Saturday, 19 March 2011

Unsustainable Rant

Hong Kong is a completely unsustainable city.

The vast majority of its food and some of its water is imported while almost all the consumer products are imported from elsewhere.

People here don't seem to understand the concept of conserving resources.

I've watched an expat woman leave the water running full blast out of the tap as she washes her face with a cleanser for several minutes. It was only when she saw me turn off my tap as I washed my hands with soap did she turn her tap off.

I've also observed people using five sheets of paper towels to wipe their hands dry when one will suffice.

Today I left my flat to pick up my laundry and saw a BMW (license plate FJ106) idling with no one in the car. I came back at least 10 minutes later to see the car still idling and no owner in sight.

And I have mentioned many times in other blog posts about how this city does not actively push recycling, or environmental awareness on its residents.

Hong Kong really needs to do a reality show where people are taught that the resources we have now are running out and we need to conserve what we have for future generations. I would love to see the shock on their faces when they realize how big a carbon footprint each of them has and what they need to do to decrease it.

Scientists would be on the show explaining global warming and how we need to mitigate the amount of carbon dioxide we release in the air, how idling vehicles exacerbate the problem and how we should all be driving at least hybrid cars, and taking public transport in electric or hybrid buses.

We'd also have experts explaining how to cut down on the amount of garbage we produce each day, the importance of recycling and how it benefits not only the environment but also society, and how to set up recycling stations in each district or neighbourhood.

Then how about a water expert explaining that we can't keep relying on Guangdong for Hong Kong's water supplies -- that we should try to cut down on our usage as much as possible and tell people they need to turn off the tap when they brush their teeth or wash their hands.

Next a chef or nutritionists on the importance of eating sustainably by buying more local produce or at least food that's produced nearby, or heck that we should be instituting meatless Mondays or massively cut down on the amount of meat we're eating. I'm quite shocked there are a number of new steakhouses open in the city. Don't we have enough beef already? While we can import practically any kind of food we want here, is it really that necessary?

And finally tackling consumerism -- how we should severely decrease our consumption habits, whether it be for take out, cheap clothes or useless trinkets that we throw out eventually. While Hong Kong is known as the shopping mecca of Asia, is that all the city is? Can't Hong Kong be known for other things, other than blatant materialism? Or is it too shallow to realize its own shallowness?

Sorry for the rant here, but after eight months here, seeing how this city has hardly progressed in the environmental awareness area is appalling. A few months ago the WWF has named Hong Kong as one of the most unsustainable cities in the world.

Doesn't that shameful reputation make it want to do something about it?

Or it's too caught up in its material world to realize it...

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