Hong Kong is making many ripples of green waves in this week’s issue. With Hong Kong and Shanghai Limited Hotels banning plastic straws, and Starbucks banning disposable cutleries, HK is a lean green fighting machine. Besides that, many other corporations are stepping up their green game in the fight against single-use plastic.
Find out the 10 things you need to know happening in sustainability around the world this past week.
1. UNited we fight: Let’s UNdo the harm
Up to 5 trillion plastic bags are used every year, that’s 13 billion plastic bags a day. The UN just released what is dubbed one of the most comprehensive reports that reviews government action to curb single-use plastic. It is easy to forsake the earth for a sheer moment of convenience. But every time we hurt the earth, we are hurting ourselves too. We also wrote an article about how you can reduce your plastic waste contribution (yes we did! Check it out).
Let’s #beatplasticpollution every day.
3. White rice, then brown rice, now green rice??
We use one-third of the world’s freshwater resources just to grow rice, that’s right, a whole whopping third. Climate change is threatening rice fields everywhere, which could result in growing numbers of people living in poverty and hunger. Furthermore, rice is a major water-consumer and greenhouse gas emitter. With new technologies emerging, a greener alternative to growing rice may be possible.
So cut that brown rice on your Instagram feed, green rice will be the new norm.
4. Starbucks putting the green in its twin-tailed green mermaid
Starbucks Hong Kong has pledged to go plastic-lite by removing all disposable plastic utensils from their condiment bar. This new policy is a step towards sustainable consumption and applies to both in-store and takeaway orders. With easily hundreds of customers patronising their stores everyday, this move means the reduction of so so SO much waste that could have been generated.
With Starbucks onboard, your morning ritual can become that much greener!
5. Walking the Talk
The walkability of a city has been deemed as a mark of sustainability. With benefits like improving citizen well-being, reducing traffic congestion, reducing carbon emissions while increasing carbon sequestration, it is funny to think that this hasn’t been a priority for many megacities in the world. 92% of millennials surveyed mentioned that they preferred to live in walkable and pedestrian-friendly areas. I personally would love to be able to walk comfortably to the nearest Starbucks and get myself a nice coffee (in a flask of course) without breaking a sweat or squeezed with hundred other sweaty commuters. Best of all, I’d be burning calories too.
I’m not just exercising, I’m saving the world.
6. Watching your waste with Smart Bins
Commercial kitchens throw away $100 billion of food waste each year. With the innovation of these Smart Bins, people can now monitor what is being thrown away by cataloging it. This not only helps kitchens know what they can cut back on, it also forces kitchen crew to be self-aware about the food waste they are generating.
Technology are taking over the world, but they are also saving our world.
7. ‘Plastic attack’ protest in Hong Kong
Yes, I know, it’s Hong Kong for the third time in a row this week. As she’s running out of landfill, what is Hong Kong to do about her plastic waste? With a growing awareness of the harmful effects of single-use plastic, consumers are raising their voices and joining hands to curb plastics in this small city-state. Environmental activists in Hong Kong are preparing to demonstrate against the use of excessive plastic packaging on products in the city’s supermarkets. This just shows that small steps can enact to big change.
9. UNLEASHing the brightest minds for sustainability
Dubbed one of the most global gatherings of youths in a single location, UNLEASH gathered 1,000 talents from over 100 countries around the world for an intensive 8-day social innovation programme to develop solutions to solve the world’s greatest problems based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Starring speakers like Forest Whittaker, Sophia the Robot, and Nobel Peace Laureate, JoséRamos-Horta, this is an event that you know means business. Read on more to find out what the winning teams have come up with, you’ll be amazed.
Who run the world? Youths run the world.
10. Is Asia-Pacific meeting the mark?
Speaking of Sustainable Development Goals, where does Asia-Pacific stand? Luckily for us, after 3 years of its inception, Asia-Pacific is on track to meeting their goals. With 17 goals to meet, we can’t expect everything to be fine and dandy. While we are better in some areas, we are lacking in others. Asia-Pacific is still a #workinprogress, but nonetheless, let us also celebrate our #littlegreensteps towards making the world a better place.
Read more to see where we can do more, and who knows, maybe you can be the solution.