Tanglin Trust teenager, Christina, gives us her opinion on why saving the planet needs to be about taking action, not just clicking like on social media posts...
You’re browsing through Instagram stories, and you see your best friend, your neighbour, your dog sitter et al share a post advocating for environmental change. Everyone seems to be sharing these posts, they are all over social media. If you’ve been on Instagram in the last couple of weeks or so, you’ve probably encountered one of these posts: for every 1,000 likes, a tree will be planted, or for every like $1 will be given to children in need. But does it really work? It all seems very altruistic and while it’s for a good cause, it is also questionable in the face of the aim of getting millions, maybe billions of views.
Is it as good as it really seems?
Can a simple act of liking a photo, result to an increased percentage of oxygen in the air and save the planet? While we would love to believe that we can make a change and do something about the world we’re living in, these posts make teenagers think that by just liking a picture or video on Instagram, the environment is saved and they’ve done their part. It paints a very false image about the state of our planet in people’s minds, leaving them to believe that global warming is something constricted to a screen, not anything beyond that. Mainstream media is causing confusion among social media users, especially us teens who spend a significant amount of time on these platforms.
Why do teens suddenly care so much about the environment?
Our planet is collapsing under a tide of trash, plastic and human misuse, and we are sat back thinking that we’ve saved it because we give our clicks on social media, when in fact, we haven’t done anything tangible at all. In addition, some teenagers aren’t actually bothered at all about promoting environmental change, but they feign interest because saving the planet is a popular notion right now, and teens don’t like to feel left. To appear cool, they’re following what everybody else is doing, and that includes reposting and liking posts about the environment.
Like it or not?
These posts aren’t intentionally negative or misleading, and there are obviously many upsides to them including raising awareness of the adverse effects of climate change, warning people how very real these issues are, and prompting the masses to do something about our dying planet – immediately. And not all of the organisations buying into this form of gaining likes are as villainous as I’ve presented them. They’re probably more like The Avengers than Thanos. They attempt to slow down the effects of climate change by planting trees, which admittedly, does make a massive difference. Although planting trees isn’t the single solution to global warming, the organisations are still making an impact by bringing the issue of climate change to the forefront.
How teens can make a bigger change
Apart from liking a post on Instagram, teenagers can do so much more to make a legitimate and positive impact on our earth. The future of our planet is literally in our hands and instead of liking a post about planting trees, teens should take action and plant the trees themselves. There are plenty of ongoing environmental events happening in Singapore. LepakInSG is a great resource for environmental events and activities – all listed on one site!
Volunteer at NParks
Teens of any age can volunteer to take part in all sorts of green projects like gardening, reforestation through family-tree-planting sessions and clean up activities at mangrove swamps. It is always looking for more volunteers, so consider signing up now!
p. 6337 6062, e. [email protected]; www.facebook.com/The-Green-Volunteers-236893853025006
Trash Hero Singapore
Teens and adults can participate in beach clean-up sessions to help keep Singapore’s beaches free of trash. By joining Trash Heroes in an expedition to save the environment, you will be provided with gloves and garbage collection bags so you don’t have anything to worry about (although it’s always better to BYO)! You will also be able to learn about the effects that waste has on the global environment, so it’s the perfect way to do your bit for the environment.
After School Activities
Join after school environmental clubs that work towards the conservation and sustainability of our environment. For example, Tanglin Trust School has a Junior “Green Team” actively observing energy use within campus, as well as reminding the whole school about environmental responsibility. The older students – like the Year 12 Eco Group, Head Team, and IB ESS students – work to promote environmental awareness and activities. If your school doesn’t have an environmental club, you could persuade the appropriate school leaders to let you form one!
Make a difference at home
- Eat fish and poultry instead of beef and pork: skip farm produce that has a higher impact on the environment and switch to alternative protein sources such as nuts and organic soy which are a lot less damaging to the planet.
- Ditch the plastic: avoid buying products that use a lot of plastic and generate waste like individually-wrapped candies and snacks.
- Save energy: Turn off electrical devices when you don’t need them.
- Don’t waste water: don’t take long showers and don’t leave the tap running.
- Recycle: sort your trash to the appropriate recycling bins. This will ensure that we don’t end up clogging up our landfills – yuck!
- Don’t litter: this proves to have an incredibly damaging effect on the environment, for example, Singapore’s very own beaches have garbage piled up on its shorelines.
- Use reusable bags when you’re shopping: this reduces the amount of plastic you’re using and helps the environment a lot!
- Don’t waste paper or tissues: wasting paper cups is high tree-sin (sorry not sorry)!
Plan on going the extra mile?
If you’re really planning to commit yourself to saving animals from a variety of threats, including environmental degradation, consider adopting, and not just pets, but, from as low as three pounds a month, you can support an animal of your choice.
A time for change
“Humanity just won’t be able to cope with the world we are heading for,” Met Office Scientist Peter Stotts states. People and animals all over the globe are being affected by the extreme weather patterns right now, and it will just worsen with time if we don’t do something about it. Our planet is suffering, so let’s all work towards saving it while we can!
The climate is changing, so why aren’t we?
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