Where are our points?

Posted by Shuyu Feng

How can we help reducing contributions to the current environmental problems? A lot of companies now are offering green products and energy saving products, but they are so expensive. How can people afford buying those products while our economy is not doing so well these days? As I was surfing the internet last week, I found out that Japan actually pays their people to encourage energy saving. I think that is an excellent idea for Japan’s government has in helping both the environment and economy.

The program that Japan started is called Kyoto Eco-Action Points Program. The general idea is for people to save energy and earn points. This great program actually started in October 2008. A committee for environmentally friendly activities in Kyoto which is called Kyoto Carbon Dioxide Reduction Bank, issued points to families based on the amount of CO2 they reduced. People are able to earn points when they reduced certain amount of CO2 in their energy consumption, such as usage from electricity and gas. These points that they saved up then can be used as shopping credits at participating stores locally. The Kyoto Eco-Action Points program is actually the first program in Japan which mainly aimed to significantly reduce the energy consumptions for households and CO2 emissions for the country as a whole

The Eco-Action Points Program also issued points for individuals in purchasing energy-saving products or services. Customers can exchange earned points for energy-saving products and services as well. Points were given to families that install solar energy equipment, such as solar water heating systems and photovoltaic power generation systems at their homes. Households that make an effort to reduce their electricity and gas consumptions on their bills will receive points based on how much less energy they used. The results then will be compared to the same month from last year. Households would have opportunity to look over how they did. It’s fortunate for Japanese to have such a great program in contributing to the environment. It’s always good to see what other countries are doing and learn from their good practices. The points from this program not only encourage people to use energy efficient products; it also teaches people how they can make an impact to the world we are living in.

So now, what about our points? Don’t we also need a program like this in America? Don’t you want a green home yourself with a lot of fancy energy-saving electronics? Yes, we need to make this happen. We must show our efforts in reducing environmental problem. We need to show everyone else on the globe that we Americans care. Our behaviors do count, and we do have the ability to make a change. We can do this by sharing this great idea to friends and families, and promote it with letters to congressmen. Share this with your employers; perhaps they can get it start in your departments today. I believe we will make a change. Start small, and we’ll make it big. Our points are waiting for our actions. So act now!

- Japan's Environment Ministry Selects Projects for Eco-Action Points Program http://www.japanfs.org/en/pages/027112.html