Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The "No Impact Week" Experiment and other news

I've been feeling despondent since Tigerlily's death. It's not going to stop me from fostering and rescuing animals in future, of course, but I just need a week or two to grieve and to overcome caregiver fatigue. I am grateful for everyone's kind words and condolences for my little Tigerlily.

Pouring all my energy into my work and volunteer commitments helps me cope with the knowledge that I didn't and couldn't save Tigerlily, reminds me that I am part of something bigger than myself and calls to my attention my pledge to put service before self.

Kota Damansara Community Forest Park trail clearing session on Saturday, 21st August. I am glad I remembered to bring my biodegradable rubbish bags, despite the grief and confusion which immediately followed Tigerlilly's death.

A recent freak storm had uprooted some trees and damaged part of our trails. We agreed to help with the trail clearing in the interests of environmental education. If the local community does not have access to the forest park, they would not feel any sense of stewardship or love for it.

My colleague and buddy Marvin was a wonderful asset to us on Saturday morning. His jungle and knife skills made up for the fact that many of the other volunteers there were n00bs with machetes. And a n00b with a machete is a dangerous n00b. "In my tribe, you have to earn the right to carry a knife", Marvin told me. I have to concur with him.

The Kennel D Dogs at the SPCA looked and smelled clean and pleasant after their bath. I had also cleaned and disinfected the kennels after bathing and tickwashing the dogs. These dogs have just been given their chew treats, as I believe in positive reinforcement and want the dogs to associate volunteers and baths with something nice.

"This is my treat. Mine. All mine."

"Close, but no cigar!"

~ The No Impact Project Experiment ~

I had signed up for the
No Impact Project Experiment a few months ago, which is described as an 8-day carbon cleanse to help participants make lifestyle changes that will reduce their carbon footprint and help us understand how a lifestyle that is gentler to the environment can improve our quality of life.

I registered as a participant partly to see what other measures I could take beyond those I am already practicing, and partly because I hope to initiate a "No Impact Week" project on a large scale in the Klang Valley next year. After all, our actions must reflect our environmental values. I cannot hold forth on the deficiencies of REDD or cap-and-trade until my own environmental track record is beyond reproach.

Here are the guidelines and my basic plans for No-Impact Week:

(Note: I will have to drive on Tuesday as the Bentong Farm Sanctuary Helping Hands Visit had been planned weeks in advance and my friends are looking forward to it. However, we will be going 4 persons to a car so it is going to be quite a fuel-efficient trip. Nevertheless, Day 3 of my No-Impact Experiment will be pushed to Wednesday and the rest of my No-Impact Week will resume from there.)

Day 1: Consumption
I will have to audit every purchase I make and save all the rubbish I generate for the entire day in a plastic bag, to be taken out and reviewed the following day.

Day 2: Trash
Trash generated the day before will be separated, audited and reviewed. Participants are urged to rethink their consumption patterns to reduce waste.

Day 3: Transportation
Participants audit the number of fuel miles they travel each day and think of ways to reduce private vehicle usage / fossil fuel usage. Participants are encouraged to experiment with public transportation, ride-sharing programmes and alternative modes of travel.

Day 4: Food
Participants take their food list for whole week and calculate its Foodprint. Where did it come from? How did it get here? What is used in its production? Participants are encouraged to buy local, organic and fair trade whenever possible, and to opt for the least processed and least packaged foods.

Day 5: Energy
Participants carry out home and office energy audits and take action to reduce energy use. Which appliance is used the most? What can we do without? How can we reduce the number of electrical appliances we own and use?

Day 6: Water
Participants analyse their water footprint. How much water do we use at home and at work? What measures can we take to reduce our water use and wastage?

Day 7: Giving Back
Day 7 is spent on community service and environmental projects, and finding ways to contribute regularly to environmental movements and community initiatives.

Day 8: Eco-Sabbath
Participants analyse how they usually spend their day off, and think up what they can do on their rest day that doesn't require electricity, fuel, water wastage and/or unnecessary consumption.

Think you can own the Experiment? Then sign up for to participate in the next No Impact Week here!


Pak Zawi said...

Ee Lynn,
Good job. How I wish I am there to lend a hand. My machetes are sharp as such tools are useless unless they are sharp. A sharp tool will take less energy and effort to do the work. Many a times on such excursions I have to sharpen other people's tools before commencing work because they are so hopelessly blunt. Anyway it is not easy to sharpen such tools and you need a good grinding stone to do it which most people don't have.

Ellen Whyte said...

Come out for a drink tomorrow! I'll call you later today...

Pat said...

I'm glad that your life is slowly heading back to normal. A whole new definition of 'normal', of course. For me, that normal-life would be 'huff, puff, so-out-of-breath, please kill me now'!!!


hobbit1964 said...

I am sure you have heard this before.
It isn't you, Lynn, who is doing anything to save anyone or anything. You are doing the work. The manner in which the animals you serve get saved is Someone else's domain. I am sure He has worked it out on an individual basis.
Work. Serve. Empty. Let go. Let God. You shall not be spared pain. Yet in quick to be broken shall you heal again. He calls the shots. And His mercy is least on those whom He knows and trusts to work for Him.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Abang Zawi,
How good of you to wish you were here to help! Good intentions mean a lot! I agree that too many people don't have proper knife/parang care and safety skills. A blunt parang can ricochet off the wood and hurt people, and not many people know the correct way to sharpen a knife. It's important to find out first whether it is a single or double bevel knife.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Ellen, Au and Target,
Unfortunately, the Battletank is in the workshop because the engine oil is leaking again! I think it's the O-ring that's broken, because the gaskets have been replaced. I am not keen on walking/cycling/taking the bus to Subang Jaya! Hope I get my car back by Sat morning.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Pat,

Life has to go on, because there are many more needy people and animals and patches of nature out there that need help. But come to think of it, I don't really wish I have the luxury of grieving. I read in the papers the other day that keeping busy increases the happiness/satisfaction levels of research participants. In that case, I must be the happiest person on earth!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Major,
I never thought of it that way. I thought my job is to save animal lives, not let them slip out of my hands. I agree, though, that God always seems to be tougher on those who (S)He knows to be able to take it. Maybe I should have a word with Him/Her and try to convince Him/Her that I'm not as tough as He/She thinks I am, so maybe He/She could cut me some slack and help my animals not fall sick and die.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Service before self, eh? Will remind Mama of that. Especially when she wakes up late on weekends and therefore my breakfast is late too....hmmmm... Glad to know you're up and about. On behalf of all felines, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Oh, in case Mama doesn't like me anymore (will that ever happen?), can I come live with you? purrr....meow!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Kitties-In-Sydney,
Thank you for coming over. Of course you can live with me, as long as you get along nicely with my Rowdies. But I know your Mama would never let you go. Hey, I wake up late and end up feeding the Rowdies only at 8 a.m. too!

mum said...

hey ee lynn...
wanted to drop a mail to you... but i couldnt seem to find your mail id in my mailbox...

and i want to know if you saw this site: ...(a blog contest brought us together last time..)

i know you were pretty disillusioned last time. (and i read from your post that you arent the best of frame of mind)

but i was thinking you can give it a shot?

Unknown said...

Good work on the Kota Damansara Community Forest Park trail.Work is never done! Looks like one has to walk the talk in the Low Impact Week - methinks you'll have no problems tackling the issues daily as they present themselves. As I see it, you are already a practitioner!

ps. just back from Beijing

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Mum-In-Malaysia,
Thank you for the heads-up. I have checked the said contest site. It is not a blogging contest. It is, if anything,
(1) A video contest -- heavy on flash and special effects, light on content; and
(2) A popularity contest.
And I don't do popularity contests because I even when I try to sound superficial, it appears contrived. Doesn't work for me. I can't go all "Hurray, 1Malaysia, we are doing such a good job and everything's all hunky dory and KLCC is the best place to be!"
Nope. Sorry. Can't do that. Won't go there.
Thanks anyway. Let me know if you know of any essay writing competitions, though.
Much love to the family.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Keats,
Hope you enjoyed yourself in Beijing! Thank you for your support and your confidence in me for the No Impact Week experiment. Am doing the best I can but there's always room for improvement and there's always so many things to learn and try out! I guess that's why they call it an experiment!