Guest Blogger 4: Charlene Goh on Green

December 31, 2009

Let’s face it.


Malaysians aren’t known for their concern for the environment. Our trucks and busses pump black smoke (literally) into the air like nobody’s business, we drive to the store one block away, and we sit in air conditioned rooms all day. In an ideal world, in order to be kindest to Mother Earth, everybody would be vegetarian, everybody would ride bicycles everywhere, and everybody would use reusable everything.

However, in this modern age of consumerism, that is not the case.

Having lived in the United States for 4 years, I would say that Malaysians are one step ahead of Americans in reducing waste. American households are a fan of disposable everything. They use paper towels to wipe and clean things, disposable mops, even disposable toilet brushes. Most food establishments use disposable silverware and plates, too. Malaysian frugality has its benefits. Let’s keep it up!

How can we even think about helping the environment when there are so many other things on our plate?

It’s simple, really.

Below are a few everyday things that everyone can do to reduce waste:


Hello, Anya Hindmarch!

  1. Bring a canvas bag when you know you’re going to do some major shopping to avoid countless paper bags that end up in the trash anyway. You don’t need those bags.
  2. Always print on both sides.
  3. Switch off the air-conditioning when you’re not home. Try not to leave it on when you know you’ll be out for 2 hours just “so it will be cool” when you get home (like I used to do :P)
  4. Bring your own reusable bags when grocery shopping. Or tell the lady not to double-bag everything.
  5. Walk or bike, if possible (Read: If you’re in a secure, gated community with security guards). We are not known for our safe streets, either.
  6. If you must drive, drive a hybrid car.
  7. Bring your own container when tapau-ing food.

These are just few of many adjustments we can make. Try different things out, and find changes that fit your lifestyle, changes that can become a part of your lifestyle. There is no sense in going green just because it’s trendy and it’s what celebrities are doing.

With some practice, we can do what we can for the environment, and feel better about ourselves.