Monday, 10 October 2011

Practicing what they Preach

It's refreshing to discover there are some Hong Kong Chinese people who are environmentally conscious and it's not because they have tight budgets.
The newspaper today has a short profile of an intellectual property lawyer who is not just talking about protecting the environment, but also doing it.

She can well afford to buy designer clothes, but Rachel Pang Hoi-yan had made a conscious decision not to and as a result she hasn't bought new outfits for a year and a half.

"This black pullover I am wearing is an abandoned one, and so is this handbag. This is the first time I have mad a made-in-France handbag. There is no way to tell it is second-hand."

She and her husband even furnish their flat with second-hand furniture and appliances.
When she first solicited her friends for cast-off clothing, they weren't sure she was serious about it, as many Chinese have a negative attitude towards second-hand clothing, thinking it's dirty or strange to wear someone else's clothes while in the west it's considered hip or chic.

Nevertheless some friends did contribute clothes and now Pang advertises them on a blog and people come and either take the clothes they are interested in or donate more.

The couple also eat sustainably -- renting a 7,000 square foot piece of land and grow organic vegetables as it consumes less energy than producing meat.

"It is easy to tell people to protect the environment but it is difficult when it comes to practice," she said. "If we are serious about protecting the environment and making it the philosophy of our life, it will have a profound impact on every aspect of our lives." She adds that's why there are still people who refuse to acknowledge climate change.

Pang believes Hong Kong is geared towards consumerism, which is not a sustainable lifestyle.

"In Hong Kong shopping is an entertainment. We wander in malls every weekend, so we keep consuming. Fashionable clothes are getting cheaper and cheaper, and new designs rolled out quickly. Our way of living is unsustainable."

She hopes that through her grass roots actions, people will think twice about buying something.

With the economy starting to go slightly downhill, people may hesitate about consuming, but more because of their wallets than the earth...

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