Environment / It's my life!

NUS Earth Hour – a perspective from a resident assistant

So, there I was, at 8.33pm staring out of the balcony of Kuok Foundation House, foolishly thinking that there would be some sort of sign or signal or at least, a shout to signify that Earth Hour has started. I was sincerely hoping that I would hear a countdown or cheer from the SRC field (like a “10-9-8-7-6…Earth Hour” and so on) to indicate that Earth Hour has begun.

The logo for Earth Hour

Image via Wikipedia

But, as the seconds ticked by, I realized that nothing was going to happen. I stared blankly at the still brightly lit corridor lights, sighed in disappointment and so, I began it on my own. I shouted “Hi hi! It’s Earth Hour. Please switch off your lights till 9.30pm”, from Level 4 to Level 8, and switched off all the pantry and toilet lights as I walked by.

I won’t be judging NUS Earth Hour in terms of the event that was going on in the NUS SRC field as I couldn’t be there due to my night duty in the building, but from my first-hand experience with the residents, I can say that it’s not succeeding. Or, at least, in terms of inspiring them to do something so easy like switching off the lights!

This was the status of the building at Level 1,4,5,7,8 at 8.40pm:

  • Main lobby lights – ON. I couldn’t switch off the main lobby lights as there were residents who were having a discussion or reading the newspaper. I just didn’t have the heart to shoo them away.
  • Room lights – OFF, except for around 6-7 of them. There were a number of residents who were reluctant to switch off the lights because they had to do work. One even asked me, “Is it compulsory?”
  • Pantry and toilets – OFF, except for three. They were occupied.

I do recognize the efforts of the organizing committee, NUSSU SAVE. I’ve seen their posters, both coloured and the all-font non-coloured ones pasted in the residence, YIH, faculties and almost everywhere I go in campus. I’ve seen the announcements and e-mails. Thus, in terms of information dissemination, it’s impossible that a student would not have known about NUS Earth Hour.

But, it’s still not succeeding. I would say it’s the same progress as two years ago when I was in Ridgeview Residences. A resident once asked me, “Why do Earth Hour? It’s so pointless.” I remember that so clearly, and the same aura appeared this time as well, except that it happened in KFH.

I know it’s difficult and I can’t say that I know the method to move people, but I just want to post this to the cosmos and whoever is reading this that:

From a perspective of a NUS resident assistant (who couldn’t go to the NUS SRC field) who shouted her heart out during that first 15 minutes, I think Earth Hour in NUS was once again, not too successful. But, that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. Next time, we should find more creative ways to interest people enough to participate. Maybe, screening WWF Earth Hour videos in lectures or in YIH, or do something more happening like dress up like a lightbulb and walk around school.

Anyway, to me, today started as a day full of possibilities. But, sadly, it seems like it’s going to end like a day full of disappointment and frustration. Ah!

Oh well, I did learn some things from TEDxNUS (which I’ll blog about soon). For now, I’ll just go back to reading and writing my group project. At least my cabbage-tomato-carrot salad is making me a little happy. But, otherwise, SIGH!

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