Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ISKL Supports Earth Hour

This year ISKL will be joining the millions around the world in a show of solidarity to our environment. Started in Sydney, Australia two years ago, Earth Hour has become an international hit, with households, governments, corporations, academic institutions worldwide joining together to turn off their lights for one hour - 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm - on March 28th. Won't you join ISKL, KLCC, Putrajaya, KL Sentral and so many others around Malaysia?

For further information, and to pledge support, please visit http://www.earthhour.org.my/

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cars Everywhere!

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that, in pure environmental terms, walking or biking are preferable to public transport and that, in turn, public/mass transport is preferable to personal motorized transport. For years scientists and public officials have been identifying the need for public transport methods that allow movement while limiting personal vehicles.

According to the Ampang busing office, ISKL uses 35 buses to transport our sons and daughters to and from school. These buses take turns coming and going, once in the morning and three times in the afternoon (3:00, 4:30 and 6:00 pm). The assessment of the bussing carbon generation is another story altogether (still in the works), but trying to put a finger on our passenger car numbers is trickier still.

A mosey down to the Ampang front parking lot on Tuesday, March 10th from 7:20 am to 8:05 am identified 197 cars dropping off children to start off the day. 197 cars driving from their homes to bring a student or students to school, and then moving on. Presumably a similar number would fill our parking lot in the afternoon as well. If one was to add the 125 cars that were parked in the front and rear parking lots on that same morning, staff members diligently working on campus, the 322 total cars is somewhat staggering! And that doesn't even consider Melawati. Gulp.

Which got me to thinking... If one was to calculate the mileage of said cars on this particular Tuesday morning we might come up with the following results:

Assuming that each car travels 2.5 kilometers each way to/from school, then this morning ISKL families and staff members would have traveled a cumulative of 1,610 kilometers. Longer commutes would, obviously, increase that result. But let's say, for the sake of argument, that we all lived just 2.5 kilometers away from school. Those same cars would, over the course of 180 school days, have traveled a cumulative total of 289,800 kilometers, and that's just in the morning run! A similar return trip in the afternoon would, of course, double that to 579,600 kilometers.

According to www.climatecrisis.net this mileage would generate roughly 3,550 tons of carbon. Now that might not say much to you, and will probably vary depending on your source, but the general consensus is that it takes about 5 or 6 trees (or more) the duration of their lifetime to offset one ton of carbon.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that just driving our cars to school to drop our sons and daughters (or ourselves) adds up. Suppose that we all somehow became so aware and concerned that we wanted to offset that carbon. We would have to plant 17,750 trees in order to do that. That's 55 trees for each car that drove up that morning.

So what is one to do? Well, here are some thoughts:
  • Walk, bike or car pool to/from school
  • Sign your son or daughter up to take the bus
  • Plant trees, plants, bushes, grass, flowers!
  • If you can't plant trees yourself, consider donating some money to organizations that do (www.plantabillion.org or www.wildasia.net are two options you might consider)
  • Become carbon literate about your lifestyle (a good starting point is: http://www.climatecrisis.net/takeaction/carboncalculator/)
I'm already pumping up my bike tires!