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If we`re going down, how uneasy are we?

11th December 2012
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Editorial Cartoon

It is much more the rule than the exception for upmarket and many other hotels across the globe to have notices appealing for guests’ appreciation of the need to support efforts aimed at minimising the use of resources such as water and electricity.

In some settings, this has been the practice for so long that many people religiously heed such calls without even stopping to ask themselves about the importance or relevance of doing so.

Much the same has obtained, only for a lot longer, with respect to the need to keep noise pollution to the barest minimum – particularly in or close to places of worship, public libraries and other settings where silence facilitates communication.

It is unfortunate, though, that there are people so inflexible that they see little sense in such well meaning pleas even after countless reminders.

But bad habits often die hard and therefore this need not come as much of a surprise. After all, is it not true that being known for socially acceptable behaviour and practices is usually guided and determined by one’s conscience and is thus a matter of choice?

Back to the issue of high-class hotels and the requests they keep making to their customers in connection with the importance of helping in cutting on the consumption of items such as water and power.

A typical notice would read: “Would you like to help us make a difference? Our ‘Conserve to Preserve’ programme helps us to save water and energy in all of our laundry facilities. It’s really simple if you’d like to help… We give you the choice for when you would like to have your linens and towels collected and changed. Just leave this card on your pillow in the morning – with instructions!”

Surely, this is not demanding too much from one’s customers, particularly considering the ever dwindling supply of water, electricity and various other resources that are usually non-renewable and whose availability costs many communities, governments and nations a fortune.

Once upon a time, the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) used to run periodic notices in the media mainly reminding its customers and the larger public that they stood to benefit financially and otherwise by attending to simple matters such as turning off the lights where there was enough light or switching off power altogether where it was not actually needed.

Suggesting that this was being done simply because that was the only survival option a cash-trapped government-run agency in a poor country was left with would be hardly convincing.

For the record: preaching and practising such prudence is literally part of tradition in Japan, the US and Germany and many other resource-rich economic and industrial giants one could think of.

As we fight to stand on our own two feet economically, frugality is one of the weapons that will see us through the challenges we are faced with. Exploiting the natural resources we are blessed will definitely help, but only if we inject enough patriotism and careful thought into whatever strategies we devise with the aim of speeding up our social and economic development.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN