Reducing human carbon footprint has become a major concern for many environmentally conscious individuals. There has been an increased awareness on the necessity to develop green practices as things seem more pressing than ever. Scientists have been able to clearly establish that our actions do impact the environment and that a change is very much needed if we are to ensure the future of our planet – and humanity as a whole.
Many of us in Hong Kong are making conscious efforts and doing our bit by operating lifestyle changes. Things are changing – undeniably – slowly, but they are. However, for our efforts to truly have an impact, it is essential that everyone gets involved – from our parents and children to our helpers. Everyone needs to pitch in. Going green – don’t believe everything you hear – is easy and can be learned. Education is critical though as it ensures that awareness is raised and that practice will eventually happen. It is only through awareness and education that behaviours change. Surely, it will take time – all processes do – but anyone can get there with a dash of good will!
Your helper – and your children (they are key stakeholders) – will need support throughout the learning process. Keep in mind that this might be new territory for her, so give her time. It is only once she has understood what’s truly at stake that she can decide to commit to being part of the solution. Here are some tips to help educate your helper on eco-friendly practices and motivate her to practice them:
(1) First things first, explain to her what is at stake. Make sure that you help her get familiar with the jargon commonly used. Some words like ‘carbon footprint’, ‘gas emissions’, ‘green practices’ might not resonate with everyone.
(2) Get her one of the many books and guides– some are illustrated – that explain green practices and how to lead a green life. Have a look at our piece on World Environment Day to have access to loads of resources to help her figure out how to be part of the solution.
(4) Encourage her to practice and understand the benefits of every new gesture that she adopts. Invite her to take on some – ideally all – of the following life-changing gestures to preserve Mother Nature:
- Cook reasonable amounts of food and avoid preparing big portions that end up going to waste.
- If there are leftovers encourage her not to waste them. They can even be used to prepare new dishes.
- If you have installed a food composter, show her how to use it and explain the benefits.
- Explain to her how she can use the various bins at her disposal – let her know why it is important to segregate different types of materials such as plastic, paper, and glass. Describe what recycling is and what it is intended for – once she has understood the logic behind it, she will be more open to practising it!
- Invite her to watch her – and the household’s – energy consumption and reduce unnecessary use by switching off those appliances that are not in use – she might not be aware that as long as they are on they keep consuming energy whether they are being used or not!
- When making your grocery list – ideally with her –, make sure that you mention that she should only buy eco-friendly cleaning products as those are better for her health as well as for the environment.
Give her time. If she is truly motivated and feels concerned about the environment, she will surely get there in time.