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What you can do on World Environment Day (and every day)

What you can do on World Environment Day (and every day)

Jun 5, 2014

Today is World Environment Day, and the UN General Assembly declared 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States. However, on a day set aside to raise awareness of the environment, every human being can do something to reduce their impact on the environment.

With big money still going towards the funding of fossil fuel projects and many utilities (and governments) still reluctant to provide clean energy, the move towards lower impact technologies and products will largely depend on demand. Here, consumers can make a difference.

Start by investigating solar power to enable your home to function, even if it’s a few lights in your garden or small panels that charge your cell phone or lighting. Look into getting an inverter which, once the battery has charged, will enable you to draw less electricity off the grid. If you are building or renovating, opt for the companies that offer “green” products and processes – ask them to show you their credentials. Buy local – the carbon footprint of foods transported for hundreds of kilometres is massive. Save water wherever you can – and, yes, every drop does count, so fix that dripping tap.

Petition your local MP to raise issues of clean energy and education about it in parliament. Get your local community to do the same. While many residents and offices would use solar power – we’re the perfect country for it – purchase price and installation is still too expensive to be within the reach of the greater South African (and African) population. Send messages to local solar companies about offering lower pricing per unit if several households in one area are prepared to install energy-saving items at the same time.

Again, while global organisations call for a “sustainable future for all”, its’ primarily up to individuals to become educated about how to save energy – and to ensure that every company, organisation and product we buy supports sustainable initiatives.

As we’ve heard before, “There is no Planet B”. Make the small changes that can make a massive difference to this planet – there’s no better day to start than World Environment Day.

Dianne Bayley
Editor: Environment in Africa
5 June 2014

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