by guest blogger Pamela Nowicka
A lot of people want to do something to ‘help’ the environment. Maybe they’re concerned about what’s in their food, toiletries or cosmetics. Malaysians and other Asians, as relatively new entrants into the consumerism fray are very much at the mercy of TNCs (Trans National Corporations).
In Europe and the US people have legislation on labelling, public debates on GMOs, and local action on everything from road-building programmes, to fracking, to safer roads for cyclists.
In south east Asia, with its cultural tendency to deference to authority and not 'making trouble' ordinary people are largely unaware of issues.
AND NOWHERE IS THIS MORE CLEAR THAN ON AWARENESS OF ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES...
Many south east asians idolise the West and aspire to their (wildly inaccurate and rose-tinted view) of the western lifestyle.
There's an innocent belief that if a big name brand, says something, it's true.
Notorious brands like Nestles are quoted approvingly by newpapers as experts on health and nutrition. A recent 'health' piece quoted the brand at length, with product placement pictures of sugar-laden Milos being drunk by kids in school uniform.
Why would the editor of the publication publish this kind of propaganda?
And why would the public accept it?
BEING GREEN IS AN ATTITUDE TO LIFE...
...understanding the issues and taking responsibility.
A hilltop being mutilated for housing projects means irreplaceable birds, trees and insects being destroyed forever.
More roads mean more pollution, more deaths and injuries, and more environmental destruction.
Wasting water means water shortages...soon.
Here are some ways to create a new and genuinely greener lifestyle, enjoy your life, and get fit and healthy.
1 EDUCATE YOURSELF!
You’re an adult. With a responsible job and kids. Yet what you know about biodiversity could be written in one Tweet. Ditto GMOs, food security, climate change (duh, ‘yes, it is hotter than when I was a kid’ doesn’t really cut it.)
If you buy a new car, smart-phone or shop online for a flight, you do research. You can do the same to find out about ecosystems, TNCs like Monsanto , GMO cotton’s impact on Indian farmers...anything.
Get Facebook feeds from PAN (Pesticide Action Network) Asia l, Singapore or KL Green Drinks, Greenpeace International...
2 THINK, WALK, PRIORITISE
Money, career, A place to live, and family are important.
But if you want to buy a new house or condo, what happened to the land and biodiversity what was there before the new house/condo went up? (Hint: it’s not there any more).
Does this matter?
Yes, it's a serious problem. Water systems, weather systems, food systems - even the air we breathe - are all dependent on sufficient green space. More building = more environmental problems.
Protect green spaces and use only older properties.
More roads = more traffic, deaths, pollution.
3 UNDERSTAND FOOD - GO TO A WORKSHOP ON COMMUNITY FOOD GROWING AND COMPOSTING
Don't know what GMOs are? Google it?
A blank slate on ecosystems? Google it?
Think none of this is relevant to your life or family...? What about the impacts of climate change on food production, cost and availability?
Learn how to grow your own veggies, fruit and herbs.
Composting keeps organic matter out of landfill, too.
So you save money AND the planet.
You now have a firm grip of the concept of ecocide - the destruction of planetary ecosystems by human activity. Well done! Unlike the average citizen, zonked out by ajinomoto laced meat, and zoned out in a haze of keep head down/make money, you have decided not to be a sheep. You have Googled, and your Facebook feeds keep you updated on food, health, the US-sized plastic island in the Pacific Ocean and Fukushima. You understand that the earth is finite, and being used up scarily fast; you understand that the planet needs a paradigm shift to survive...and you are determined to be part of that shift.
4 SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD
Trees being chopped down? More investment properties being built? Roads being widened?
Maybe it's time you got together with some neighbours and friends to talk about this.
Industrialised ‘development’ (land speculation) and the neoliberal doctrine of consumerism is killing the planet.
If you want a future for yourself and your kids, act now, before it's too late.
5 SWITCH OFF THE TV - CREATE COMMUNITY
You join or start a group. You go to a talk or organise one or give one yourself. Or what about a film screening?
So many topics - veganism, food security, blood diamonds, blood bricks, gaps in society, biodiversity, overfishing the oceans, livability, growing your own food.
This is important stuff for future generations and a liveable planet.
6 CELEBRATE WITH A VEGAN FEAST
Factory farming and consuming animal products is cruel. It destroys the environment, is highly polluting and adds huge amounts of climate change gases to the atmosphere.
You want to chat about starting a community food garden, recycling, reusing and upcycling.
If you want to meet your friends and celebrate your new-found awareness about starting a community food garden, recycling, reusing and upcyclingwith a delicious vegan feast.
Find a vegan (no animal products at all - no dairy, eggs, honey) stall, cafe or restaurant and eat and chat to your heart’s content. Treat yourself. You deserve it!
7 BE GREEN, HEALTHY, FIT AND SAVE MONEY
Being green is a whole life thing.
You eat vegan and cycle or walk to work.
You’re business helps improve people’s lives and is eco-friendly.
You understand about climate change, deforestation and palm oil.
You spend time doing things you like with people you like.
You’ve switched off the telly and have time to enjoy quiet time, watching the clouds drift by, petting your cat or taking your dog for a run in the park.
You’re engaged with life, not a passenger.
You feel peaceful and proud of the journey you’ve taken, about who you are, your values and your legacy.
Life is never problem-free, but now you are part of the solution...walking lightly on this precious planet...not destroying it.
Nukleus is proud to welcome guest blogger and environmentalist, Pamela Nowicka. The views expressed are her own, and not necessarily that of Nukleus.
Find out more on Facebook: GoGreenPenang and LivingtheDreamonaBudget.