Earth Day: From moral darkness to light
Mar 31, 2011

In an enlightened and practical act of patriotism far more useful than the pseudo-patriotism of some self-centred politicians, the Minister of Power and Energy has launched a mission to educate some 4.5 million school children on how they could and should save electricity today for a brighter tomorrow.

The school is the best place to start. The children, who unlike most politicians do not seek personal gain or glory, were made aware that every time they switch off a light they are doing a greater service to the country than lots of the speeches made by politicians. Besides switching off the bulb when they leave a room or any other place, the students will also save electricity by cutting down on the use of electrical appliances, reducing their TV time by an hour or two, and by other means. If every student could save ten units of electricity a month, then the total monthly saving would be about 45 million units and it would be one of the greatest contributions made by schools and school children to sustainable development in Sri Lanka.

As we have said often before, awareness or education alone is not enough to sustain this enlightened deed by school children. As much as awareness, the children must be given a good example by their political, religious and other leaders. Only then will the energy conservation mission continue. Otherwise, like so many good projects, it will go into a blackout.

The Ministry of Power and Energy must now take up this issue in the Cabinet and work out a plan for all state institutions beginning with the presidential secretariat, ministries and government departments to launch electricity conservation methods and sustain them. It needs to be closely monitored and some sort of a ceiling placed on the electricity bills of state institutions. Those who do not maintain the ceiling need to be held accountable although accountability appears to be an unpopular word in Sri Lanka today. Besides schools and state institutions, the mission of, “Switching off a light today for a brighter tomorrow,” needs to be encouraged at a family level. Like in most other issues, parents must set the example by switching off lights, fans and other electrical appliances, especially at peak time between 6.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m. We hope that as a symbolic gesture of support, families will mark Earth Day today by switching off all lights and electrical appliances for one hour.

Parents and children could also work out various other methods of saving electricity. For Instance the electric iron is known to consume a lot of energy. If the members of the family could iron their clothes at a particular time, it will not be necessary to switch on the iron several times. This requires discipline and cooperation. It can be maintained only if the families get the right example from their leaders. We are in a dark era with the political, moral and spiritual darkness deepening. Political, religious and other leaders must set the example in leading the people out of the moral and spiritual darkness by encouraging them to save electricity today for a brighter tomorrow.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka