Can We Paint With All the Colours of the Wind? Essay
Can We Paint With All the Colours of the Wind?
Some may think that we own the earth and we can do whatever we want to it. Most of the time, we are more concerned about making our lives more comfortable even though we are already living in a modern city like Hong Kong. Every day we consume energy and fail to recognize how we should do it in a more environmentally friendly way. Little do people know the story behind energy and how it is connected to the quality of our lives and our planet.
Where does energy come from? It comes from burning fossil fuels. From heating our homes, to fuelling our cars, and to manufacturing our MP3 players, energy is produced and consumed naturally. Fossil fuels are either burned directly or burned in power stations to drive turbines which generate electricity. Every time we burn fossil fuels such as natural gas or oil, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. In a natural carbon cycle, carbon dioxide is re-absorbed by plants and trees. However, the rate we are producing carbon dioxide is so quick that plants and trees have no chance of absorbing it. These extra carbon emissions are affecting our earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, to maintain a better future, we ought to reduce our carbon emission.
In addition, all this extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere changes the overall temperature of the planet. It is rising, causing what is known as global warming. According to a report presented by the UK Government in 2006, there is a 50% risk that unless rising global temperatures is acknowledged and addressed, it could increase by more than 5 degrees by 2100. It is naï¿½ve of us to think that global warming will not affect us even in Hong Kong. According to the Hong Kong Observatory, local temperatures have been rising more rapidly than the global average, and they are projected to continue to rise into the 2ï¿½ danger zone by 2050. This would create numerous threats to Hong Kong. Over the past centuries, Hong Kong’s seawater temperature has increased 0.5ï¿½C. This will lead to a rise in sea levels which would threaten Hong Kong’s reclaimed land.
Whilst the average global temperature is increasing, on a day-to-day level the climate is changing in unpredictable ways, extreme weather may result like floods, hurricanes, heat waves and droughts. This may cause even more damage to the worldwide economy and what is more, threaten the life of human beings. Also, an increase in temperature during Hong Kong’s summer climate would further facilitate mosquito breeding, and a Hong Kong Polytechnic analysis indicates that a 3ï¿½ rise in mean temperature would increase the ‘epidemic potential’ of malaria by nearly 20%. The rising level of urban heat would also lead to an increase in heat-related deaths, particularly among the elderly and the outdoor workers. Climate change may also put a devastating strain on society as a whole as reduced resources immeasurably threaten the livelihoods of individuals and businesses.
Not only should we be well informed of the patterns of environmental changes, we should also take action to save the world. Firstly, we should participate in reducing our carbon footprint, which refers to the total carbon which we as individuals are responsible for. By adopting a low-carbon lifestyle, individuals can monitor and thereby substantially reduce their carbon footprint. For example we can biodegradable cleaning products at home. If one is living in an estate, he or she can also make suggestions to the management office to install water barrels to collect rain water which could be used to water plants in the garden.
Secondly, we should participate actively in a recycling program which includes setting up recycling bins in the estates to sort and recycle plastic, paper and aluminum from our household waste. Furthermore, in the workplace, items like envelopes, folders, and paper clips can be reused. Computers should also be shut down before leaving your workstation at the end of the day. If the electronics are on standby instead, about 5-10 percent of electricity can be drained by “vampire” energy loss each year.
What is more, this can help reduce electronic bills for the company. For example, HSBC has rolled out a Green IT initiative to its all 8,000 offices across 87 countries worldwide, reducing global carbon emissions this year by more than 34 million kilos. For these 34 million kilos of carbon to be absorbed, it would take more than four million trees to be planted which is equivalent to 28,075 rugby fields. Worldwide HSBC has saved more than US$1million in energy costs after rolling out this initiative on 300,000 computers across the globe.
Thirdly, we can also help decrease the carbon emission in our daily life. Since cars are major contributors to the production of greenhouse gases, it is crucial that people take public transportation. Not only can people save money, but also it helps reduce our own personal carbon emissions. What is more, when traveling abroad, people should consider going on direct flights to places that are nearer to home. In fact, a round-trip from Hong Kong to London produces 5.7 tones of carbon dioxide per passenger. Of course, it would be better if the use of air travel could be minimized as much as possible.
Finally, it is never enough to save the environment only through individual efforts. On an international scale, nations should try alternative ways of generating energy, through the use of renewable sources like wind and tidal wave; thus, it could greatly reduce greenhouse gases. Also, a concrete protocol should be signed and followed as seen in the United Nations Climate Change Conference. We should be motivated not only for our own self-interest and self-development but to also preserve the earth for the next generation. The words from the beautiful song “Colours of the Wind” best describes the value we should hold in regards to our planet: you can own the Earth and still all you’ll own is earth until you can paint with all the colours of the wind.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 10 July 2017