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Earth Day: How to live a more sustainable lifestyle in 2021

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Every day should be Earth Day as far as team ach is concerned, but April 22 is one special day. It’s a day that rallies the entire world together to show our planet some seriously overdue tender loving care.

Though it’s the only home we have, we hardly give it a second thought in exchange for convenience. It took a terribly polluted river catching fire way back in 1970 to make us realise what we’re doing to our environment — and as a result of it, Earth Day was born.

As we cope with the after effects of the Covid pandemic, it’s time we rethink our lifestyles and try to weave in more sustainable practices — for Earth Day and beyond. This year’s theme is Restore our Earth and — fittingly enough — focuses on healing.

Here are some easy ways we can celebrate Earth Day this year and play our part in restoring our Earth and repairing some of the damages we’ve done to our planet.

1. Watch a documentary on global warming

Photo: Imdb

There’s no better time to educate yourself on our current climate and environmental crisis than Earth Day. We’re often caught up in our daily lives, dealing with our own fair share of problems — but if we take a step back to look at the world from a larger perspective, there are problems bigger than ourselves that exist. We pass through this Earth but once.

If Earth’s history can be compared to a calendar year, a human being has existed for a total of 37 minutes.

Our recommendations for the best Earth Day documentaries to watch:

  • An Inconvenient Truth, by former United States Vice President Al Gore. A 2006 documentary that’s a classic you shouldn’t miss.
  • Watson, by Lesley Chilcott. A documentary featuring Captain Paul Watson, founder of Greenpeace and sea-faring protector group Sea Shepherd. It brings us closer to what’s happening in the ocean — and why it’s one of the most important places on our planet to protect.
  • Before the Flood, by National Geographic. This documentary follows actor Leonardo DiCaprio and his journey as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, travelling five continents to record and experience climate change firsthand.

2. Break up with plastic for good

Over the years, we’ve adopted a plastic crazed “disposable” lifestyle, likely a result of hectic, busy schedules. Single-use plastics have slowly but surely infiltrated into our lives. From plastic drinking water bottles, to plastic straws for our bubble tea to plastic containers that are used to dapao our food, it’s so ubiquitous we hardly give it any thought.

And the Earth is paying for it. Our plastic consumption annually is at about 86 million tons and being a material that the Earth cannot digest, it means that every bit of plastic produced and used by us will always be here on our planet for hundreds and thousands of years. As it cannot decompose fully, it breaks down into smaller particles over time and are ingested by wildlife, contaminating our food chain.

If we can all be just a little more mindful about our use of plastic, the Earth would be so much better off for it. Always bring your own reusable shopping bags for groceries and avoid purchasing single-use plastic items. Opt to buy things made of paper or glass instead.

Bring your own containers and cutlery when you need to dapao food — billions of one-time use cutleries are thrown away each year, causing the deaths of many marine animals like the sea turtles.

3. Explore plant-based food, try Meatless Mondays

Vegan and vegetarian diets have become more popular for health reasons over the years, but it’s also a great way to reduce our personal carbon footprint. Cutting down our consumption of meat can reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by animal agriculture, which takes up the bulk of all emissions.

Start small by joining the Meatless Monday movement — cut out meat just once every week and replace them with healthy, wholesome plant-based options.

4. Make a compost bin at home for plants

It’s 2021 and the time we start making use of our food waste! When we throw away leftover food or food that’s gone bad, the food waste ends up in a landfill, creating methane — a harmful greenhouse gas.

From the skins of fruit to leftover meals, create a compost bin and use it to fertilize your plants. Bonus points: no need for added artificial, chemical fertilizers!

5. Buy only what you need

Photo: Scoop Wholefoods

Sustainable grocery shopping is now so much easier. With grocers like Scoops Wholefoods and Two Sisters Pantry, we can now buy things in smaller amounts — and buy just what we need. This can help reduce food wastage (nearly 4 million tons of food are lost or wasted globally).

The stores also encourage us to bring our own containers, so there is no use of disposable plastic containers in packing purchases at all.

6. Have a planet-conscious dinner at Open Farm Community

Photo: Open Farm Community

Every dinner ticket purchased at Open Farm Community’s Light of The Earth Dinner on Earth Day contributes $6 to planting a tree in Borneo’s endangered Kalimantan rainforest. This helps to offset carbon emissions in the area, helping to combat global warming.

Upon arrival before dinner, there’s a design-your-own sustainable botanical candle session with Candles of Light to set the mood for your Earth Day dinner. Expect a sensory evening of conscious, locally-sourced and carbon-neutral dishes for dinner, paired with zero-waste cocktails and cordials.

4-course Light of the Earth Dinner, $115++ per pax. On April 22 only.

7. Recycle your stuff

Make use of the various recycling bins across Singapore, but make sure your item can actually be recycled before tossing it into the recycling bin without a backward glance. Check the bin label to make sure. Typically, you can recycle glass, metal, paper and plastic.

Food waste cannot be recycled — so don’t toss your food containers and cups in the recycling bin!

If you want to do more for our planet, there’s also environmental Facebook groups you can join to participate in green initiatives in our local community. For example, Little Green Men organizes coastal cleanup exercises at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

8. Download the Stand up for Earth Whastapp sticker pack to spread the message!

Stand up for Earth Whatsapp sticker pack | Photo credit: Facebook

Whatsapp has rolled out their Stand up for Earth stickers featuring 20 fun images that highlights some of the global environmental challenges that we face today. Start using ‘em with your friends and family to spread awareness and celebrate our planet. Happy Earth Day 2021!

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