It seems that the consequences of our actions are now coming for us, faster and grimmer than ever. Just reading the news would give us an idea of what exactly is happening around the world in terms of global warming, climate change and waste problems.
Perhaps, one of the most difficult pills to swallow was when known veteran activist, environmentalist, historian and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough said these seven words: “Humans are a plague on the Earth.”
This hit us right in the chest, and we like to do more than just giving ‘1 like = 1 prayer’. So how do we start, or more importantly, where do we start?
We here at travel360.com have done our research, and we’d like to share them with you. Together, we can kickstart a sustainable journey in life, and make the world a better place! It’s all quite easy, actually, such as:
1. Phasing out the Use of Single-Use Plastics Such as Plastic Straws, Cups, Bottles from Our Lives
Replace plastic by using alternatives such as metal straws, reusable cutlery, tumblers, reusable coffee cups, and so on. There are plenty of outlets in Malaysia that sell reusable and nature-friendly products such as The Hive, Nude The Zero Waste Store, A Bit Less and more.
2. Avoiding Cosmetics That Contain Micro-Beads
There could be micro-beads in your favourite scrubs or facial washes and as you could have already guessed from reading this list, they’re bad! They’re made of solid, manufactured plastic, are less than a millimetre in size and cannot degrade or dissolve in water. So that’s something to keep in mind: even if we literally wash these things off our face, they never really disappear. Sustainable beauty and hygiene products include offerings by brands such as The Mineraw, Kinder Soaps and even cult-favourite LUSH Malaysia.
3. Avoiding Disposable Razors and Use Razors That Let You Change Just the Blade
Something that seems so inconsequential such as razors add to general waste, slowly but surely, because it’s something you can’t recycle. So, next time you’re in the shower and find that your razor needs a change, make sure you pick up one that lets you change the blade instead of the entire device.
4. Saying No to Plastic Bags. Saying Yes to Alternatives Such as Reusable Cotton Bags
Our very own country has started and sustained the ‘no plastic bag’ ban, but while it works for most, there are instances in which our first thought is to just pay MYR0.20 for the extra bag. Pro tip? Keep a huge, cotton bag in your car or even in your bag just in case you need it to store something.
Event organisers nowadays tend to give these reusable bags as a free gift, or you can always get one from your nearest IKEA which is as posh as this designer bag..
5. Reducing the Consumption of Products That Use Too Much Plastic for Packaging
Remember the time boba tea craze was at its peak? Well, it still is popular. While it’s fine and dandy that people are excited about something, there are repercussions such as this:
What can we do about this? Bring our own cups/bottles, of course. If they don’t allow you to bring your own cup for the betterment of the environment, ask yourself this: “Are they really worth buying from then?”
6. Purchasing Electronics and Gadgets Smartly
Did you know that certain companies offer safe disposal and recycling policies when it comes to phones, tablets and other electronics? It’s best to keep this in mind the next time we dump our electronics for something newer, because it isn’t biodegradable — it just stays there…forever! When you’re purchasing a new phone or any other gadget, be sure to ask the company about their recycling policies. Otherwise, here are other options for you to recycle your old things: UrbanR Recycle+, SOLS Tech and T-Pot Electrical & Electronics.
7. Reconsidering Transport
Carpooling isn’t the only way you can actually make a difference. Once in a while, or if you can do it frequently, take public transport. Even when you drive, you can minimise carbon consumption (and parking fees) by parking your car in any Park-N-Ride nearby.
When making big purchases such as cars, consider hybrid cars or vehicles that aren’t gas guzzlers. Or if you don’t mind looking a little less cool, there’s always the kick scooter.
8. Avoiding or Boycotting Products That Endanger Wildlife
Just a gentle reminder to check your labels whenever you’re shopping for anything new, such as clothes or cosmetics. Some cosmetic lines, up until today, still test on animals (not to mention the use of child labour) and it is our duty and responsibility to avoid them at all costs.
9. Conserving Energy at Home
If and when you have the time, list down all your appliances at home, and find out whether they have energy-saving alternatives — such as light bulbs, or even air conditioners. Most of the time, these appliances will advertise this function with the energy-saving logo.
Also, here’s a tip: if you must use air conditioners, keep it to 24°C. This saves A LOT of energy and not to mention, electricity bills! And, if you’re looking to swap energy sources, keep in mind clean sources such as wind and solar (why not install solar panels at home?).
10. Adopting and Not Shopping
Perhaps the greatest impact you can make on another life, especially that of an animal, is to adopt them. Over two million pets are euthanised each year, and unfortunately, that number is growing. With that in mind, the next time you’re thinking of buying a pet from a breeder or a pet store, head over to your local shelter and become a sustainable pet owner.
11. Reducing Your Meat Consumption
It is indeed very tough to give up meat, especially for those who consider it to play a huge part in their daily diet. But if you ever question how that’s going to impact the world, the answer is this: A LOT. Reducing your meat and dairy intake is the single and biggest way you can reduce your impact on Earth. We’re not asking you to give it up completely. Maybe start by doing it once a week, and see how it goes? Baby steps, guys!
12. Inspiring People Around You to Make This Shift!
It’s always easier to get something done if you have a lot of people on your side, rooting for you and encouraging you. Why not suggest these ideas to your friends and family, and make an even greater impact, together? After all, we’re all in this together. We brought ourselves here, and now, it’s time for us to reverse the damage — together!