my ‘adult’ promises to the environment

Happy Earth Day!

Those who know me for a long time would know that I’m sort of a mini evangelist for protecting the environment. For my 21st birthday, Celine wrote to me “… the girl that taught me the virtue of recycling,” which reminded me in years of how much I used to nag the girls to bin their F&N apple juice bottles into the plastic recycling bin during recess (hahah). Later, living in Japan thought me even more about recycling the ‘proper’ way (little things such as rinsing and opening up tetra packs before disposing them) which I have come to adopt as much as I can in my recycling practices in Singapore.

As much as I love the environment and urge the people around me to take care of it in my own small ways, my actions pale in comparison to my friends’. Among them, I have always harboured low-key respect to two people in particular. They don’t know each other and are from completely different circles of friends, yet there is so much in common in their love for our nature and their initiatives to make a difference to the environment.

G is an avid diver and on her last expedition took weeks-long leave from work to go on a underwater shark conversation project. Whenever I receive an Instagram or Facebook message from her, besides feminist post and cat picture (lol) it’s very likely to be a video about 1) the beautiful underwater world seen through diving cameras or 2) horrible things people are doing that are harming our earth/earthlings. She has been feeding me so much random information that I am much more aware of the predicaments of the marine environment and sea creatures, and have started growing a soft spot for marine life.

YC, whom I got acquainted and became very good friends with in Tokyo thanks to our shared love for pottery and film photography, studied environmental sciences and is making waves in the seas of Australia and New Zealand now. She can also confidently name forest animals and trees it puts my effort as a lover of the environment to shame…

I personally know people who are passionate for other causes such as healthcare (one interned for the UN and one works for World Toilet Organisation – I know, right?), human rights, and more. My point is, these people have a cause they stand for and they are doing things about it. I really should, too.

So this Earth Day, I am pledging to be more pro-active in my chosen cause, that of environment protection!

My ‘adult’ promises for the environment:

  • Buy less and buy more consciously
  • Reduce food waste

I say “adult” because now that I am financially independent and have a more grownup and nuanced view of how our world works, I can make choices that are suitable for my lifestyle and simultaneously in line with my personal values.

1. Buy less and buy more consciously

I stayed clean from shopping for clothes for a while – and I am very proud of myself for it – and my first buy after the hiatus is a piece of ethically made wrap dress! It costed a bomb but it is really flattering and makes me feel good* to know that it is ethically sourced and sustainably created. What these mean: materials used are not unsustainably acquired (damage not wrecked on the environment) and labour is not exploited in the production process (you’d know who made your clothes where).

I think sustainable fashion is fast gaining traction in Singapore (seems like there was quite a bit of media exposure last week) and I can’t wait to see what new sartorial choices I can have in the near future because most of the ethical clothing I see so far are more toward bohemian style, which isn’t quite what I fancy. For now, I browse Gather&See, EsseReformation and ZERRIN.

2. Reduce food waste

As someone who lives alone (the brother is more or less a phantom), I try to cook as much as I can. But a collective woe people living alone would understand is always having to buy too much food then waste it in the end simply because they don’t come in smaller packagings. Just today, I had to throw out 2 bags of wasted food because I couldn’t finish consuming them by the expiration date and/or because they went bad because I could finish them.

I pledge to by hook or by crook find ways to achieve close to zero food waste! I’m halfway there because I always finish my food – trained by my parents to always finish whatever’s in my plate – and I have the habit of asking for less rice/noodles since I know I wouldn’t/shouldn’t eat so much carbohydrates. The other half, I will make it up by not giving in to ordering food/eating out when there are ingredients waiting in my fridge. I will also be more mindful when grocery shopping, to buy ingredients that are more versatile for different ways of cooking! Also I will try to freeze things before they go bad so that I can keep them for longer.

I have to put it out here though, that I can’t go to the extremes and will not compromise certain things that I consider extremely important. These include turning on two lights because I cannot function – when it comes to work – in dim environment and buying books because to me, tactile is a part of leisure reading.

Also, *I know when I say buying sustainable clothes makes me feel good it sounds like I’m doing this more for myself than for the environment. I guess human beings are complex and to be honest, yes I’m doing this because it makes me feel good, so perhaps saving the environment is only second to the gratification I feel. But hey, they work hand in hand right? Is that not why superheroes are superheroes (besides Saitama maybe)?

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