President Trump’s immigration policies have been dominating the coverage of his first few weeks in office.
But one of his less-covered controversies, though perhaps more devastating in the long-term, is his war on Climate Change. His desire to “abolish the Environmental Protection Agency”, as reported in The Guardian, threatens to take the USA off its course as a leader in protecting and preserving the planet.
And with China “poised to step up and become a new global leader on climate change,” according to Beijing environmentalist Li Shuo quoted in SCMP, Hong Kong has the chance to be a part of leading the way in protecting the planet.
But for many of us living in Hong Kong, there doesn’t seem to be that much that we can actually do to make a difference. We live in apartments; we can’t put solar panels on our roofs. We already take public transport; how can we cut emissions?
Here’s my top five things that Hong Kong residents can do to combat Global Warming:
The Environmental Protection Department predicts that Hong Kong’s landfills will be full by 2019. That’s two years away! Hong Kongers produce over 1.36kg of waste per person each day. Compared with a Tokyo citizen who produces 0.77kg, we can do a lot better.
Even in the past few years, recycling facilities have improved, and it is becoming more convenient to make sure that waste gets properly segregated. So don’t just put all of your trash into one bag and leave it in your apartment stairwell. Get yourself a few “bags for life” – one each for glass, paper and plastic, and take a few minutes each week to sort it out and save the planet.
2. Live in your Environment
Life doesn’t have to be a perfect 24° C all the time! The energy we use in air conditioning and heating our homes is a big contributing factor to climate change.
Commit to using less air conditioning; maybe only turn it on in one room, and use fans instead of air conditioning on cooler days or at certain hours. And if you want to go a little further, talk to your colleagues about how to restrict air-con use at the office.
3. Go Veggie
I have never loved the idea of giving up meat all together, but meat production is one of the world’s most polluting industries, with some estimates that meat and dairy produce up to 51% of all greenhouse gases!
If you can’t give it up altogether, at least buy less, buy organic and buy local. Which brings me on to my next point…
4. Buy Local
In today’s globalised world, it’s second nature to have products from almost every continent on our tables and in our wardrobes. But the energy used to transport everything around the world is staggering.
I’m not just talking about local food, though this should be a priority. We live in a region that is a massive manufacturer – aim to buy locally produced items from locally sourced goods.
5. Offset your Carbon Costs
This is a little bit less “greenpeace” but actually I think it’s one of the best things we can do: donate to carbon offsetting projects, like the UN’s “Carbon Neutral Now” program.
You can calculate your carbon footprint easily, and make a donation that will be used to help developing countries who cannot afford to reduce emissions on their own. So make it an annual donation to the planet, and once you’ve reduced, reused and recycled, offset what you still have used by giving a gift!