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Hello again Global Impact readers, Climate change is appearing ever more frequently in our headlines. Massive flooding in China, raging wildfires in the United States and Greece, and record high temperatures worldwide. The latest United Nation’s report warned of the need to soon to avoid catastrophic long-term consequences. In this issue of Global Impact, Kevin Kwong, senior editor for our Culture desk, describes the actions individuals can take - large and small - to fight climate change. Finally, a heads-up that this week we are celebrating one year of digital subscriptions support from our readers. As a result, we are offering free unlimited access to SCMP.com and our app for logged-in users between August 9-15. All you need is a free SCMP account, create one or log in here to enjoy. Best, John Carter Senior Editor, Political EconomyWhat changes individuals can make in their daily lives to fight climate change With this shaping up to be another scorching hot summer – not only in Asia but also the US and Europe – the effects and threat of climate change have never been more palpable and immediate. Yet everything we do – from eating to shopping to travelling – releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and, therefore, has a negative impact on the planet’s climate. It is clear the need for us to be more eco-conscious as consumers has never been greater. Of course, not all of us can lead a minimalist lifestyle like Hongkonger Kodi Wan Yat-ting. After realising her consumption habits were becoming excessive, the 35-year-old hairdresser decided to live according to the principle of producing minimal waste. Nor can we live without air conditioning in the stifling summer heat, even though cooling the air – at home or at work – means using more electricity or energy, which in turn increases global warming. The good news is, according to a 2020 survey conducted by management consultancy firm Accenture, 60 per cent of global consumers have, at least, started to make more “environmental friendly, sustainable or ethical purchases” since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. But there is definitely more that we can do to become smarter, more climate-conscious consumers. While more and more of us – for health reasons or otherwise – are adopting veganism or a plant-based diet that is considered “environmentally friendly”, we also need to be aware of the origin of products and ingredients of the food that we are buying. Take the popular avocado. Huge amounts of water are needed to grow the fruit, especially during summer. As many countries do not grow avocados, a large carbon footprint is created when importing them. So why not consider consuming nuts or vegetables that are also rich in healthy fatty acids or vitamin K? Since the pandemic, wearing face masks and ordering takeaway meals had become part of the “new normal”. That, in turn, has, unfortunately, created an ecological disaster in Asia. Try to avoid using single-use plastic bags and containers – always bring your own shopping bag, or use your own cutlery when dining out –and put on reusable masks. These practices will make a (positive) difference. More people have also turned to online shopping during the pandemic. But do we really need more new clothes, for instance? It’s worth taking a look at the clothes you already own. Instead of shopping for fast fashion, consider buying clothes that are of high quality, even if they cost a little more. It is commendable that fashion brands – from high street to high end – have made sustainability a key element of their corporate strategies. However, right now that trend also comes with a cost, as sustainable fashion is not always affordable. Experts in the industry believe that the solution is still to buy less, but better. Also to recycle clothes you no longer wear – give them to your friends or donate them to charity. Minimalism can be applied to your skincare and make-up too. Always think carefully about what you really need before making a purchase on or offline. Travel restrictions imposed by countries to curb the spread of coronavirus may have had a detrimental effect on the global travel and tourism industry, and stopped people from visiting friends and relatives abroad, but they have also greatly reduced our carbon footprint. The pandemic has given the world a much needed pause to think about sustainable travel or how we can travel responsibly. Even taking a break in your own city can be full of pitfalls, as services listed in many luxury hotel staycation packages can also be harmful to the environment. Fifteen per cent of a hotel’s energy use goes into laundry, so spare your hotel the unnecessary power and water usage by telling them you don’t need your linens or towels changed every day. Pack your own water bottle, toiletries and, if necessary, tableware to avoid single-use plastic items, despite their convenience. For a sustainable staycation that is truly refreshing, go offline – resist the urge to use your phone, laptop or other electronic devices. Cutting down your screen time is beneficial for your eyesight and mental health as well as your carbon footprint. - South China Morning Post, SCMP - Hello again Global Impact readers, Climate change is appearing ever more frequently in our headlines. Massive flooding in China, raging wildfires in the United States and Greece, and record high temperatures worldwide. The latest United Nation’s report warned of the need to soon to avoid catastrophic long-term consequences. In this issue of Global Impact, Kevin Kwong, senior editor for our Culture desk, describes the actions individuals can take - large and small - to fight climate change. Finally, a heads-up that this week we are celebrating one year of digital subscriptions support from our readers. As a result, we are offering free unlimited access to SCMP.com and our app for logged-in users between August 9-15. All you need is a free SCMP account, create one or log in here to enjoy. Best, John Carter Senior Editor, Political EconomyWhat changes individuals can make in their daily lives to fight climate change With this shaping up to be another scorching hot summer – not only in Asia but also the US and Europe – the effects and threat of climate change have never been more palpable and immediate. Yet everything we do – from eating to shopping to travelling – releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and, therefore, has a negative impact on the planet’s climate. It is clear the need for us to be more eco-conscious as consumers has never been greater. Of course, not all of us can lead a minimalist lifestyle like Hongkonger Kodi Wan Yat-ting. After realising her consumption habits were becoming excessive, the 35-year-old hairdresser decided to live according to the principle of producing minimal waste. Nor can we live without air conditioning in the stifling summer heat, even though cooling the air – at home or at work – means using more electricity or energy, which in turn increases global warming. The good news is, according to a 2020 survey conducted by management consultancy firm Accenture, 60 per cent of global consumers have, at least, started to make more “environmental friendly, sustainable or ethical purchases” since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. But there is definitely more that we can do to become smarter, more climate-conscious consumers. While more and more of us – for health reasons or otherwise – are adopting veganism or a plant-based diet that is considered “environmentally friendly”, we also need to be aware of the origin of products and ingredients of the food that we are buying. Take the popular avocado. Huge amounts of water are needed to grow the fruit, especially during summer. As many countries do not grow avocados, a large carbon footprint is created when importing them. So why not consider consuming nuts or vegetables that are also rich in healthy fatty acids or vitamin K? Since the pandemic, wearing face masks and ordering takeaway meals had become part of the “new normal”. That, in turn, has, unfortunately, created an ecological disaster in Asia. Try to avoid using single-use plastic bags and containers – always bring your own shopping bag, or use your own cutlery when dining out –and put on reusable masks. These practices will make a (positive) difference. More people have also turned to online shopping during the pandemic. But do we really need more new clothes, for instance? It’s worth taking a look at the clothes you already own. Instead of shopping for fast fashion, consider buying clothes that are of high quality, even if they cost a little more. It is commendable that fashion brands – from high street to high end – have made sustainability a key element of their corporate strategies. However, right now that trend also comes with a cost, as sustainable fashion is not always affordable. Experts in the industry believe that the solution is still to buy less, but better. Also to recycle clothes you no longer wear – give them to your friends or donate them to charity. Minimalism can be applied to your skincare and make-up too. Always think carefully about what you really need before making a purchase on or offline. Travel restrictions imposed by countries to curb the spread of coronavirus may have had a detrimental effect on the global travel and tourism industry, and stopped people from visiting friends and relatives abroad, but they have also greatly reduced our carbon footprint. The pandemic has given the world a much needed pause to think about sustainable travel or how we can travel responsibly. Even taking a break in your own city can be full of pitfalls, as services listed in many luxury hotel staycation packages can also be harmful to the environment. Fifteen per cent of a hotel’s energy use goes into laundry, so spare your hotel the unnecessary power and water usage by telling them you don’t need your linens or towels changed every day. Pack your own water bottle, toiletries and, if necessary, tableware to avoid single-use plastic items, despite their convenience. For a sustainable staycation that is truly refreshing, go offline – resist the urge to use your phone, laptop or other electronic devices. Cutting down your screen time is beneficial for your eyesight and mental health as well as your carbon footprint.
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The changes individuals can make to join the fight against climate change

 

John Carter

Senior Editor, Political Economy

14 August 2021

Welcome to our 4,072 newly joined SCMP Global Impact readers who signed up in the past week.

Hello again Global Impact readers,

Climate change is appearing ever more frequently in our headlines. Massive flooding in China, raging wildfires in the United States and Greece, and record high temperatures worldwide. The latest United Nation’s report warned of the need to soon to avoid catastrophic long-term consequences. 

In this issue of Global Impact, Kevin Kwong, senior editor for our Culture desk, describes the actions individuals can take - large and small - to fight climate change.

Finally, a heads-up that this week we are celebrating one year of digital subscriptions support from our readers. As a result, we are offering free unlimited access to SCMP.com and our app for logged-in users between August 9-15. All you need is a free SCMP account, create one or log in here to enjoy.

Best,
John Carter
Senior Editor, Political Economy

What changes individuals can make in their daily lives to fight climate change

With this shaping up to be another scorching hot summer – not only in Asia but also the US and Europe – the effects and threat of climate change have never been more palpable and immediate.

Yet everything we do – from eating to shopping to travelling – releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and, therefore, has a negative impact on the planet’s climate. It is clear the need for us to be more eco-conscious as consumers has never been greater.

Of course, not all of us can lead a minimalist lifestyle like Hongkonger Kodi Wan Yat-ting. After realising her consumption habits were becoming excessive, the 35-year-old hairdresser decided to live according to the principle of producing minimal waste.

Nor can we live without air conditioning in the stifling summer heat, even though cooling the air – at home or at work – means using more electricity or energy, which in turn increases global warming.

The good news is, according to a 2020 survey conducted by management consultancy firm Accenture, 60 per cent of global consumers have, at least, started to make more “environmental friendly, sustainable or ethical purchases” since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

But there is definitely more that we can do to become smarter, more climate-conscious consumers.

While more and more of us – for health reasons or otherwise – are adopting veganism or a plant-based diet that is considered “environmentally friendly”, we also need to be aware of the origin of products and ingredients of the food that we are buying. Take the popular avocado. Huge amounts of water are needed to grow the fruit, especially during summer. As many countries do not grow avocados, a large carbon footprint is created when importing them. So why not consider consuming nuts or vegetables that are also rich in healthy fatty acids or vitamin K?

Since the pandemic, wearing face masks and ordering takeaway meals had become part of the “new normal”. That, in turn, has, unfortunately, created an ecological disaster in Asia. Try to avoid using single-use plastic bags and containers – always bring your own shopping bag, or use your own cutlery when dining out –and put on reusable masks. These practices will make a (positive) difference.

More people have also turned to online shopping during the pandemic. But do we really need more new clothes, for instance? It’s worth taking a look at the clothes you already own. Instead of shopping for fast fashion, consider buying clothes that are of high quality, even if they cost a little more.

It is commendable that fashion brands – from high street to high end – have made sustainability a key element of their corporate strategies. However, right now that trend also comes with a cost, as sustainable fashion is not always affordable. Experts in the industry believe that the solution is still to buy less, but better. Also to recycle clothes you no longer wear – give them to your friends or donate them to charity.

Minimalism can be applied to your skincare and make-up too. Always think carefully about what you really need before making a purchase on or offline.

Travel restrictions imposed by countries to curb the spread of coronavirus may have had a detrimental effect on the global travel and tourism industry, and stopped people from visiting friends and relatives abroad, but they have also greatly reduced our carbon footprint. The pandemic has given the world a much needed pause to think about sustainable travel or how we can travel responsibly.

Even taking a break in your own city can be full of pitfalls, as services listed in many luxury hotel staycation packages can also be harmful to the environment.

Fifteen per cent of a hotel’s energy use goes into laundry, so spare your hotel the unnecessary power and water usage by telling them you don’t need your linens or towels changed every day. Pack your own water bottle, toiletries and, if necessary, tableware to avoid single-use plastic items, despite their convenience.

For a sustainable staycation that is truly refreshing, go offline – resist the urge to use your phone, laptop or other electronic devices. Cutting down your screen time is beneficial for your eyesight and mental health as well as your carbon footprint.

60 SECOND CATCH-UP
🎥 Hong Kong ‘minimalist’ adopts solutions to reduce waste
WWF gets creative in the climate change fight: artists from Anish Kapoor to Tracey Emin join Art For Your World project
🎥 2020 set to rank as one of Earth’s three hottest years on record, says United Nations
🎥 Scientist Brian Cox says climate change formula must include society and politics
DEEP DIVES
Home turf advantage: why Hong Kong’s thirsty lawns survive
Hong Kong is a world leader in restricting lawns to socially useful areas that can most benefit the public, which helps offset their huge environmental cost
Elsewhere, especially in drier regions, cities are encouraging or mandating their removal to save water and encourage greater biodiversity

Ever-creeping climate change is spelling the end of the lawn as we know it. Environmentalists everywhere see the neat and weed-free grass lawn as an ecological disaster in an age of ever-increasing heat, shrinking water resources and increasingly scarce wild habitat.

Gavin Coates, a senior lecturer in landscape architecture at the University of Hong Kong, says lawns are “massively inefficient” in many of the world’s geographical regions.  Read more

‘The forest is returning’: trees make a comeback in Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s forests have been repeatedly cleared, but each time they grow back; however, they lack the species diversity needed to nurture native wildlife
An experiment by Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden aims to change that by seeing what steps are required for a wider range of trees and forest plants to grow

Over the centuries, Hong Kong’s lush subtropical woodlands have been burned, accidentally and deliberately – cut down for fuel, slashed to make way for agriculture, flattened by typhoons, replanted to stabilise hillsides, cut down to make way for development, devastated by insect plagues and replanted again.

Whatever happens, they keep coming back. Read more

🎥 Free-diving ‘sea women’ of South Korea fight climate change threatening their fishing tradition
Sustainable gyms turn human exertions into electricity
The latest trend in fitness involves exercise machines that produce electricity to help power gyms or which can be sold to utilities for cash
The idea of sustainable fitness is starting to catch on as gym goers look for greener ways to work out

Millions of people the world over are running, cycling and rowing on machines that devour electricity. Now, eco-savvy gyms are harnessing the energy their exertions generate to power the equipment.

Last year, an “ecogym” opened in Rochester, New York. It uses 21 cardio machines – 16 indoor cycles, two recumbent bikes and two ellipticals – to produce human-generated electricity. Read more

Chinese fashion brands and sustainability – it’s happening
She started the conversation about sustainable fashion in China – now she’s helping to effect change from the top down
Shaway Yeh believes that China is playing a leading role in promoting sustainability in fashion

Like many editors working in luxury publishing, Shaway Yeh began to feel disillusioned with the direction the fashion industry was taking. For 12 years, Yeh was the editorial director of Modern Weekly, one of China’s most influential lifestyle magazines.

Her aha moment happened four years ago, when she took part in a panel discussion at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, a sustainability-focused conference in Denmark. Read more

To keep track of the latest global news developments, follow our daily coverage on our website or focus on stories about climate change here.

In our next issue, our Business Desk will zero in on the implications of the deep freeze in Chinese companies applying for initial public offers in the US. 

We welcome your feedback. Email me at globalimpact@scmp.com or tweet me at @kevinkwong11. Plus, be sure to check out our Culture section for more interesting news and analysis.

All the best,
Kevin
 

Kevin Kwong

Editor, Culture

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