Graphic Posters Help Encourage People To Save Electricity

December 19, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. convenience store (n.) [kuhn-veen-yuhns] [stawr, stohr] – a small store that is open for many hours of the day
Example: Mini Stop and 7-Eleven are common convenience stores in the Philippines.
Additional question: What are the most common convenience stores in your country?
2. cut down (v. phrase) [kuht] [doun] – to lessen or decrease (usually usage of something)
Example: He needs to cut down fatty food in his diet to avoid heart problems.
Additional definition: This phrase could also mean ‘to alter by removing extra or additional fittings’ (e.g., They had to cut down the car for the race.).
3. periodic (adj.) [peer-ee-od-ik] – occurring at regular time intervals
Example: There are periodic outbreaks of disease every summer.  
Additional definition: You can also use the words ‘recurrent, regular, repeated, occasional, seasonal’.

4. intensify (v.) [in-ten-suh-fahy] – to become stronger or more extreme
Example: The search for flood survivors intensified as night approached.    
Additional definition: You can also use the words ‘heighten, deepen, increase’.

5. measure (n.) [mezh-er] – an action planned or done to achieve a desired result  
Example: Placing traffic signs on roads is a safety measure to prevent accidents.    
Additional question: What other measures do you think prevent accidents?

Read the text below.

Japanese graphic designers have made posters encouraging people to save energy, also known as setsuden.

These posters appear in many places across Tokyo—from convenience stores to temples. People have responded positively to the message in the posters. Vending machine lights have been turned off, and operations of escalators have been reduced. At home, people use uchiwa or round paper fans instead of air-conditioners to battle the summer heat.

For years, Japan has been cutting down electricity use during summer. However, after the Fukushima nuclear crisis that caused periodic blackouts, the measures to save energy have intensified.   

Recently, the Japanese government ordered a 15% cut in electricity use in Tokyo and Tohoku to avoid blackouts and power shortages. According to Environment Minister Ryu Matsumoto, the reduction will be permanent to encourage a change in people's lifestyles.

Big companies also adopted energy saving measures. In Casio, the weekend day offs have been exchanged to Wednesdays and Sundays to ease up the power load during the working week. Meanwhile, Hitachi and Kyocera grew curtains of plants in their factory walls and encouraged their employees to do the same at home.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the government policy on cutting back energy use by 15%? Please explain your answer.
·         What other policies can be made to reduce power usage?

Discussion B

·         Do you find public information posters appealing? Please explain your answer.
·         What are other ways to encourage people to save electricity?

December 19, 2011