The struggle is real when it comes to maintaining any semblance of normality during the circuit breaker in Singapore (more formally known as lockdown, if you live elsewhere). Here are a few tips, ideas, and suggestions to help maintain and develop a more sustainable lifestyle while we’re all still stuck at home.
Adjusting to the new normal of isolation is something half the world is attempting to navigate. And if you’re trying to juggle work, family, staying healthy, staying sane, cooking, cleaning, and so much more, it’s easy to let good habits slip and replace them with “f**k it. Pass the vodka”.
But keeping things sustainable at home is one of the ways you can maintain a sense of normalcy in a world of craziness. It’s time to have a word with yourself, regain focus, and don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Because once this pandemic is over, and it will be over, we still have this thing called the climate crisis to deal with. Here’s our guide to keeping things sustainable and developing new positive habits during the circuit breaker.
The food situation
Now more than ever, it’s important to consider exactly what’s going on your plate. Aside from adopting a more plant-based diet, supporting local food suppliers is crucial during this current period. Not only will you avoid the hoarders at supermarkets, but these little guys also need all the help they can get right now. If you live in Singapore, you’ve got Lexie Rodrigues to thank for this great list of local providers:
Citizen Farms practices sustainable urban farming. Think fresh herbs, leafy greens, and edible flowers. There is no online shop so you’ll need to download its produce catalogue and order via email or Whatsapp.
Sustenir Agriculture champions sustainable vertical farming. It grows several types of kale, strawberries, rocket, kale pesto, and healthy drinks blended with kale.
If you do eat meat, source it sustainably through Mr Farmer. You’ll find ethically sourced chickens, pork, beef and eggs. And it has an easy online order and delivery service.
Hay Dairies is the only goat farm in Singapore. Since opening back in 1988, it has amassed over 800 goats. It will deliver fresh goat milk straight to your home. It does have minimum order requirements, and you can order easily online or via phone.
Noodle addicts: check out Leong Guan. This local producer of our favourite carb makes a variety of noodle types, which you can buy via RedMart.
The Sampan Catch provides fish from the floating sea farm in Singapore near Pulau Ubin. It farms fish responsibly, without using antibiotics or chemicals and all deliveries are made within hours of harvesting. While plant-based diets are always our first choice, if you do eat fish, this is a sustainable source.
We’re huge fans of ShiokFarm. Inspired by the French community-supported agriculture model, it’s a genius concept. (Sidenote: you have to commit to six months. However, you will be supporting small, local farmers and reducing food waste by around 40%). In a nutshell, it works by gathering a small group of people together and telling a farmer they will buy all of their produce. The organic fruit and veggies will be delivered directly from the farm each week. What you’ll receive is a mystery depending on what’s in season at the time. Eat local, eat seasonally, and waste nothing; it doesn’t get more sustainable than that.
Start something new
We know that for some just getting out of bed, getting dressed and existing is more than enough to be managing right now. But if you’re ready to get out of the rut, why not turn your hand to one of these activities. Why not take the opportunity to learn something new and up your sustainability game while you’re at it?
It’s estimated that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted each year globally. Do your bit by learning how to compost and reducing the food waste in your household. It’s easier than you might think to start; a simple google search will point you in the right direction. But this article is particularly useful if you’re a total novice.
How many times have you bought herbs from a supermarket that come neatly packed in single-use plastic? Too many times, that’s how many. Now is the perfect time to see if you can grow your own! You don’t even need that much space, just a window box or a small pot (and the lovely soil you will have made from composting), and away you go. Check out this tutorial for extra green-fingered help.
Take the time to experiment in the kitchen and try cooking more vegan or vegetarian dishes. Do some research online, make a weekly meal plan, and try to stick to as many meat-free days as you can.
Focus on your mental wellness
Finding a new rhythm and routine when you’re stuck indoors all day is essential, especially when the fear and anxiety surrounding COVID-19 can be paralysing. Start a wellness routine comprising yoga, meditation, and journaling every day to help guide you through. And if you need some help getting started, Rhythmia is offering free daily meditation sessions. Or join Delphine at Well to Work for her free weekly session.
Learn, watch, and listen to cool stuff that makes the world a better place
Check out the myriad free webinars and courses available online from some of the best unis and top organisations. We recommend Yale’s popular online course on how to be happier. Tune in to our very own free weekly Facebook live series; Create Real Change From Home. Expect panel discussions, presentations, movement classes, and more, as we try to rewrite the narrative of the planet we want to live in post-COVID-19. Check out Positive Luxury’s weekly Facebook Live Power Series sesh. Or if you’re into creating sustainable fashion, take a gander at the resources and guides for designers available from Redress. And if you’re still stuck, have a read of these awesome digital things to keep you occupied during the lockdown.
If actually doing anything feels beyond reach at the moment, stick to the sofa and treat your eyeballs to the Miyazaki movies (available on Netflix). They are masterpieces celebrating nature. Or why not virtually visit a museum? The British Museum is worth snooping around. Finally, check out Redress’ award-winning docu-series, Frontline Fashion.
If podcasts are your thing, give La Poudre a listen; it talks in-depth about the interconnection between colonialism, patriarchy and capitalism. And if you’ve never heard The Angry Clean Energy Guy, you need to subscribe.
Switch your energy supplier
Now you’ve got some extra time on your hands, use it to take care of the little things you’ve been meaning to get around to but can never quite find the time for. Switching your energy provider to a more sustainable one is easier than you might think. Do your research about the greenest suppliers in your area, and make the switch. And as you’ll be spending a lot of time indoors, be mindful of your air-con usage and don’t forget to switch off your lights. For more tips on how to save energy while you’re at home, have a read of this.
Declutter your wardrobe
According to The World Economic Forum, the fashion industry produces 10% of global carbon emissions and is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply. And for many, this period of lockdown has provided an opportunity to rethink the relationship we have with our shopping habits. Because dressing up kind of loses its appeal when there’s nowhere to go. Which makes now a great time to overhaul your wardrobe completely. You could take the Vestiaire Collective Wardrobe Reality Check Challenge to help you consider the environmental impact of your wardrobe choices. Or have a declutter and swap, donate, or sell the things you no longer want and instead start creating a more sustainable capsule collection approach.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: planting trees is one of the most effective ways to tackle climate change. And if you experience the awful anxiety of feeling like you’re not doing enough (which, when you’re stuck at home, can strike frequently), plant a tree! Use a reputable organisation (like One Tree Planted, Ecomatcher, or the Global Mangrove Trust) and donate what you can to help protect our planet.