10 Ways to Save the Environment
Did you know that we're losing 18.7 million acres of trees - the equivalent of 27 soccer fields every minute? That is 50% of all the trees in the world gone in the past 100 years. Did you know that only 3% of Earth's water is fresh water? And at our current consumption rate, two thirds of humanity will face water shortages by 2025? Did you know that 500,000 square kilometers of ice (the size of two Texases) has melted off the Bering Sea? We are part of nature, and to betray nature is to betray ourselves. Let us join hands and commit to change in our small little ways to save our planet. [Source: World Wide Life]
1. Go Vegetarian
Not only is it healthier, going vegetarian is one of the most powerful things an individual can do to migitate the inevitable degradation of our planet. The problem with a heavily meat-centric diet is that it is extremely resource-intensive, as majority of our food are consumed by livestock to grow meat, hence creating more greenhouse emissions and hungry people in developing countries.
Did you know? Going vegetarian reduces risk of various chronic diseases, including cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart diseases. [Source: Harvard Health Publishing]
2. Thrift shopping
Going thrift shopping may be a refreshing alternative that not only saves costs but also the environment. Ditch fast fashion this season and give second-handed vintage stores some credit. Starting from HK $20 a piece, sift through Hong Kong's underrated treasure troves and you might find yourself a gem!
Thrift Mee & Gee at their various locations:
3. Bring your own tumbler
Starbuck's environmental-friendly incentive is a win-win situation. By just bringing your own tumbler, you save HK $4 on your bill while reducing disposable plastic and paper wastage. As more restaurants are beginning to adopt similar initiatives, we are constantly reminded to bring our own reusable bottle to avoid disposable plastics.
4. Electric Cars raise the Bar
Although some may argue that electric cars are expensive and require large amounts of energy to produce, it is definitely an investment worth considering in the future. These zero-emissions and efficient systems are quiet, sleek and the model of the future. It is time to move on to clean energy.
5. No More Plastic
Many hotels and restaurants alike are replacing plastic straws with compostable and degradable items (so have we). We should take ownership in daily lives. From grocery bags to reusable glass straws, there are plenty of creative alternatives to reduce plastic consumption.
6. Disposing Electronics
If you are dumping your old gadgets and computers and not recycling them, you are harming Mother Earth quite a bit. Lead, arsenic, mercury and other harmful substances may seep into Earth and contaminate our planet. Instead, be sure to recycle gadgets properly through organizations such as Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department.
7. Recycle.. PROPERLY!
Have you seen one of the many recycling bins around the city? How many of you are guilty of ignoring the signs and dumping your trash in the bin closest to you? Recycling properly is a small effort on our part to make a difference and it is imperative that everything is thoroughly washed out and uncontaminated. For instance, a cigarette butt in the plastic compartment contaminates the entire bin to the point that it is unfit for recycling in Hong Kong.
8. Say NO to Microbeads
Microbeads are tiny, exfoliating particles found in many cosmetics and daily toiletries that unfortunately get dumped in the oceans and eaten by some marine animals. The consequence is a contaminated food chain and a disrupted marine ecosystem. Some countries like UK have completely banned microbeads for good.
9. Leave your car at home
Fortunately in Hong Kong, public transportation is a whiz and it takes you to almost anywhere in Hong Kong. Take the MTR, bus, bike around or carpool (the more the merrier, no?). Plan your driving trips in advance to save gas, time and effort.
10. Changing the norm
Nothing spreads faster than word of mouth. Change starts from you. Together, let's make going green the new norm.
To donate to Hong Kong's various environmental organizations including World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong, Clean Air Network and Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, please click here.