Since the spring of 1970 when it was founded, Earth Day (22 April) has become an annual event to honour and celebrate the planet while bringing attention to its ever-pressing environmental issues.
While it can be easy to accept defeat, given all the bad news about climate change, it’s important to never give up and remember that every little green step matters.
So, here are eight easy ways to celebrate the planet we live on – each of which will help you become even more eco-conscious and sustainable on Earth Day and beyond:
1. DITCH SINGLE-USE PLASTICS
Let’s begin with the basics: just say no to single-use plastics, at least for Earth Day. Simply avoid plastic bags, bottles, containers, and utensils that get immediately disposed off after using. The world is drowning in plastic, and you can easily do your part not to add to it.
Beyond Earth Day, make it a habit to bring a reusable bag for shopping, a stainless steel or glass water bottle, or even your own reusable cutlery on your fast-food runs. You can even go the extra mile by supporting zero waste stores like Live Zero that sell items without any packaging.
2. LIVE BY THE 3Rs
Reduce, reuse, and recycle – this is a mantra that everyone should internalise. Reduce the amount of items you buy, especially on Earth Day when many companies are using it as yet another commercial opportunity to push products on consumers.
Reuse items as many times as you can, and recycle what you might normally throw away. Learn to separate recyclables from your trash and drop them off at the different drop-off points around Hong Kong.
See also: 8 Things You Should Never Recycle
3. SHOP SUSTAINABLY
If you do decide to shop on Earth Day, that’s okay, too. Just try to make sure that you shop with sustainability in mind. Not all brands are created equally – some are made using processes that are friendly to the planet, while some are not (we’re looking at you fast fashion). The key is to be smart and discerning.
Before buying something, ask yourself if you really need (or want) it and research the brand’s environmental practices on sites like Good On You. It’s an extra step, but one that can make a whole lot of difference for the planet – not to mention your wallet.
4. Cut down on meat
Did you know that the meat industry accounts for 60% of all greenhouse gases coming from food production? In fact, according to a recent report, raising livestock for food in the EU produces more greenhouse gases than all the vehicles in the trading block!
The solution cannot be more obvious: it’s time to drop or lessen meat from your diet, and shift to plant-based food – at least on Earth Day. We’re not asking you to go cold turkey though! Start off gradually by sampling different meat-free recipes including Impossible Food’s plant-based meat products, and before you know it, you’ll be healthier for it.
See also: The Best Vegan Burgers in Hong Kong
5. Walk or take public transportation
If there’s any city in the world made for walking, it’s Hong Kong. Its size and efficient public transportation system makes it super easy to get around on foot – meaning you won’t have to get stuck in traffic with the rest of the city on Earth Day.
Take every opportunity to leave your car in the garage, or simply walk or take the tram or MTR. You can even invest in a good, foldable bike, which can be brought on the trains for those longer distances.
6. Get outdoors
Get some extra steps in on Earth Day by taking a hike to any of Hong Kong’s numerous trails. This is the perfect season to get out and start appreciating more of the city’s green landscape – before things heat up for summer!
Spending time with nature (and hopefully, among the local wildlife) not only helps lower your stress, but also allows you reflect on the beauty of Hong Kong and why it’s important to preserve it (and the earth) for future generations.
7. Plant something
Make the world a greener place by planting something on Earth Day – whether it’s a seed, sprout or even a flower by your windowsill. Not only is this a great project to look after beyond Earth Day itself, it’ll be a reminder of why you started your sustainability journey in the first place.
8. Get social & Spread the word
One of the best and most underrated ways to support Earth Day is to spread the word – and what better way to do so than on social media? Make sure you’re following us @8shadesofficial on Instagram for quick and easy tips on sustainable living that you can share with friends an family.
You can also join environmental organisations and meet like-minded individuals to create an even bigger impact to your community, such as Plastic Free Seas, Clean Air Network or the Hong Kong chapter of the World Wildlife Fund.
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