The past few weeks have been incredibly hot! Living in the tropics and being so close to the equator, you’d expect to be used to hot weather by now. WRONG. But our weather isn’t as bad as we think it is. I’m not saying I enjoy the temperature going over 30⁰ every day. All I’m saying is, since we don’t have seasonal variations like the temperate countries, we don’t have to deal with extreme weather events such as extremely cold winters and extremely hot summers. And that’s something we should be happy about!
However this hot weather has become rather unpleasant. No matter where I go or whom I meet, the topic of hot weather will always find its way into our conversations. But now I’m beginning to think that it’s time we stopped complaining and started doing something about it. You and I can’t change the temperature, but we can do things that will help in beating the heat.
Months of hot weather inevitably leads to lowering of the water levels in our reservoirs. And that can only mean one thing – power cuts! 26% of our electricity is generated through hydro power. This is a renewable energy source and therefore has zero greenhouse gas emissions. (Greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for the warming up of our planet!). However since the reservoirs are losing a lot of its water due to this incredibly hot weather, until the southwest monsoons bring us rain in May, we are heading towards a bit of an energy crisis. A greater proportion of electricity will have to be generated through coal power and we all know how detrimental that is to the environment!
This is where you and I can step in and play our part. Make it a point to switch off lights and fans when not in use. We’ve been taught the importance of this from a young age but how many of us have actually made it into a habit? We have to be cautious not only at our homes but also at the institutions where we study as well as our workplaces.
I have a habit of walking in to empty lecture halls and switching off lights and fans, because the sight of it breaks my heart. No one ever told me I should do that; it’s just something I feel responsible for. Likewise, such practices should come from within. That’s the only way we can make a difference and make this environment a better place to live in.
This hot weather will be around for a while. To beat this heat drink plenty of water, eat fruits, take out your umbrellas and wear comfortable clothes. Be mindful of the animals. Leave plenty of water for your pets as well as for other visitors (such as birds and squirrels) and water your plants regularly.
AND PLANT TREES. There’s nothing as good and refreshing as the shade of a tree. Each time I walk under the canopy of the magnificent Rain Trees along Thurstan Road or when I sit under the beautiful Banyan Tree at the university, I silently thank the individual who planted them, because it takes a lot of selflessness to plant a tree whose shade you’ll never know…
Photo courtesy: http://exploresrilanka.lk/2011/01/shades-in-colombo/