Header image courtesy of WLAB
We live in an age of opportunity and disruption. We chase after growth and advancement, while exhausting ourselves and what the Earth has to give. The mad dash has yielded exponential growth for humanity, yet resulted in unhappy people and an unhappy planet. Saving the world might seem like an impossible task, but don’t feel overwhelmed—there are many ways to make it easier. We spoke with the experts at WLAB, whose mission is to co-create a happier and healthier Hong Kong centred around a strong community.
It is recognised by professionals that co-creation has the power to build a better world environment and change the future. Social innovation empowers us with the innovative and effective tools to build a happier and healthier society. WLAB does just that by providing changemakers with a platform to connect, collaborate, and create sustainable social impact. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for innovative projects, events, and initiatives designed to make impact and engage the community.
The invention of plastic has convenienced our lives in many ways, as the durable and versatile material can be incorporated into clothing, utensils, bags, and many more. The problem is that plastic waste takes years to decompose, during which it becomes a hazard to animals and humans alike. This problem applies more to single-use plastics that, as the name suggests, are quickly discarded after a short period of time.
Plastic can still have a place in daily life as reusable containers, though it can come in other materials such as metal and glass. Product packaging is usually made out of plastic, so try to shop at bulk grocery stores for food and toiletries, with your reusable shopping bag, of course!
Spending more time in nature has been found to alleviate anxiety and stress, so much so that a type of formal treatment called ecotherapy, which involves engaging in activities outdoors in nature, has been used to treat mild to moderate depression.
Spend a wholesome weekend hiking one of the numerous peaks and trails around Hong Kong, or go on a trip to Kadoorie Farm for an immersive introduction to Hong Kong’s flora and fauna. Though biking is not a popular transportation option, you can still explore the cycling trails that will take you from point A to point B in a leisurely and exploratory way.
The advantages of a vegetarian diet are numerous, but the feasibility of the world’s population converting to vegetarians or vegans overnight is low. Eating the right vegetables can improve your health, your appearance, and your mood, in addition to contributing to lowering carbon emissions, which can help combat global warming.
Dip your toes in by limiting your consumption of high-emission food products like meat—most animal products are produced by consuming large amounts of land and water, from the rearing of livestock to the methane produced by waste products, in particular with cows and sheep. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious vegetarian and vegan options available, from chic modern Chinese cuisine to hearty burgers. You can also shop at vegetarian and vegan food shops to cook veggie-centric meals at home.
Part of what contributes to the carbon footprint of your food is where it comes from—air-transported fruits and vegetables can create more greenhouse gas emissions per kilo than chicken. To combat this, try shopping locally and seasonally, at farmers markets and local wet markets. This can help sustain local businesses who might not have high yields, and do not export overseas. In addition, seasonal produce has a higher nutritional value, so you are feeding your body the best that nature has to offer, fresh from the farm.
The modern capitalist society thrives on consumption, preferably mindless consumption. It is easy to buy whatever is most convenient, but more often than not these options incur heavy environmental costs, especially when everyone does it. This doesn’t mean you can’t participate in any type of shopping though—you just have to be aware of what you buy and where you buy it from.
Support eco-brands and sustainable concepts for your daily necessities, and aim for a minimalist lifestyle to cut clutter from your physical and mental spaces. Shop vintage and second-hand for eclectic styles that promote a circular fashion economy—mother nature will thank you.
WLAB is a community of innovative change-makers passionate about co-creating a happier and healthier Hong Kong, combining design thinking, open innovation, and human-centric design. Join WLAB’s virtual wellness series to explore and experience the innovation of wellness. Check out their events calendar and sign up here, and make sure to check out their site featuring exciting articles on innovation, sustainability, and smart city development.