What Can We Do For Earth Day… and Every Day?

By Trista di Genova

In my grandparents’ generation, this was a popular proverb that urged us all to be resourceful, not wasteful: “MAKE IT DO, WEAR IT OUT, USE IT UP, DO WITHOUT.” If only we could all get back to this state of mind. Here are some ideas for Earth Day and Beyond that we can all easily do. Be the change!

* Contact officials, give them suggestions and urge them to do more eco-friendly actions. In Taiwan, The Presidential Office’s email is: oop15@oop.gov.tw President Ma’s phone number: (02) 2311-3731; fax: (02) 2331-1604. In the U.S., contact the White House: Comments: 202-456-1111; Switchboard: 202-456-1414; FAX: 202-456-2461
* Always carry plastic or shopping bags with you; try NEVER to accept them
* Urge your local vendors to offer a discount for bringing a container. Tell them ‘Happy Earth Day!’ In Taiwan, nobody seems to know about it!
* Reuse plastic containers for gardening or picnics, other uses you can think of
* Drive Less, Walk More
* Get a bicycle; you’ll get healthier
* Take public transportation, preferably the MRT
* Assess how you can improve your household energy efficiency
* Use fans rather than A/C
* Close windows, clean filters
* Turn off unused lights
* Use environmentally friendly detergents, cleaning agents.
* Start a garden on your roof or balcony, it will substantially cool down the place in summer
* Grow your own food as much as possible
* Eat less meat/avoid it altogether (there are many substitutes. Get creative!)
* Don’t buy SUVs, or even hybrids, which are half-ass cars when we could all be driving electric vehicles.
* Invest in electric cars, say Tesla Motors
* Donate, give away rather than throw away. In Taiwan, the green metal boxes in most communities are for donations, run by the Szu Chi (Buddhist) Foundation
* Don’t buy individual little water bottles! It’s a huge waste, strain on the environment and costs a fortune! Get a filter, eg Brita, and use only ONE water bottle.


3 thoughts on “What Can We Do For Earth Day… and Every Day?

  • May 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Latest Update:

    TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Formosa Plastics will not have to halt operations at its plant in Jenwu, Kaohsiung County, and will escape a potential record fine of NT$150 million (US$4.7 million) because there is no evidence that it was responsible for grave pollution of the groundwater, reports said Wednesday.

    Go figure: someone else must have done it. The duck farmer, the noodle-maker, the butler perhaps?

    Must have a damn expensive team of lawyers to scare the government off like that, or perhaps some very thick red envelopes in the right places, lol.

  • April 21, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics faces fines but not plant closure over pollution
    Taiwan News, Staff Writer

    TAIPEI – Formosa Plastics could be forced to pay a fine of up to NT$150 million (US$5 million) for a case of pollution in Kaohsiung County but not closure of its factory, reports said Tuesday.
    Test results published by the media on March 21 showed the presence near the factory in Jenwu of carcinogenic chemicals such as vinyl-chloride monomers and hydrochlorofluorocarbons at levels exceeding official health limits by up to 300,000 times.

    The Environmental Protection Administration was drawing up eight possible scenarios for sanctions against the company which could end with the county government levying a fine of between NT$38 million (US$1.2 million) and NT$150 million, according to the Chinese-language United Evening News.

    Environmental groups welcomed the plans for a heavy fine, but also demanded the closure of the Jenwu plant.

    The heavy fines showed the EPA’s determination, but since the pollution at the factory was still at a manageable level, there was no need to order its closure at present, EPA Minister Stephen Shen said. Any similar incident in the future would lead to an order to halt work at the Jenwu factory, he added.

    Formosa Plastics first knew about the grave pollution of underground water in December 2003, but never told the authorities, according to Shen. The company didn’t take action against the problem until the EPA inspected the plant last year and failed to clean up the toxic substances already present in the soil, he said.

    The size of the fine was based on the cost of the company’s negligence and of the actions it had failed to take, Shen said. A commission of experts would still have to draw up an overall plan for neutralizing the impact of the pollution and would base the final size of the fine for Formosa Plastics on the cost of that plan, he said. The longer the company took to solve the problem, the higher the fine would be, according to Shen.

    Because experts still had to confirm the precise nature of the pollution, the EPA would not impose the fine directly but ask the Kaohsiung County Government to do so, he added.

    In the first example of a heavy fine over environmental pollution, the EPA imposed a direct fine of more than NT$100 million on the Kuanyin Industrial Zone in Taoyuan County.


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