This April is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and it is a moment in time when we can reflect on the benefits of nature in our lives. In challenging times like these, nature can bring us calm, hope and joy. People need nature and nature needs people to thrive together. This Earth Month, we ask that you Act for Earth to care for one another and protect our planet.
Act for Earth by taking simple steps to live a bit greener.
Leave No Trace
When we can't connect with others, we can connect and be inspired by nature in all its forms. Whether you are playing with your child in your local park or taking a hike in the New Territories, here are some tips to leave nature intact when you visit it.
- Don’t take rocks, plants, sticks or other natural objects.
- Don’t feed animals: feeding wildlife damages their health, changes their behaviors and exposes them to predators.
- Do visit less popular trails.
- Do be safe. Stay on the trail and avoid going into wild areas.
- Do keep your dogs on a lead at all times.
- Do be polite by yielding to other users on the trail.
- Do let the sound of nature comfort you and others: avoid loud radios, voices and noises.
Mind Your Trash
Nature is here for us today, and if we take care of it, nature will be here for us tomorrow. We are all in this together, so Act for Earth when you are enjoying the outdoors.
- Don’t litter. There has been an increase in littering on beaches and trails, especially of face masks.
- Don’t plan to bin your rubbish when out in nature. The number of public rubbish bins has been reduced to curb public waste, and there may not be one available on your outing.
- Do plan to take any rubbish you generate home with you.
- Do remove all organic rubbish including apple cores, banana peels, peanut shells, etc. It can take up to two years for an orange peel to decompose, and human food can be dangerous to wildlife that consume it. Do consider “plogging” meaning picking up trash while jogging, hiking or walking.
Consider Your Food
In Hong Kong, it is well known that we create too much food waste. It is great that many restaurants will allow you to bring your own container for take away or leftovers. But there other, easy changes we can make to reduce the environmental impact of what we eat.
- Do reduce meat and animal products such as dairy, because they produce methane and use more natural resources as compared to plants. Good news! Many restaurants in Hong Kong are expanding their vegetarian and vegan options.
- Do research the environmental impact of your food choices. For example, fruits and vegetables are a better choice than meat, but did you know it takes 53 liters of water to produce one orange?
- Do avoid extra packaging on food like shopping at wet markets but be sure to bring your own reusable bags.
- Do eat the food you buy. Try to make another meal out of leftovers.
- Don’t eat air-shipped food. In Hong Kong, this takes some effort, but try to avoid fresh foods that are air shipped long distances.
Care For Wildlife
Despite being a densely populated city, Hong Kong has a huge variety of plants and animals. Of the 245 species of butterflies in Hong Kong, 50 of them have been recorded in urban parks, proving nature really is all around us. Act for Earth by thinking about how you can care for wildlife.
- Don’t buy or consume wildlife products such as shark’s fin, turtle shells or ivory.
- Don’t use pesticides or rodent killers around your home that can harm species and pollute waterways.
- Do understand how habitats are interconnected and know that what happens on land affects water sources.
- Do reduce plastics that can impact marine life including micro plastics found in toothpaste and beauty products.
- Do support organizations that are working to conserve wildlife and biodiversity.
- Do consider joining the City Nature Challenge 2020, April 24 – 27, while practicing social distancing Hong Kong ranked second globally in 2019 with 3,596 species recorded four days.