Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 21, Tuesday May 29, 2007



Reader’s Chit

Fighting the global demon

The issue of global warming has made a comeback. In the last few weeks a number of leading local and international newspapers, magazines and TV channels produced stories on global warming, its consequences on mankind and ways to fight it. Awareness is something that needs to be created to reduce global warming or put a stop to it. The hype must go on until people in all parts of the world become aware of this occurrence, that is making our earth nothing less than a fireball!

The April issue of Time Magazine had an interesting cover story on global warming and how we, the general people can contribute to reducing it. You can start a movement from your own home. Take a look at some of the things that we can start practicing in our own country to do our bit.

I am sure a lot of you have seen a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). Although they are mostly seen in offices, you can install them in your houses too. CFL's are small and fit into normal sockets. Although CFL's are more expensive than regular bulbs, they save energy and last longer.

Do you know how much an AC contributes to global warming? Yes, the weather out there is terrible but even then, you might try limiting your use of air coolers at home and at the office. Keep your windows open to let in fresh air.

Not many households in Bangladesh use washing machines. But it's only natural for people to purchase high-end domestic electrical gadgets with rises in their incomes. Even in Bangladesh the first thing a person does when his earnings shoot up is buy electrical appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, dryers and microwave ovens. Yes, they do make our lives comfortable but then think of the long run consequences. The world's temperature has reached such an alarming level that we will soon have to say bye-bye to many worldly comforts. Remember that it's always environment-friendly to hand wash clothes and dry them naturally i.e. in the open air or under the sun.

Shut off your computer when you are not using it. A screen saver is not an energy saver. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 75% of all the electricity consumed in the home is standby power used to keep electronics running when those TVs, computers, monitors and stereos are "off." The average desktop computer, not including the monitor, consumes about 60 to 250 watts a day.

In Bangladesh, individuals as well as commercial organisations that contribute the highest to air pollution and environment warming should pay for their emissions of carbon. Money raised from carbon taxes could be used by the government to invest in projects like tree plantation, forest conservation and pollution control. Although there are controversies around this issue, the government can consider this as a way to reduce air pollution. Although a lot of groundwork needs to be done in order to implement the above, work should begin from now. This is because sooner or later countries like Bangladesh will have to execute these measures to limit pollution.

Don't use your car unless you can't do without it. Walk or use a public transport. More cars on the streets means more global warming. Besides, walking is always good for health.

Plastic bags are not seen much these days and the government must make sure that they never come back. As conscious citizens it should be our duty not to accept plastic bags from shopkeepers.

Do you know that a meat-based diet takes more energy? So maybe if we eat more vegetables, we can contribute to the reduction of global warming. I know it's a difficult task for most but then the truth is that the preparation of a meal from vegetables requires much less energy.

Offices should encourage employees to wear casual clothes. A tie is not mandatory when it comes to dressing up casually formal. Open collars and cotton clothes should be the ideal dress for summer at workplaces. Light-coloured cotton clothes will make you sweat less.

Young people have the potential to bring about big changes. Teachers in schools and colleges should encourage their pupils to form clubs that would address environmental issues. Movement can begin from a school campus and spread citywide or even nationwide. Therefore, young people should come together and raise their voices on environmental issues and make others aware of the importance of saving the world from global warming and pollution.

A simple lifestyle is not only affordable but also environment-friendly. Buy things that you need, do not overspend or indulge in extravagance. Happiness comes from simple things, so choose a simple lifestyle to find happiness and to save the world.

By Penelope

The new thirties

Congratulations ladies! You are in your 'forties'! Never despair- but rejoice instead because forties are the new thirties.

Think back to the time when we were only children. Not only did we think that forty was 'old', but everybody who was in their forties looked, thought and felt old. It's not our fault that we grew up dreading to grow old ourselves. That's the way it was. After turning “twenty”, we rejoiced and cheered about officially becoming “adults”. We had the look and the groove, the zest for life and living. It didn't matter that for some of us marriage was a major part of those years. We handled childbirth, child rearing, household and social responsibilities with flair.

When the thirties hit us, it was a kind of wake-up call. A little more stress seemed to creep up on us, anxiety and tension took up a larger part of our daily lives and we began to feel tired. How we missed our teens and twenties. Somehow, we started slowly losing out on “My time”. In our 39th year, we struggled and strived to make each day last longer than the last 24 hours.

We tried to delay the dreaded 40th birthday. We did everything to convince ourselves that we were still in our prime.

But the 40th birthday comes, plunging us into a sea of self-doubt. We think it's the end of the world. Even our children do not give us respite. They remind us with evil glee: “ Mom, YOU ARE FORTY”!!!!! As if we need to be reminded! We wish we were ostriches, so we could hide our faces as well as our age.

Ladies, stop right there! Re-energise, revive, and rejuvenate yourselves. Start believing in yourself. We are the lucky ones- the icons of our generation! It's time to look positive, feel positive and think positive. Stop hiding behind the middle age label. Come out and declare that you are happy to be 40 and mature.

Gone is the time when we had to act our chronological age. You must not allow mere numbers to handicap you. You must believe that you are like “Wonder Woman”! We are here to show that we do not subscribe to the old notion of 'forties' being the end of the world. Look around yourselves. You have all the help you could ever need from nature and science to keep you healthy, fit and beautiful. It's fine to say that inner beauty is the true beauty, but if we don't take care of ourselves, we will fall prey to the harshness of the elements.

So get up and find time to do your thing. Go to the gym, or to the park. Try yoga, pilates, anything and everything to keep fit. Indulge yourself- go for manicures, pedicures and occasional styling. Show the world that you are capable of handling any situation, no matter how stressful and difficult it may be. You have to believe in yourselves and broaden your intellectual horizons. There is so much to do, so much to achieve. Be evergreen, be timeless and ageless! You can do it gracefully. Show the world that the forties are the new thirties!

By Shirley Momen


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