Live A More Sustainable Life With Charlotte Mei
April 22, 2021
I’m sure you’ve read or heard about ‘sustainability’ spoken in news articles, advertisements and even conversations with family and friends these days, but what does it really mean?
To me, it means to live in a way where we are conscious of the impact of our actions, and to be mindful that our way of living is not costing Mother Earth a healthy future.
It may sound like a daunting subject to tackle (`climate fatigue’ exists!), but we all have a part to play, and can – with collective action – lessen the effects of the climate crisis.
Here are a few things I do in my personal life to lower my carbon footprint:
BYO (bring your own):
I have a few BYO staples in my everyday bag – a water bottle, a set of reusable cutlery, and a foldable tote bag. If I know I will be ordering something to-go (aka dabao), I pack my collapsible lunchbox or Stasher bag with me and a reusable coffee cup too. These are little actions that largely reduce the amount of single-use products that end up in the bins.
Ordering my usual lunch meals in my reusable lunchbox is easy!
These come in handy when I’m grabbing a quick bun from the bread shop before my Pilates class!
Eat more plant foods and less animal protein:
Reducing our intake of dairy and meat can have a big impact in lowering our carbon footprint. The production of these food items requires large amounts of natural resources like freshwater, drives deforestation (80% of global deforestation is a result of agricultural production), and is responsible for a large part of global greenhouse gases. Increasing our consumption of plant foods has great health benefits too – it provides us with vitamins and minerals, fibre, plant proteins, and healthy fats, all of which many of us are not getting enough of! I believe that we don’t have to strictly eliminate all animal products in order to make a meaningful impact; but we need everyone to move towards a dietary pattern that’s healthier for both ourselves and the planet. If you want to try out some plant-based recipes at home that are nutritious and delicious, you can check out a few of them on my website!
Easy Spicy Vegetarian Ramen
Shop at refilleries:
As much as I can, I try to shop package-free. This means shopping at stores like The Source Bulk Foods and UnPackt for certain ingredients, and The Social Space for household products (I really like their toasts and banana cake too!). Shopping in places like this helps to reduce the amount of packaging waste that ends up in the bins, and it also shows the industry that us consumers care about the issue.
Powering down at home:
Power generation is Singapore’s main source of greenhouse gasses, so we can certainly make a positive impact in this arena if we made more effort to power down. A few ways include turning off unused household appliances, powering down our ACs (ideally to 25C; or relying on the fan instead), and using cold wash laundry settings, amongst others.
Aside from these small steps to make as individuals, we can also help to shift the needle by speaking to our companies or even favourite stores and brands for them to relook certain practices and lower their carbon footprint.
Hopefully these tips will help you in making some changes in your everyday life to lower your impact on the environment. No one person is required to make a big change in their life, but if everyone could make a tiny change, we could see great results. For more such tips, do check out the ‘Zero Waste’ and ‘Eco’ highlights on my Instagram page.
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