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Research

Love your environment

With all the information in the media there is a sense that communities and people in general are starting to feel guilty about climate change, but they do not know what they can do about it. In this column the focus will then be on what you can do and the question raised is how can we make sustainable development part of everyday life?

The following 10 points then summarizes what you and I can do on a day to day basis. It is important to remember that we all have different circumstances so the points discussed will less or more relevant to some people as compared to other people. See these 10 points then as hints and not rules cast in stone.

So the 10 points are:

1. Invest in a bicycle. By cutting down on commuting less petrol and diesel will be combusted. This will reduce local air pollution. It will also save you some money;
2. Switch your old incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). These CFLs are frequently handed out for free at shopping centres and other community based projects;
3. If possible share cooking facilities with your extended family as not to have many small fires or other forms of heat. This reduces the amount of wood, coal, gas or electricity that is wasted. It also provides an ideal opportunity for family time;
4. Please do not litter. In fact, aim to pick up 1 piece of trash per day and put it in a trash can. Next week you can aim to pick up 3 pieces per day. Doing this we can all make a difference! Actually, in some cases picking up trash can lead to a source of income. Just think of the people we already see in our communities that sorts through trash as to get hold of tin cans and glass. Maybe you can start a recycling business. See, this is an example of how the world is changing: What was considered trash can possibly become an source of income;
5. Think about how best you can heat your house. Are you using electricity, coal, paraffin or something else? Use the fuel source as wisely as possible. Can you maybe insulate your use better? You will then require less heating in future. This again can save you money;
6. Switch off as many appliances as possible and unplug them also. As example if you are not using your cell phone charger then unplug it. If the TV is not in use you might still see a small red light shining. This implies electricity is still being used. Unplug that TV;
7. Understand your own electricity bill and/or prepaid electricity. If you can get to understand what in your house or your surroundings uses the most electricity then you know what appliance you should use less. In future you can also aim to replace this appliance with a more efficient appliance;
8. Grow your own vegetable garden or have community vegetable garden. By doing this you will have a source of healthy food at a fraction of the normal price. Pollution is reduced as no transport is required and no packaging;
9. As simple as it sounds if you can then seriously consider planting a tree. If the tree can also be a fruit tree then even better. Trees absorb some greenhouse gases out of the air and greening your environment betters your local community, and;
10. Stay informed. By reading columns like these, other forms of media and speaking to people you will gain a skill that you can then put to work. Being an informed individual will benefit the people around you maybe even lead to starting your own green business;

We would though like to hear from you what you deem to be important and what topics you would like to discuss. Please include ‘Sowetan Column’ in the title of your comments or critiques end send it to: sustainability@nedbank.co.za

Quote:
Because we don’t think about future generations, they will never forget us. – Henrik Tikkanen (Finish writer)

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