Learn Small, Win Big
Just as the definition of "sustainability" continues to evolve with the needs of this planet, the road to living a more sustainable life is a constant learning process.
I learn new ways to live more sustainably every day, in part through trial and error (that compost is still not turning into dry dirt I can run my hands through – what am I doing wrong??), in other parts via via apps and podcasts.
Tip no. 1
THE APP LIFE
When I first started on this journey, one of the first things I looked at was where my food was coming from. Like many, I love Japanese food and am unlikely to ever get tired of raw fish, so I began to look there. Just a little bit of research uncovered that Atlantic and Southern bluefin tuna are endangered, 'Bigeye' and Pacific bluefin are "vulnerable" and Albacore and Yellowfin are "near threatened". These are a result of overfishing and irresponsible fishing; if we continue to eat the way we do, we'll drive this fish to extinction in the very near future.
This led me to being very cautious about what I eat. Because my knowledge of endangered fish was and is still limited, I use apps to check on the conservation status of fishes before I order a meal, or purchase seafood. As most apps are Western hemisphere-centric, the one with a list that shows most of what we have in Singapore is WWF Hong Kong's 'Sustainable Seafood Guide'. Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide app by the Australian Marine Conservation Society is also pretty easy to use.
Because it is difficult to determine the type and origins of tuna served in Singapore, I phased tuna out of my diet, only eating it when I am sure of the source. As these moments don't come so easily now, I'm savouring my food so much more.
Tip no. 2
PLUG IN TO SCALE UP
Podcasts are one of my favourite ways to learn – it brings purpose and productivity to my in-between moments like getting ready for work and commutes. 'Sustainability Defined' is a US-produced show that "seeks to define sustainability, one concept (and bad joke) at a time." Meanwhile, 'Direct Current' – also a US podcast – is an "unexpectedly delightful mashup of the federal government and NPR-style commentary." Since in many ways, we are years behind on sustainability in Singapore, these podcasts tells us what we can apply here, and what we shouldn't.
iTunes University (remember them?) is also a trove of information. Aside from heavier courses from the likes of Yale and The Open University, they have podcasts like ‘Green Heart Effect’, which shares tips on modern sustainable living in half hour stretches, and ‘A Sustainable Mind' through which you'll hear first-hand accounts of sustainable journeys, habits and lessons learnt.