Monday, June 22, 2009

Energy conservation: A Governor shows the way

All of us talk about cutting down on carbon emission by saving electricity, using compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and behaving as responsible citizens of the world. There are discussions galore on the subject, seminars in five-star hotels, a list of dos and don’ts etc. Ever thought about the electricity consumed at such meetings, for instance? Can’t such meetings be held outdoors to save electricity? It all adds up to just one thing – we are great preachers, but we hardly practise what we preach. Unless, of course, somebody points a gun at our heads and forces us to obey.

West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi is made of different stuff, though. Perhaps it has got to do something with his surname. The grandson of Mahatma Gandhi is bringing Gandhian principles to the fore and setting an example the Gandhian way. Writing for The Times of India, Subhro Niyogi describes how the West Bengal governor has voluntarily chosen to reduce energy consumption at the Raj Bhavan. It has inspired his staff to follow suit. Niyogi says that Gopalkrishna’s initiative has led to CO2 emission at the Raj Bhavan reducing to a baseline measure of 335 tonnes, from 408 tonnes in 2005-06.

So, what has the governor done that’s remarkable? According to Niyogi, Gopalkrishna has reduced the size and even the speed of his convoy, he observes voluntary power cuts, high-wattage lamps have been replaced with CFL, old air-conditioners have been replaced, and a solar water heater has been installed. His drivers have been asked to switch off the engine at traffic signals. All this has led to electricity bills reducing by 15% and CO2 emissions by 18%. What’s more, the governor is also working on water and waste management and recharging underground aquifers.

If only we could follow even a tenth of what the West Bengal governor is doing! Wouldn’t that give us a sense of achievement? I have decided for a start to switch fans and lights off when not required, at home and elsewhere. I’m sure it’ll lead to a greater realization within me of the need to conserve resources and contribute my bit to make the world a better place to live.

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