When it comes to taking climate action, every action counts — whether it comes from a community group, a school, a business or even individuals like you and me.
And that’s exactly the aim of Climate Action Week (CAW) that’s happening from 19 — 25 September this year — to rally our people and communities to take collective climate action and secure a sustainable future for Singapore!
What counts is consistent participation from everyone, day after day, year after year. It’s the cumulative result of collective climate action, no matter how small, that will bring about the biggest positive change to our environment.
If you’ve ever thought being environmentally friendly was too daunting or laborious, here are eight simple habits you can easily incorporate into your daily life:
1. BRING-YOUR-OWN-BAG (BYOB)
Did you know that using one reusable bag over the course of a year can potentially replace up to 125 single-use disposable plastic bags? That’s 125 single-use plastic bags that you’re saving from Semakau Landfill.
So, remember to say no to plastic bags that you don’t intend to reuse!
Better yet, be prepared with a reusable bag at all times instead! They come in all shapes, sizes and designs these days. You’ll definitely be able to find one that fits your needs, whether it is for grocery shopping or to hold your precious loots when you’re in the mood for a shopping spree.
Tip: Try to find a reusable bag made with material that is light and designed to be compact. Then you can just pop it in your everyday bag and it won’t weigh you down or take up too much space. Or if you drive, always leave a few in your car.
If you’re interested to find out more about the life cycle of disposable bags, learn more here.
2. SET YOURSELF TO QUICK WASH
As we all know, water is a scarce resource for Singapore. Every single drop of water requires energy, chemicals, labour and material to produce. This means that by saving water, we’re also helping to reduce our collective carbon footprint.
We’ve done the math for you. During a shower, if you just turn off the water while soaping up — this action alone could save you up to 27 litres of water every day. That’s about 15 whole kettles of water!
3. STOP THE FLOW
It doesn’t take much to save water. Just take the same approach when you’re soaping the dishes in the sink. Trust us, your utility bills will thank you too.
Share this tip with your family, helper and friends so that more people can pick up this good habit!
Tip: Ever thought a leaky faucet could be negligible? The fact is, just a drop of water a second can amount to 4 litres of water lost in a day. Remember to tighten taps to prevent drips and get those leaks fixed quickly if you ever encounter one!
4. EXERCISE SOME AIR-CON-TROL
Allow us to share a shocking statistic — the electricity used by one air-con is enough to power 11 fans. Even worse, in tropical Singapore, people don’t think twice about turning up the air-conditioning till one needs to whip out a sweater.
That seems counter-productive, when setting the air-con at 25 degrees Celsius would be a comfortable temperature for most people. Another benefit is, of course, cost savings — you essentially could save up to $13 a year for every degree you increase.
But why use an air-con if there is an even cheaper and more environmentally friendly option? Open those windows to let natural light and the breeze in, and a fan should suffice.
Tip: If bugs flying in are deterring you from opening your windows, consider investing in a magnetic mosquito net that can be easily attached as a screen on your windows — I assure you, this really falls under “DIY” level.
5. SWITCH OFF AND GIVE ELECTRICITY A BREAK
Everyone can help as Singapore works towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving net zero emissions by or around mid-century.
What can an individual do?
Well, did you know that electrical appliances, particularly connected devices such as laptops, smart TVs, modems and routers, consume electricity even when they’re on standby mode? To conserve energy, remember to switch off your devices completely at the socket instead! (Note: this applies whether they are plugged in directly or via a multi-plug strip).
Tip: Charge up your phone before going to bed, as overnight charging often leads to energy wastage when the phone remains plugged in at full battery.
6. KEEP THE FUTURE BRIGHT WITH LED
These days, LEDs are lighting up the world, and for good reasons.
For example, LED light bulbs use up to 25% less electricity than Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs, and can last about 2.5 times longer. When your old light bulbs give out, do consider switching them to LED ones.
And when it comes to energy efficiency appliances, the more ticks the better! We’ve done the math for you again, and found that while energy efficient models may have a higher purchase price, they tend to have lower life cycle costs due to lower electricity costs over their lifespan. Use NEA’s Life Cycle Cost Calculator to make informed purchasing decisions for air-conditioners, refrigerators, clothes dryers and televisions.
Tip: The Climate Friendly Households Programme is a joint initiative by NEA and PUB which encourages households to reduce energy and water consumption. If you stay in a one to three-room flat, you might be eligible to register for e-vouchers to offset purchases of energy efficient appliances.
7. SUPPORT LOCAL, FOR CLIMATE’S SAKE
This may surprise you, but dotted around our city are countless farms producing different types of fresh leafy vegetables, fish and eggs that feed our nation.
If your question is “why not just import food like we’ve been doing?”, well that’s because the world is increasingly threatened by climate change, and imported food supplies aren’t as reliable as becoming more self-sufficient as a nation.
But local food production can only be ramped up further if there is enough demand from consumers to help sustain a healthy and vibrant agri-food ecosystem. When you head to the supermarket for your next grocery run, be sure to look out for the “SG Fresh Produce” logo and support local farmers with your purchase!
What’s more — local produce is safe, fresher and has a lower carbon footprint because it made a much shorter distance to travel from farm to your plate. Bon appétit~
8. GO PUBLIC WHEN YOU GO PLACES
As our transport system grows in capacity and usage, it is increasingly important to manage its environmental footprint. One of the key targets of the Singapore Green Plan 2030 is for all vehicles to run on cleaner-energy by 2030. Until electric vehicles take over our roads, carbon emissions from fuel-combustion cars will continue to contribute to global warming.
And aside from government efforts, individuals can make a conscious effort to choose modes of transport that have a lower carbon footprint too. For example, taking the MRT instead of driving can reduce one’s carbon footprint by 90%, or 70% if your ride is a public electric bus! And if you cycle or walk, then your carbon footprint is practically zero.
There really is a role for anyone and everyone to contribute to greening our environment, and it can start with small, simple daily habits.
Find out more about Climate Action Week here: www.mse.gov.sg/climate-action-week
We also invite you to make a pledge to take action, and help make Singapore a green, liveable and climate-resilient home!