Blog - Green Tree Curaçao
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MEET CURACAO ARTICLES BY RAJVEE KROLL

  • Fundashon Green Town Curacao's Effort to Phase-Out the Isla and Introduce a Green Alternative (Mar 2011)

  • GreenTown Curacao: A Green Alternative to the Isla Refinery (Feb 2011)

  • 10-10-10: The Disintegration of the Netherlands Antilles (Nov 2010)

  • Clean Up the World Weekend (Sept 2010)

  • Join the Force to Make Curacao a Clean and Healthy Island (Mar 2010)

  • Isla Refinery of Curacao: Highs and Lows Part 1 (Feb 2010)

  • Isla Refinery of Curacao: Highs and Lows Part 2 (Feb 2010)

  • Green Energy in Curacao (Jan 2010)

  • SUSTAINABLE LIVING

    What can community members do to create change in their own communities that fosters respect for the environment and public health?

    People can go green. They can change their lifestyles to better suit the environment around them by reducing their household consumption of electricity and water and reducing waste therefore reducing their footprint on the environment. This can have a positive impact on family and in the community. Maintaining an eco-friendly home can have benefits on the health and financial well-being of a family as well as on the environment. There are many ways to transition to an eco-friendly lifestyle and it can start at home.

    As a homeowner that cares for the environment I am encouraged to maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle because it has so many benefits for the homeowner and the environment. I've recognized the importance of monitoring consumption of electricity and disposal of waste. It is easy to power your electronics and appliances as well as buy products packaged with materials that cannot be recycled because we are not always aware of the environmental consequences. The increased demand for electricity in Ontario, Canada, where I am originally from, has lead the Ontario government to implement several conservation initiatives, such as the Smart Meter program which involves the installation of smart electricity meters in 800,000 homes and businesses across Ontario by the end of 2007 to encourage consumers to monitor their use of electricity so they may use it wisely and save money. Furthermore, the Ontario government is in the process of shutting down all of Ontario's coal-fired plants in order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and sulpher dioxide, gases that negatively effect public health and the environment.

    At the local level, Curaçaoans can do their part to aid in the transition to a more sustainable lifestyle that directly caters to the quality of the environment and our health. This is the responsibility of the citizen and if we all embrace this transition and maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle we can set a new local long-term strategy for the safety of the environment and public health which our children can adopt and pass to their children. The following is a list of 10 ways to transition to an eco-friendly lifestyle that can be shared with your family and within your community:

    10 Ways to Go Green
    1) Look for items without extensive packaging. Most food packaging material uses some petroleum-based plastic. Instead purchase brands that use bio-based plastic. Recycle or reuse packaging materials you end up having to buy.For example, aluminum beverage cans can be recycled at many grocery stores in Curaçao such as Vreugdenhil and Albert Hijn courtesy of Green Force Curaçao.

    2) Bring a cloth bag to the grocery store or buy the eco-friendly bags sold at the grocery stores instead of using plastic bags. The size of eco-friendly bags is equivalent to 2 or more plastic grocery bags and they are easy to carry. Disposing of plastic bags will clog landfills, create litter, choke streams and harm marine wildlife, like whales, seals and sea turtles.

    3) Buy local and organic products. Buying local food drastically reduces the energy spent on food shipping. Local goods also tend to use minimal packaging, are fresher and come in more varieties.

    4) Instead of regular aluminum foil or plastic wrap, purchase recycled aluminum foil. It uses just 1/20th of the energy needed to produce regular foil.

    5) Switch off lights and fans in the house when not needed. If you use an air conditioner, turn the temperature up to reduce your use of electricity.

    6) Use environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Purchase cleaning agents that are nontoxic, perfume-free, and that are plant-based instead of petroleum-based. Use microfiber cloths to apply the products to your furniture, counters, and sinks. These cleaning cloths are machine-washable and recyclable.

    7) Use energy efficient florescent lightbulbs. GE Energy Smart bulbs use 70-75% less energy than incandescent lightbulbs and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

    8) Use reusable water bottles which you can purchase at a local sports store. These water bottles are durable, inexpensive, can be used repeatedly and are widely recyclable. This will encourage the use of tap water instead of water bottles which will save you money. In addition, this greatly helps reduce unnecessary environmental waste caused by plastic water bottles.

    9) Use smart power strips. After turning off a computer, power continues to flow to computer peripherals like printers and scanners. The power strip stops the energy from being wasted.

    10) Use major appliances like the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer during off-peak hours (late at night or early in the morning). Dry your laundry outside on a clothesline to save money on dryer-operating costs. Use cold water and less detergent to wash clothing.

    These simple tips can help you and your family become more environmentally responsible and set a good example for your community and others. Let's all go green!!

     

    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE

    It's not difficult to make change in your home or community that fosters environmental awareness and directly contributes to cleaning up your local environment. One driving factor of the environmental movement is the need to protect public health and this is important to many citizens. However, there are others that feel that it is not necessary to live an eco-friendly lifestyle for the following reasons:

    1) It is the government's responsibility to clean up the environment and work with the international community to be more energy-efficient. Individuals cannot do much to create change and influence the government from a local level.

    2) What can my efforts for change really do? I am just one person.

    3) We only live once, therefore it is better to focus on getting things accomplished and having fun in our one and only lifetime.

    4) Environmental pollution does not directly effect my health.

    These reasons are common misconceptions that are formed from the lack of knowledge of environmental issues globally. The people vote for political leaders so it is essentially the people's and government's responsibility to protect the environment and public health. Although we live once, our earth is home to millions of different organisms and to our future generations so it is our responsibility to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle to preserve our planet. It isn't so fun to watch someone throw McDonald's packaging out of their car window because that's not acceptable anymore.

    Further, industrial pollution, such as greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries contribute to poor air quality which is negatively impacting public health as concluded recently by the government of Curaçao. This has lead to the temporary closure of public schools particularly on the Otrobanda side due to the downwind pollution from the Isla refinery.

    The common misconceptions mentioned above need to be permanently squashed in order to get as many Curaçaoans to participate in becoming more environmentally aware and eco-friendly.


    MORE SUSTAINABLE LIVING TIPS

    * Set your dishwasher to run late at night and on the 'No Heat Dry' setting.

    * Use Bio-Bags that are made of biodegradeable material to line your garbage containers, when doing groceries, or when walking your dog.

    * Trade in your old gas lawnmower for a reel mower or rechargeable lawnmower and your old gas or electric trimmer for a rechargeable one. I have one and it works very good.

    * Take advantage of Curaçao's powerful trade winds by leaving your windows open throughout the day and night to cool you down. This will lower your electricity costs and have a positive impact on the environment.

    * Reuse plastic containers like margarine, sour cream, and yogurt containers.

    * Buy double-roll toilet paper instead of single roll in order to reduce waste. Instead of buying papertowels use a j-cloth which can be washed and reused. Make sure the toilet paper is 2-ply instead of a thicker paper product.

    * Do not flush toilet paper down the toilet but instead dispose of it in a garbage can.

    * Use cold water to wash clothes and dishes and in the shower especially since we live in a warm climate.

    * On very hot days keep your windows and curtains closed and try not to use the stove, oven, or grill which emit excess heat.

    * Instead of using the air conditioner try placing a bowl of ice in front of a fan to cool the blowing air.

    * Take the bus or minibus, ride a bike, or carpool with friends and family instead of individually driving everywhere to reduce your gas consumption.