Get engaged in three Green Acts
YOUTH GREEN X-CHANGE: YOUTH IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
“Planet Earth – it’s the only home we have.” Even though we know this to be true, how do we actually think, feel and act about this?
Maybe we could start by asking ourselves simple questions: are we consuming more than what we need? Are we acting as if we had more than one Earth?
A talk by Tzu Chi foundation at the Youth Green X-Change seminar kickstarted last year served as an eye-opener. Knowing now that very little lifestyle adjustments can bring about huge beneficial changes, the talk is very much worth sharing.
The essence of the talk was about integrating or taking pledges on three green acts: to practice mindful eating, to live environmentally-friendly lifestyles and to choose frugal living.
ACT 1 : MINDFUL EATING
√ Less Meat, More Veggies: Try vegetarianism or if becoming a vegan is too much to ask for, eat more vegetables and reduce your meat intake because our diet options contribute to global warming.
Livestock rearing is among the largest contributor of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) in global food production and cattle are known as the most GHG intensive of all livestock types. With meat, especially beef, being a Malaysian diet staple diet, a high percentage of our beef requirements are still being imported from other parts of the world.
√ Buy low carbon food: A low carbon diet minimises emission of GHG released from the production, packaging, processing, transportation, preparation and disposal processes.
Choosing to eat less meat and cheese, eating locally grown food, consuming less processed and packed food as well as consuming proper portions to avoid waste are the characteristics of a low carbon diet.
√ Reduce food waste: As much as Malaysia is a food haven, it apparently is also a giant food dump. Thousands of tonnes of food and kitchen waste goes to the landfill everyday and this simply indicates that we are consuming more than we need.
It is not only a form of resource wastage, but decaying food and kitchen waste generates GHG emission during the decomposition process. So, eating compassionately is extremely important.
ACT 2: ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY LIVING
√ Environmental friendly living help to heal planet earth and conserve resources. Simple changes to our lifestyles can curb unwanted environmental changes. Although changing one or two simple daily habits may seem very difficult, it is certainly not impossible.
√ Ride a bike to work, walk to a nearby destination, carpool more and take public transportation whenever possible, it greatly helps reduce dangerous smoke emissions from vehicles and keeps the climate cool. The transportation sector is known to be a major sector contributing to carbon dioxide emission in the country. Other positive benefits are riding and walking promotes good help, while carpooling and using of public transportation encourages socialising.
√ Conserve water and electricity. Adjust air conditioners to a comfortable degree of 26 to 28 degrees Celsius where it runs at its optimal performance level. Every single unnecessary degree cooler utilises more energy.
√ Reduce paper consumption, with so many resources available online; consider reading news through reliable online media webpages and print on both sides of the paper. Every 50 kilogrammes of newspaper or equivalent consumes pulp from one 20 year old tree.
ACT 3: FRUGAL LIFESTYLE
√ Live simple and healthy, buy only what you need. A well-planned shopping day out saves money and resources. This includes buying items from a thrift store. Do your bit by also donating and recycling to extend product lifespan.
√ Given an option, choose to stop using disposable products, Instead; practice the use of reusable utensils and carrying reusable bags everywhere you go.
Better choices benefit ecology, society and the economy, now and in the future. We are all in this together and with change in perspectives, thoughts and action, planet Earth can certainly continue to provide enough for everyone for a longer time. The remaining thing to do is for us to make a choice together, a choice to give the earth a chance to heal.
The Youth Green X-Change is a programme by Natural Resources and Environment Board Sarawak, Angkatan Zaman Mansang Sarawak, World Wide Fund for Nature (Malaysia), Department of Environment Sarawak, Teacher’s Education Institute- Batu Lintang Campus, Trienekens ( Sarawak) Sdn. Bhd.