision, except for the impossible to get Vision SLR and Aquada. I was following various blogs from the Gawker network and one of them had an article about the top 5 cars with best mileage.

At that time, gas was really expensive and I really didn't want to bother with filling up all the time. Plus, my parents were offering to cover a good part of the car tag price, which really gave me leg room to look around. Naturally, topping the top 5 list were hybrid cars, including the Prius and the soon-to-re-released Insight.

My conditioned urge to save money and motivation towards reducing my carbon footprint essentially made the Prius the only car for me. I had a bit of a disliking towards Honda cars at that time, driving my family's Accord around, as I found the body of the vehicle large in the rear area and very unwieldy. So I went out and hunted myself down a Prius.

The Prius has a 45L tank, which is really quite small, comparable to a smaller class vehicle. This means, that to fill a tank, it will only cost me 25-35 bucks. Yet, this tank can last me 1.5-2 weeks and I'll be driving to work in Ladner every day, Kickboxing in Burnaby three times a week, and out on dates at least 3 other times a week.

What's really great about the Prius is the in-dash display that tells you what your current km/100L rate is. Watching this real time meter, though dangerous, really helps to show you where and when you spend the most gas and, through some personal discipline and trail and error, you can use the meter as a guide to improve your driving so that you can go further with less gas.

I took an entrepreneurship class when I was still in SFU. Our prof talked about one of his previous groups that went on to start their own business, designing, producing, marketing and selling a device that can monitor how much power you're spending at home and link the information to a handy gadget that connects to an outlet on your wall or detaches and can be carried in your pocket.

Since then, I have noticed exactly that device in the new condos going up for Milennium Waters and the Olympic Village, which is great for my fellow alumnis. However, it is also great for the gold LEED standard building and will, with no doubt in my mind, definitely guide even non-green minded inhabitants to lead a lifestyle that is healthier for the planet.

At our current consumption and population rate, it is said that it would take about 100 Earths to sustain the hunter/gatherer lifestyle that our pre-evolutionary ancestors led. With current technology, it is said that 85% of the land would be needed for cultivation purposes in order for us to live a sustainable life, which is still huge, but is much better than what we had before. Certainly, technology will play a huge factor towards our goal of long existence. While the monitors and meters don't do that much, they do help a lot in terms of motivating otherwise uncaring individuals to led a better lifestyle.

No comments:

Post a Comment