Being environment friendly is indeed to be Halal conscious.
We have been taught in numerous verses of the Quran and Hadith to be environment friendly ! The current worldwide emphasis on this is a good opportunity for us to focus on these teachings, and see how far we can go in adhereing to them.
Understanding implications of what we use in a Hotel
Saving energy has to be a part of an environmentally conscious traveller's plans. Today, people are often bombarded with messages to help conserve the environment. We all know the basics, like turning off lights, air conditioning, heaters and laptops when not using them go a long way when practiced every day. During holidays and travel, much of this tends to be forgotten; but in a way, a traveller must be even more careful than while staying at home.
It is true that however much we use electricty, water etc.. in a hotel, we still pay the same for our stay; but our accountability of what we use in this world lies somewhere else and not based on how much we pay or whether we can afford to waste.
During our travels we may be forced to use appliances that may be less efficient than what we have at home; or use appliances we would not normally use. We may also be tempted to use them more as we still pay the same rates for them no matter how much we use. However, for the energy we use in hotels, there is still a power plant somewhere generating it, most likely with non-renewable sources. As a result, we all need to be just as careful in a hotel as we are at home.
We all know that turning off the lights help, but how much does it help? How much is this compared to various appliances?
For example, an average hairdryer might use 1200 Watts, or 1.2 kilojoules per second. In five minutes, it will have consumed the same amount of energy as one 60 Watt incandescent light bulb for almost two hours. So just using a hairdryer fewer times might end up saving more energy than turning off your light bulbs.
It does not mean that light bulbs should not be turned off, but that one should be aware of how much energy they are using, both at home and in a hotel. So next time a random appliance might be used, just check, how much energy will we save with an alternative? How much energy will we save turning off a laptop? A water heater? A television? Of course, appliances are not the only thing one should think about in a hotel room; simple things like drawing the night curtains early (after Fajr salaath!) means you could switch off the lights as early as possible.
Then there are the things travellers don't need, or just don't realise; there is no need; for example, to leave the water heater on all day just for a single shower. We often turn the tap on full, when we could do the same with even less than half of it. Additionally, in some hotels now, it is also common to let guest choose when to get the sheets changed, yet most of us do not use this option and therefore have them changed every day. At home however, this would be seen as unthinkable.
Here are a 8 tips to be environment friendly in a Hotel
- Don't have the sheets washed every day!
- Switch on only the lights needed, not all the lights in the room. The hotels have plenty of them in a room!
- Draw the curtains early in the morning and turn off the lights when there is enough daylight.
- Turn the tap to the amount that you need, not full.
- Turn on the water heater only when you need it (i.e when you can indeed control it).
- Don't have the TV on while in the washroom taking a shower!
- Don't leave the laptop on when you are not going to use it for sometime.
- Turn off all the lights and the TV when leaving the room.
Lastly, it is good to check our appliances, find out what they cost to the environment and act on it. It may even help us out with our electricity bills at home. The small, simple actions taken to help the environment are often the actions that matter; and for the traveller, the responsibility, and potential to change is perhaps the greatest.
Most importantly we are accountable for what we consume. Let us all be conscious of this while travelling too!
Please share your thoughts and comments on how we could be environment conscious while being travellers.