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Turn it off if you don't need it, and help save the earth

Publication Date : 23-03-2013


If every one of us tried to save a little energy, the combined effect would go a long way to conserving the environment and mitigating the effects of climate change.

The annual Earth Hour event takes place today to raise awareness about climate change. People around the world are encouraged to join the campaign to raise awareness of energy efficiency by turning off non-essential lights for one hour. The symbolic event is timely, since Thais might face electricity outages during the upcoming Songkran festival.

Earlier this month the Energy Ministry held a meeting with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), the Metropolitan Electricity Authority and the Provincial Electricity Authority, to discuss contingency plans to deal with an expected shortage of power next month when Myanmar temporarily suspends its gas supply to Thailand.

The news over possible blackouts has led to a debate over the sources of our energy, both in the immediate and long term. There is talk of setting up a nuclear power plant, as well as coal-fired plants, in order to diversify the sources of power supply. Thailand relies heavily on electricity generated from its neighbours. When Myanmar announced it would suspend the gas supply from April 5-14 during routine maintenance, Industry Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal voiced concern over the possible power outages.

The focus so far has concentrated on the supply side of the issue. However, the campaign to promote efficient energy consumption should also be highlighted. Some companies have decided to adjust production processes to deal with the possibility of blackouts next month, but such measures are not sustainable.

The public should be encouraged to actively participate in the campaign to promote energy efficiency. If every household were aware of the need to manage energy use in an efficient way, and turned off non-essential electrical appliances every single day, we would go a long way in the battle to save the planet.

The level of a country's development should not be judged entirely by its physical infrastructure, but also on environmental awareness and accountability. It starts at an individual level, but organisations and companies must also incorporate environmental protection and pollution prevention in their activities.

Public consciousness of energy efficiency would address not only the possibility of power shortage but also help slow the process of climate change. Power generation and consumption creates pollution and waste that can affect ecological systems for many years. Throughout human history, trees have been cut down, coal has been burned and many species' habitats have been lost to our ever-increasing demand for energy.

Today, people are encouraged to turn off lights from 8:30 to 9:30pm, local time in every country. One hour of darkness should help make people realise the importance of ensuring the sustainability of power generation and environmental conservation. But the public's engagement in this energy-efficiency campaign should not end there. People should be ingrained with the habit of being conscious about their consumption and the effect that it has on the planet. These small actions on the part of millions of people, if not billions, when taken together, can make a big difference to the world.


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