MYROLE RTM1- Featured GrASS on 25 Jan 2011, 330pm

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Dear Friends,

We here at GrASS need your help to help us gather the below mentioned items to help us raise funds for our shelter and other independent pet rescuers.

The items are:

Scrap Paper
Old Newspapers
Old Magazines
Unwanted uncooked/raw Acidic Fruits ( Oranges, pineapples, lime,lemons)
Unwanted uncooked/raw fruits
Unwanted uncooked/raw Vegetables
Brown Sugar
Rice Bran
Red Earth
Glass Jars/Plastic containers with lids
Cardboard boxes (any other cardboard materials)
Aluminium Cans
Expired Food Products

For more ways on how or what items you can donate to help please visit HERE

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Article: Driven by a conscience

Tuesday August 4, 2009


Going for a hybrid car is a conscious decision to save the environment and has little to do with rising petrol prices.

IT used to be that only publicity seekers or sanctimonious politicians bought green cars. But the auto landscape is slowly changing as fuel prices continue to be uncertain and people become more serious in their efforts to preserve the environment.

Though the price of hybrid cars remain daunting for most Malaysians, a small group has opted for them. There are now some 150 Honda Civic Hybrids zipping around the country. The car received lukewarm response when it was launched here in August 2007 but sales became brisk after prices were revised in March along with a facelifted 1.3L model. Unlike in the United States where celebrities like Leo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz were among the first to buy hybrids, the Malaysian owners are mainly urban folk who genuinely want to shrink their carbon footprints and not merely spout greenspeak.

Conscientious lot: (From left) Rahah Othman and husband Ahmad Mirza Hamzah; Ng Pei Theng, her father Ying Loong and brother Ng Wei Jien; and Lawrence Williams standing proud with their Honda Civic Hybrid cars.

Architect Ahmad Mirza Hamzah was second in line to sign up for the car when it was launched and actually had to explain to the salesman what the hybrid was all about.

"When the Civic Hybrid was brought in, I jumped at the chance to buy the car. I drove it for nine months. Now my wife Rahah drives it," he says.

Much of it has to do with government policies, which Ahmad says, hasn't done much to encourage green habits.

"There are no tax exemptions or rebates for companies which decide on adopting more environmentally friendly measures. For instance, I try to advocate green plans for my buildings but that's all on my own accord and there's no incentive at policy level, much less for buying a green car. In California, tax relief and longer warranty periods are offered for hybrids," adds Ahmad, 48.

He's kicking himself as the price of the hybrid has since dropped from about RM162,000 to RM129,980 thanks to the waiver on import duty and 50% exemption on excise duty for hybrid CBU (completely built up) vehicles below 2,000cc offered in the Budget 2009. Ahmad consoles himself, saying "what to do, that's my commitment to the environment."

The cheaper price was all Ng Ying Loong, who's in his 50s, needed to persuade him to buy the car for his daughter, Pei Theng.

"We were looking at the car last year but thought the price tag was too steep. When Honda dropped prices six months ago, it was a no brainer and we signed up immediately," says Ng, managing director of property developer Mudajaya Group.

The Civic Hybrid is the third car for the family, after a Mercedes S320 and Toyota Vios. Getting a hybrid is logical since the family is already on the green path. "We often take part in tree planting events and practise recycling at home. I am building my new office and trying to use solar panels and other green concepts. It's certainly not more cost-effective but it's what we believe in," says Ng.

Pei Theng, 24, who's also in the construction line, says: "It was never a matter of saving petrol costs but rather, saving the environment. People have questioned why we bothered with a hybrid and I tell them it's about reducing the carbon footprint. When I was studying in Britain, I was encouraged to recycle and adopt green habits, so it was a matter of carrying on now that I'm back home."

Lawrence Williams, 43, who works in a bank, followed the evolution of hybrid cars keenly before deciding to get the Civic three months ago.

"I thought about the interior of the car and the finishes, as well as how much plastic and environmentally-friendly materials were used. I had a Honda Accord preciously and the Hybrid was a logical decision when I wanted to change cars. The salesman tried to push a CRV to me though and didn't understand why I wanted a lower-performing car," he says with a laugh.

All the hybrid owners agree that driving a hybrid isn't about car performance or even better fuel consumption.

"A full tank lasts about a month," says Ahmad. "The car gives about eight to 14km per litre for town driving, depending on driving styles and about 18km per litre for long distances.

"It probably has a low resale value and while they say you get back your cost in eight years' time after saving on petrol, the battery would probably run out in about six years. And that costs about RM18,000. So really, there's very little performance to shout about and it is purely a conscious decision to be greener. I've no complains as driving is smooth and there are quite a few safety features thrown in. Starting the car is amazing and friends have marvelled at the silence," adds Ahmad.

Student Ng Wei Jien, 19, who sometimes drives his sister Pei Theng's car, finds he gets more mileage compared to her.

"You have to re-learn certain driving methods so that you can recharge the battery more efficiently. I also try to move at a constant speed while Pei Theng, who's stuck in jams more often, has to drive according to traffic situations," he says.

The Civic Hybrid was not Michele Lu's top choice but she gave in to her husband's selection. "When we first got the car, our friends asked us 'Why?' because like myself, they too have the perception that it is a low capacity car with only a 1.3L engine and has no power. My perception has definitely changed now. I am very impressed as there is pick-up and it gives good speed performance. In fact, it drives like a 1.8L vehicle and it is so much smoother and quieter," says Lu.

Globally, it is not only individuals who are buying hybrids. Some companies, in particular those that have adopted policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, are reaping the benefits offered by hybrids. In Britain, British Airways and Ikea are examples of companies that have shifted their fleet of vehicles to the Civic Hybrid.

In Malaysia, Honda aims to sell 300 units of the hybrid by the end of this year.

"With the reduction in taxes for hybrid vehicles, we will see more motorists opting for green vehicles as price is no longer prohibitive. Honda is committed to continuously developing technologies which are gentle on the environment yet fun to drive," says managing director and CEO, Toru Takahashi.

Meanwhile, Malaysians who want to drive ecologically will be happy to know that they will soon have another hybrid choice – the Toyota Prius will hit the local market this month.

This article was taken from: The Star Online: Go Green Live Green 4 August 2009

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