Wildlife conservationist Ivan Carter (from TV show Carter’s W.A.R.) popped down to Singapore last week and it reminded us to take a good hard look at our own everyday habits when it comes to conserving the environment and fighting climate change. We’ve all been guilty of complacency, perhaps using too much water or plastic, or turning a blind eye to issues we could do more about. So we thought we’d share some refresher tips (some from Ivan himself, and some that we all know but often forget to do) for how we can all play our part in environmental conservation.
There are some pretty hard truths out there and although we may not feel the direct effects of wildlife poaching or ever see the Great Pacific Garbage Patch first hand, we can still see the effects of climate change and the illegal wildlife trade (some effects are a little too obvious, lining the shelves of Chinese medicine halls or plopped in the soup slurped down by many during Chinese New Year). Unfortunately, there’s no escape from global consequences like the collapse of the ecosystem and global warming. In fact, witnessing more rainy days and rising sea levels is just the tip of the – gradually disappearing – iceberg.
While most of us can’t fly to Africa to stand between a speeding bullet and a rhino, there are a few things we can do. Small actions have a lot more impact than you may think… starting with less haze.
1. If we educate our kids to care about the environment and wildlife, they’ll grow up with a greener culture as the norm and devise more sustainable solutions for the earth. Schools have done a fantastic job so far, but we can’t leave all the educating to them. Learning starts in the home and there are plenty of easy ways to go green.
2. Be conscious about water use in the home, make water count twice (thrice, if possible!) and you won’t just be saving the planet, but money on your water bills too.
3. Keep an eye out for new exhibitions and conservation efforts happening around Singapore to learn more about the issues. There are some great exhibits on this month to remind us how scary pollution really is. Learn about ocean plastic pollution from the Sea Witch and Underwater Protectors at S.E.A. Aquarium’s Spooky Seas and Go Green for Wildlife at the new exhibit ‘The deadliest monster of our waters is our plastic waste’ at the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and River Safari.
5. Singapore’s supermarkets are on track to start charging for plastic bags (we hope!), but you can take the extra step and BYO bags to the supermarket. The numbers do add up when you imagine millions of people around the world doing the same thing every day. It makes a difference.
6. Got a house full of unused junk? Clear out and refresh your wardrobe by swapping clothes, recycle that old printer instead of dumping it and donate or exchange old textbooks on the new Share-a-Textbook app.
7. We lucked out this year, but if you’re against haze (and who isn’t?), you’ll want to support shops and brands that use sustainable palm oil. Not only that, tell companies that you’d like them to start using sustainable palm oil. It all starts with an email.
8. Vote with your dollar by supporting businesses that operate in a sustainable fashion, and products that don’t rely on illegal wildlife trading.
9. Next time you’re planning a weekend getaway, opt for more eco-friendly lodgings at these great resorts. You’ll get to be at one with nature and save it too!
10. Out on your own? There are loads of new bike sharing services around. Instead of being annoyed by the presence of the bikes, hop on one and save yourself the gym trip or cab fare, or grab a fuss-free Telepod e-scooter.
These are just small actions, but collectively, they do make a difference. If we don’t take action now, who knows – we may all have to move to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (it’s arguably around the size of France and some want it officially recognised as a country). We can either act now, or start packing.
Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:
How to recycle your wardrobe by clothes swapping
Where to recycle batteries, appliances and e-waste in Singapore
Donate used furniture, clothes, toys and books
Teach your kids to be eco-friendly
Everything you need to know about going organic