Habit-forming Lesson 101: “Do a little more of what you want to do every day, until your idea becomes what’s real.”

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Recently, I’ve gotten a bit off track for what I’m doing with my life. May it be family? Work? Career? Friends? Love? There are ups and downs in life. Even when it’s inevitable bad news, I thought a positive mindset will make everything better. Back a while ago, someone important to me told me, when I do something wrong, think of this:

Don't Be Sorry (1).png“Don’t be sorry, just be better.”

I was living by this quote – reminding myself everything that I can’t use apologies to make up for the wrongs I’ve made – and it must serve as a lesson that I will learn from. This change must come from within. Words can’t count. Only your true actions do. I promised myself to do better, more careful, but in the end, sometimes misinformation and miscommunication (or the lack of) may make things disconnect.

Today I want to promise myself how to do better at things – form a habit. Make a list.

Recently, I’ve been into a book called ‘Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg. It’s a book about habits – how to use the habit-forming mechanism to change your life.

Learning first things first – the first rule of habit-forming was learning how to change habits. This is by understanding the HABIT LOOP, how habits loop into your daily life.

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Fig. 1: Habit Loop (Reference).

In order to understand how to change a bad habit – we must learn how habits have formed in the first place. The basis of every habit comes with a 1. CUE, 2. ROUTINE, 3. REWARD.

How does this work?

First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future. Over time, this loop… becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges. How to Change a Habit.

  1. Cue is the trigger of the automatic mode.
  2. Routine is the behavior.
  3. Reward is the positive/addictive feeling your brain feels – that figures it will loop this habit so it remembers it for the future.

When these three things 1. Cue, 2. Routine and 3. Reward entwine – automatism – a behavior that you act on without thinking – occurs.

CUE can be automatic by time, location, feeling.

When you wake up in the morning – you don’t even need to think – you’re already walking into the bathroom ready to take a pee and brush your teeth.

ROUTINE is the behavior.

The automatic behavior that had been etched into you…Good habit? Brushing your teeth before you go to sleep? Bad habit? Sleeping too late?

REWARD is the positive/addiction your brain senses after the action – that will complete the ‘Habit Loop’ and make you remember why you are addicted to this routine in the first place.

For Michael Phelps – the reward of the completion of his ‘routine’ is that he knows this practice is essential to his win. This is a positive psychological reward.

Things such as bad routines. Such as people who like plucking their hair Trichotillamaniacs…the moment they’ve plucked their hair out, their ‘reward’ is a psychological enjoyment of the sensation pull-out of the hair…as weird as that sounds, ‘Trichotillomania‘ impulsive control disorder is guessed to affect around 0.6 ~ 4.0% of the total world population. These people desperately need to break this habit loop.

Now we’ve learned How a Habit Forms, next time we’ll find ways how to change our habit.

I’m reading this book:

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Really absolutely fascinating.

From now on, each day I will do a little more of what I want to do…until my routine actions form into a good habit. Make a DIFFERENCE.

 

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Pokemon GO! Pros & Cons of this Addiction Candy

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We’ve all heard about the latest Pokemon GO! that’s raging around the whole world.

There are two types of people in this world:

  1. Who play Pokemon GO! and love it to death;
  2. Who don’t play Pokemon GO! and despise it to death.

Why do people love it so much?

I had to admit – I’m addicted too. That’s why I want to talk about it! Why is this rage so real and surreal at the same time.

  1. It’s a virtual reality game – Pokémon GO is built on Niantic’s ‘Real World Gaming Platform’. So it syncs the virtual reality world with real locations, to encourage players to ‘search far and wide’ in the real world to discover Pokemon to catch them.
  2. In case you don’t know how it works, you see a map of you, with your profile.Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 2.11.40 PM.png
  3. It’s a virtual reality game where people become ‘Pokemon trainers’ and catch ‘Pokemon’ – about #135 types now, that show up on your phone screen.

PROS

  1. It’s been a good excuse for couples or groups to go out on “Pokemon hunting dates”
  2. People who were home-bound with autism were starting to walk out of their homes (Autism Speaks article “Pokémon GO is giving young adults with ASD their own unique reason to leave the house, albeit if it is to catch pocket monsters”)
  3.  People had been doing more exercise! In order to hatch ‘eggs’ people have caught along the way, you have to walk a certain number of kilometers 2km, 5km or 10km in order for the egg to mature and ‘hatch’. pgo_eggs

Despite all the advantages you saw of Pokemon (also it is cheap and a real good time-killer!), we should look how to craze is going. Now that Pokémon is such a big viral thing right now – you see people playing it literally EVERYWHERE. I live in Hong Kong where the craze is almost abnormal – in the dense and packed city of Hong Kong, people gather around

Public parks…


(Victoria Park at 1am after midnight on Friday night)

Trams…

Hospitals…

The CONS is that people had been walking without looking, walking into rivers, walking into people in the street, lower working efficiency, stuffing trams with people who don’t get off, going into police stations, hospitals or trespassing just to catch a rare Pokemon – the addiction is unstoppable.

But just some interesting ideas.

Pokemon Go is owned by Niantic, Inc, which’s CEO is John Hanke. John Hanke is also the CEO of the CIA-funded firm called Keyhole, Inc, therefore there had been conspiracies with the privacy problems. “Keyhole, Inc” is a pioneering software development company specializing in geospatial data visualization applications, funded by In-Q-Tel to aid CIA. The name “Keyhole” is a homage to the KH reconnaissance satellites, the original eye-in-the-sky military reconnaissance system now some 50 years old. In the way, the theory believes that Pokemon Go is a way by the US New World Government to control people around the world – their locations, gender, google account, what do they see in their camera, and that places in Pokestops are lures for Niantic, Inc to analyze locations worth spying on.

See this video to learn more about these theories:

If this is really true, Pokemon Go just means a total lack of real privacy.

As I had analyzed Niantic, Inc’s Pokemon Go Terms and Conditions, I had highlighted a particular point:

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According to the Terms & Conditions, Information CollectedNiantic, Inc will collect certain information…e.g. Google account…so we will collect PII (such as your Google email address,…and/or your Facebook registered email address) that our privacy settings with Google, PTC or Facebook permit us to access.

Technically according to the terms and conditions shown, as ‘Pokemon Trainers’, if we had used our real Google or Facebook account, certain location that could be to used to identify you may be collected – including emails or passwords.
Note: PLEASE be notified and check up on your passwords and change them regularly, in particular for bank accounts and other personal information. Cyber hacking for passwords is certainly not rare anymore with the increase in technological advances through out these years.

Please give comments (if you have any)!

Over-consumption of meat in the world

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What is carbon footprint?

The official definition is:

The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).

So this includes:

  • the air we breathe out
  • the motor vehicles’ emissions
  • the cutting of trees down
  • the by-products of waste gas during the production of our goods or services
    • the meat and dairy that humans eat

We all knew that the meat and dairy we eat, the production of it, is one of the largest contributors to the production of greenhouse gases and the world’s growing carbon footprint.

It’s not news that meat and dairy are among the largest contributors to the world’s growing carbon footprint, but lamb, beef, cheese, pork, and farmed salmon, in particular, generate the most greenhouse gases—sometimes four times more than other animal products and 13 times more than plant-based proteins.

Yet, even with the rapid world population growth, the demand for meat had increased at an even faster rate.

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The total demand for meat in the world had increased by 325% from 1961 to 2011, even though the total amount of people had gone up from 3 billion in 1961 to 7 billion in 2011 (267%).

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The total meat consumption demand had increased by 653% in China (Population: 0.65 billion in 1961 to 1.35 billion in 2011), again higher than the rate of increase in population size.

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The percentage increase in the Hong Kong is by far the largest:  2364% increase in meat consumption from 3.2 million (1961) to 7.1 million (2011) people. The average meat consumption in Hong Kong is 695 grams / day, 32% of our total daily diet! It’s the highest in the world (the world average is only 9%!) This pattern of our diet had significantly increased Hong Kong’s carbon footprint.

Please see National Geographic for more details about What the World Eats, to see the world and each country’s changing patterns in Daily Diet patterns and Meat Consumption percentage.

From the Guardian article, study of British people’s diets – meat-rich diet of more than 100g per day, resulted in 7.2 kg of Carbon dioxide emissions. If in Hong Kong, where the meat consumption is almost 700g per day, this may result in almost seven times: back 50kg of Carbon dioxide emissions!

The production of 1 kg beef causes about 13.3 kg of CO2. The same quantity of CO2 is released when you burn about 6 liters of petrol!

ASSUMING if each day, every person in Hong Kong eats 695 g of beef, it will produce 9.3 kg of CO2! The same quantity of CO2 released when you burn 5 liters of petrol…

The production and consumption of beef produce more CO2 than driving cars.

As primary consumers, we all have a role. As humans, we have to think of our environmental consequences to our future generation. Though eating less of the delicious beef is easier said than done, sometimes, it’s important to think of the consequences of our actions.

Let’s start eating less beef, today!

 

References:

National Geographic – What the World Eats
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/what-the-world-eats/

The Guardian – Giving up Beef with reduce Carbon Footprint more than Cars
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/21/giving-up-beef-reduce-carbon-footprint-more-than-cars

Time for Change – Eat less meat: CO2 emission of our food
http://timeforchange.org/eat-less-meat-co2-emission-of-food

 

 

 

 

What is a blog?

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What is a blog? A blog is a frequently updated online personal journey or diary. It’s a place to express yourself to the world. Whether or not to expect people to read it or not, it’s a place to share your thoughts, feelings, and passion. I think a blog is anything anyone would want it to be. You could make a blog for every different purpose. A blog is like a website, and whatever you want to show to the world, the playground is yours.

According to Howtostartablogonline.net, every day, 172,800 blogs are being created; every 2 seconds, a blog is being made. Let’s categorize the main reasons why people want to share on their blog:

  1. THOUGHTS. Sharing your thoughts in a blog is like writing a diary – what you think throughout the day, what did you see that sparked inspiration in your mind, who did you meet and what they talked about that influenced you and gave you insight.
  2. FEELINGS. On a spiritual sense, expressing your feelings in a blog is important too – may it be your social interactions with friends, family members, lovers or even colleagues. Or any talk you’ve listened to and FELT humane. If a part of you is growing, it’s good to write it in your blog – you monitor the difference in you throughout time.
  3. PASSION. What are you truly passionate about? This defines who you are. What you want for your future, or the world’s future. It is definitely different for everyone. May you be a general lifestyle blogger (who blogs about “quality of life” – eating good food, going to interesting places, playing different activities every day), or sports blogger, or food blogger, or anything – as long as there’s a field or category for your blog, you’re up! The way to write a blog is to believe that you’re the expert in your field – even if that field may just be yourself. No one will know you better than yourself anyway!

 

What is a blog?” is a question I kept asking myself today. Today, someone had questioned me. An acquaintance had informed me that she would start a blog, so I told her I had this blog (that usually is for information and my environmental opinions). Immediately, she expressed laughter that my blog is in Chinese and that my blog content is educational, which I don’t understand why. I believe that my acquaintance uses a blog to promote herself, however each blog has a different purpose: Even up until this day I would still believe that this blog had helped myself monitor the strength of my opinions and environmental ideas, and still very proud to be passionate about what I believe is right – building a sustainability society for the future.

As a social media frequent user who was also a food blogger, in the recent months, I started to feel that the idea of having a perfect Instagramable lifestyle was not at all flattering (see Essena O’Neil quitting Instagram). My aim is not to build an image of perfect life, it’s to express my opinions. As I grow older, I find entertainment less important than education. Lifelong learning to me beats the idea of temporary happiness resulted from entertainment. When I learn something, the ideas stay in my mind, but on the other hand, ‘entertainment‘ is a short-lived feeling of happiness. I would never say entertainment is unnecessary, however, I believe that our purpose of life should not be solely based on it.

My blog lets myself express what I am passionate and truly feel for. I hope that by expressing my opinions with backed up information, I hope to persuade others to also think about the environmental problems we are causing and hope my thoughts reach to someone, some day.I believe that if I could affect some people – every small step counts! Thank you 🙂 I will update more from now on. Stay tuned!

 

Self-sabotaging…”Moral Licensing”

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I stumbled upon an article that was written about one of the youngest professors under 30, talking about his main research – Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Business Ethics. As it seems, CSR in businesses is a ‘good way to impact’, but in one of Dr. Sam Yam’s papers, when he was researching the companies’ forcing the employees to partake in CSR practices (e.g. volunteering, charity donations, social welfare), the ‘good’ and ‘ethical’ motive may not be as well as it is envisioned. He said:

The idea is that when you force employees to be pro-social people, they gain a sense that they’re doing something really good, even though they didn’t really want to.

They aren’t being compensated for it, so they gain that sense of psychological entitlement and they feel freer to engage in unethical behaviour later on.

After I read this article, I really couldn’t believe how this would work. How would doing good entitle anyone to do bad later? I was very confused when I read this article; do humankind really perform in this way? What drives this behavior?

Since I didn’t explicitly believe in the results of Dr. Sam Yan’s research originally, as I couldn’t believe such a twisted behavior appeared within humankind. However, I had realized there’s a more common example that many of us can relate to: going to Church. Many of Hong Kong’s secondary schools are either Christian or a Catholic school – where religious studies are taught and tested, stories are acted, or had church going on every Friday. But after graduation, very little people actually keep the regular practice of going to church.

Moral Licensing

Moral licensing‘ (definition) is a type of social psychology, of a subconscious phenomenon; it occurs where past moral behavior makes people more likely to do potentially immoral things without worrying feeling immoral. In simple terms, this means that doing good gives you ‘permission to sin‘.
Some examples: According to the author of the infamous book “The Happiness Project“, Gretchen Rubin, moral licensing works like a ‘loophole‘, that is a seemingly infinite cycle that forces us to break the practice of establishing new habits. As we begin testing and making ourselves form and keep habits, we will eventually find excuses to stop and justify – then excuse ourselves until we reach the same situation again.

  1. I’ve run a lot today. I deserve some ice cream!
  2. I’ve saved so much money on these cheap clothes, I ought to buy a luxury handbag.
  3. I’ve worked a lot today, I deserve not to tidy my room.
  4. I’ve recycled my bottle yesterday. Today it’s fine, I’ll buy a disposable carton.
  5. I haven’t turned on the air conditioner for a few days, I get to blast it tonight!

Doing ‘good’ all day gives us permission to be ‘bad’.

Gretchen Rubin says, “Loopholes matter, because when we try to form and keep habits, we often search for loopholes. We look for justifications that will excuse us from keeping this particular habit in this particular situation. However, if we catch ourselves in the act of loophole-seeking, we can perhaps avoid employing the loophole, and improve our chances of keeping the habit.”

The only way to get out of this loophole is to identify keystone habits. Habits that…

  1. you will keep. You have identified it to be something you want to change about yourself.
  2. are actions that make you a part of your identity. A part of your character that you want to have.

In order to start a habit, is easy! It takes about 30 days to form a habit. So for each month, give yourself a MISSION.

  1. Wake up early and drink two cups of water
  2. Pack your things before you go to bed
  3. Pick out your outfit for the next day
  4. Read at least 10 pages of a book a day
  5. Watch a TED Talk every day
  6. Type 1/2 a blog post every day
  7. Not use more than 5 minutes of watering time when you’re in the shower (- switch off the water tap when you’re putting on shampoo, conditioner or body wash!)

All in all, it’s not difficult to start a habit. Get a habit-friend, a person who will report your life progresses with you all the time. Good Luck! I’m in for this too!

 

Realistic 5Rs

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Everyone had learned about the “R“s during the school days, but after graduating, most people had forgotten what they’ve learned. When going out to eat, drink, most people don’t regard their impact as a big problem, when in fact, each one of us on the Earth is contributing  to the environmental damage done. We’re just refusing to face the fact that we’re compromising our future.

To recap the “R”s we learned in primary and secondary school:

  1. Reduce
  2. Reuse
  3. Recycle
  4. Replace
  5. *new* REFUSE.

The 5th R is REFUSE, it’s a newer R in this concept. A reminder that we should refuse the opportunity to act in an unenvironmentally-friendly way.

5. REFUSE disposable plastic

  • #BYOB Bring Your Own Bag. Bring Your Own Bottle. Bring Your Own Box.
  • Bring your own bag when you go shopping.
  • Bring your own bottle when you go out. You can ask shops to fill the drinks in your bottle/tumblers.
  • Bring your own box when you go out for dinner and you think there’s a possibility of leftovers. If your box is too heavy – www.lexlim.com can help you – they have 100% silicon boxes that are collapsible and lightweight!
  • Choose items that aren’t packed in plastic.

 

1. REDUCE usage of materials

  • Such as doing double-sided photocopying.
  • Sharing a tempo tissue with a few people to wipe your mouth after meals.

2. REUSE everything!

  • Not everything is one-use!
  • Buy reusable cups, plates.
  • Don’t use paper cups at water stations.

3. RECYCLE paper, bottles, metals

  • Recycle paper the clean way. Keep paper dry, no staplers, stred the paper first if it’s business-related confidental information.
  • Recycle water bottles! Of course minimize the opportunity of ever buying water bottles outside, but if you do, the least you can do is recycle them.
  • Put a recycle bag at home. Collect bottles and then take them to the recycle station once a few days.
  • Recycle your canned drinks at recycle station – same principle.

4. REPLACE with environmentally-friendly versions

  • Replace your plastic or paper cups with real ones – it’s not bad to invest in a durable and long-lasting one.
  • Use environmentally-friendly recycled paper instead of pure white paper. White paper sucks when the light reflects on it and the paper is so bright, anyway.

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The above image is to recap. #BYOB

  • When going for a takeaway, going out for dinner, bring out a box!
    • So you don’t need to buy styrofoam boxes.
      *Styrofoam plastic = nonbiodegradable. Plastic that stays on Earth forever (even until you die!)
    • Suggestion: Buy silicon collapsible lightweight food containers @lexngo (actually I’m not sponsored by them! Honestly I feel that it’s a waste they’re not as known as they should be. It’s a plastic revolution!)Untitled design.png
    • Bring Your Own Bottle!
      • It’s hot in the summer, yes. We like to drink fruit juices from shops, bubble tea, starbucks or whatever! We can bring our own bottle or tumblers to those shops! (If you’re a HongKonger check this Apple Daily article about #BYOB: link) Very environmentally-fashionable too!
      • Help remake a tumbler a trend! Remember Starbucks’s tumbler discount: if you use their tumbler you get a $3 discount! Think about all the money you can save with all the coffee everyone drinks every day (Interesting fact: The average Hong Konger drinks 2.2 kg of coffee in 2012 alone! Source)

All-in-all, being environmentally-friendly may seem like a bother to some. But as long as it’s grown into our daily routine and incorporated into our daily lifestyle, it’s just as easy as you get up in the morning (since you have to wake up and live on anyway, same principle)!

#BYOB Let’s prepare our Earth’s future together.

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Hong Kong: King of Wastage

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How much waste are you producing everyday? Yes, we all know there’s environmental problems to care about. But how much action have we put into it to solve the problem?

I live in Hong Kong, one of the most wasteful cities in the world. In 2010, we were coined the most wasteful city in the world.

This graph below shows the total amount of waste disposed in landfills daily by year. From the graph, despite the environmental policies the government had implemented throughout this decade, the rate at which solid waste was disposed at Hong Kong landfills had not decreased (and only increased).

Basically, just more and more waste is generated in Hong Kong.

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Source: Monitoring of Solid Waste in HK: Waste Statistics for 2014

Imagine all that waste we are creating each day. In Hong Kong, in 2014 alone, almost 15000 tonnes of waste were disposed each day. Imagine that number multiplied 365 days in a year.

Almost 10000 tonnes were created by Domestic, Commercial and Industrial Waste. This means the trash from our households, offices and factories. This is waste we can save!

As a normal Hong Kong citizen, I didn’t know until this moment that the Environmental Bureau of the Hong Kong Government had built up a plan “Plan E” (I guess E for Environmental) to change our city to become environmentally friendly. This table is a summary of the goals:

http://www.enb.gov.hk/en/files/WastePlan-E.pdf

Source: Hong Kong Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022

Plan E

The Vision of this Plan E (I think E for Environmental) is “To instill environmental-sustainable culture in Hong Kong people’s daily life“. The target, “to reduce Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) by 40%  on a per capita basis by 2022, will specifically aim to reduce the current per capita MSW disposal of 1.27 kg per day to 0.8 kg per day by 2022“.

As ideal as this scheme sounds to everyone, had it not occurred that the disposal of MSW in Hong Kong had just been kept at around the same level in the past decade?

I had been particularly concerned with policy direction #2

“Make all out efforts to mobilize the community to participate”

The reason why I’m so surprised, is that I sent the image above (in green) to about 10 of my closest friends and family (all Hong Kong local residents), and literally none of them realized that the government had such great environmental goals for Hong Kong.

How could these goals be succeeded if the community of Hong Kong don’t even know about the plans of the government?

At least, the government needs to educate the citizens and make them voluntary participate.

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When comparing Hong Kong to other Asian countries, the daily domestic waste generation rate per capita is 1.36kg, significant more than Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo.

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This bar chart above shows the proportion of waste in which it is waste is managed.

Hong Kong, already with the highest generation of waste (from Figure 2), has the most inefficient waste management structure.

HK’s waste is 52% in landfill and 48% in recycling. 

Whilst other larger developed Asian cities have moved to incineration or other waste-to-energy processing technology and almost no landfill, Hong Kong’s main waste processing method remains as LANDFILL, 52%. Japan literally has no landfills, Singapore and Taiwan are at a mere 1and 2%, with South Korea at 19% but working on it to reduce their waste with great waste managing technology.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong says that its recycling 48% of its waste. I am wondering how trustworthy is the source of the information that had came from the official government documents. A few days ago, an article by South China Morning Post mentioned that only 17% of water bottles are successfully recovered for recycling, whilst the world international average was 37%.

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Pie chart showing the compositions of different MSW in Hong Kong.

In a typical rubbish bin, there may be a lot of food and leftovers of bones (40%), as well as other things. Putrescibles are actually organic, and when other in the countryside, it can be just thrown away as it is bio-degradable.

This is what we can do first – we can sort by sorting out our rubbish! In each household, we should put a small big that contains things we can bring to the recycle bin.

If you would like to know more about the nearest recycle bin by GPS:

iTunes Appstore: https://goo.gl/p5XUsP

Google Play: https://goo.gl/VpUY3m

Watch more about FOOD WASTE. A whooping 1/3 of the waste in Hong Kong comes from leftover food. When you order too much and leave food…think about where the waste goes in Hong Kong. Landfills only. Let’s not compromise our future generations…

Please watch this TED Talk: Tristram Stuart: The global food waste scandal

Sources: 

Hong Kong Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022 (2014). Retrieved May 31, 2016 from The Government of Hong Kong, Environment Bureau Web site: http://www.enb.gov.hk/en/files/WastePlan-E.pdf

Monitoring of Solid Waste in Hong Kong – Waste Statistics for 2014 (2015). Retrieved May 31, 2016 from Government of Hong Kong, Environmental Protection Department Web site: https://www.wastereduction.gov.hk/sites/default/files/msw2014.pdf