“Every single individual matters,
every single individual makes some impact on the planet every single day
and we have a choice as to what kind of difference we are going to make.”

Jane Goodall in Google’s Earth Day-2018 doodle

2015 saw Singapore along with 194 other nations sign up for the Paris Climate Agreement or COP21. [Read here to know about it.] Fast forward to Nov 2017, Hon. Mr. Masagos Zulkifli, Singapore’s Minister for Environment and Water Resources [MEWR], declared  2018 as the year of Climate Action. The primary objective being to raise awareness among individuals and households on how they can play a role in helping Singapore meet 2 key targets of –controlling carbon emissions and reducing carbon footprint. This with the ultimate goal of moving towards achieving the COP21 commitments made by the island nation. 

Want to know what YOU along with your family can do to make a positive impact and fight the imminent threat of climate change? Read on.

To help contain Carbon emissions, you can

1. Practice 7 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle [List of what can and can’t be recycled in Singapore], Rehome, Replant and Rot! Adoption of the 7R’s in this order will lead to less waste, less energy consumption for incineration/recycling and hence less CO2 released into the atmosphere

2. Ensure efficient water usage: Make some easy-to-adopt changes in your water consumption habits- cut showers to 5 mins, switch to bucket baths (even better), brush using water in a cup (instead of running water from the tap), use natural cleaning detergents [ETL No 9, Bio-home, baking soda and vinegar, tea seed powder(Here’s how)and the like] and reuse the water from laundry/ washing dishes to water non-edible plants and for flushing. 

teaseed for washing dishes
Tea Seed Powder can be used as shampoo, makeup remover, facial cleanser, laundry powder, dish washing detergent and more!

3. Use electricity mindfully [Save $ too]:

Lighting: Opt for natural lighting as far as possible. Remember the sun is a renewable and free source of light. For lighting up your home and office, consider LED light bulbs [Ikea LED story here] as they use between 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescents, and can last 3-25 times longer.

Cooling: Fans are usually effective in most homes in Singapore. If you must use the air conditioning, please do not freeze your home/ work place – cold offices create uncomfortable settings, making it harder to work! Did you know that nearly 80% of households and 100% of offices, schools and shopping malls in Singapore use air conditioners which are emitting greenhouse gases that are threatening to melt the snow in the ‘Aircon of the world- the Antarctic’?! Help fight this by increasing the temperature of the aircon in your room by 2 degrees today! [Read more on Up2degrees]

Appliances: When buying new electrical appliances, opt for those with high energy efficient ratings and more ticks. Reading the energy label in Singapore is easy with the ‘how to guide‘ by NEA, Singapore.  When their life is over – do not trash the electronics: recycle them by using the collection bins around the city.

Want to be efficient in your electricity consumption, have fun along the way and win prizes worth $60,000 in total? Join NEA’s energy Saving challenge here.

4. Support restaurants and eateries that use sustainable palm oil: Sustainable palm oil is produced by companies without inflicting any harm on the environment. It is certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The list of Singapore restaurants that use RSPO palm oil here [Big thanks, PM Haze]

Next, let’s talk about carbon footprint. First off, check your personal carbon footprint on this calculatorIf it is high, here is what you can do to lower it

1. Make use of the vibrant public transport network in the Lion city: MRT and LRT lines make travel relaxing, efficient and cost-effective. The trains are complemented perfectly by the buses on various routes. Use the MyTransport.SG mobile app for real time arrival information on bus timings, approx fare calculation for journeys, road closures, etc. Not to forget the wonderful park connector network (PCN) all through Singapore where you can walk or ride on a shared bike.

If you are driving a car, please make your trip carbon efficient by moving in a group. Opt for energy-efficient cars such as hybrid vehicles (Toyota Prius, Honda Vezel, Lexus NX). For those willing to dish out $$$, the 100% electric Telsa has arrived in Singapore! 

If you are using a taxi service – opt for carpool where possible – check out with GrabHitch. Better yet, opt for an electric car carpool – BlueSG – to support start-ups that support cleaner transport!

Not sure how to get from point A to point B? Use the Singapore Map app.

pulau ubin pesta ubin singapore biking around town2. Eat and consume mindfully: Always assess needs vs wants when you are overtaken by an immense desire to own something. If you must buy, buy local, ethically and sustainably sourced. Remember to be fashionable doesn’t mean to wear new. Take a peek at this list of organic restaurants and this list of sustainable fashion brands in Singapore, both put together by Honeycombers.

3. Offset your carbon-footprint: First up, try to fly less. If you must fly, fly coach. Anytime you book your tickets for air travel, offset your carbon footprint. Tips here.

4. Bring your own bag, water bottle, coffee cup and takeaway boxes: Just invest in a light foldable bag or make one yourself from a preloved t-shirt like this -carry it when you go shopping. Planning to dine or take away tea/coffee out, keep a collapsible food grade box in your bag. You can easily find reusable bottles, coffee cups and collapsible boxes at IKEA or Takashimaya Singapore.

hand made Fabric bags for grocery
Easy to sew home made fabric bags for fruit and vegetable shopping

We are sure we have given you enough food for thought with this article. Why not start by taking a pledge to make a positive change to address climate change today? CLICK here to go to the MEWR website and make a measurable and realistic pledge today!

MEWR climate action 2018 pledge
Take a pledge today!

-Lara 

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