Cleaning up our habits: the adventure of our lifetime



So much is going on in the environmental front these days, globally. From David Attenborough’s Our Planet series, Greta Thunberg’s speech to EU leaders and the students’ strikes on climate change taking place all over the world, to the Extinction Rebellion movement, it seems clearer and clearer that changing the way in which we are and live as humans on this planet is of outmost urgency.

Now, the complexity and scales of the issues we face are so massive that it is easy to fall into despair, hopelessness or just simply feel that whatever we do will never be enough. This is, I believe, the greatest danger of all.

When Esther took me to the sites we were scouting for the Adventure Clean Up Challenge, I was saddened and devastated by the amount of trash accumulating in each of these beautiful, natural spaces. But as I looked closely, the realisation that all of these items could be traced back to human activity and consumption - from flip flops to plastic bottles, and of course the worst of all, styrofoam - gave me (believe it or not!) a sense of renewed hope. If we are part of the problem, that means we can also be the solution.

The Adventure Clean Up Challenge has been purposefully designed to be not just about sites clean ups, but also - and most importantly I would say! - about teams engaging with their communities, families and friends in raising awareness and offering insights to what we can all do to, apart from fixing the damages - that is, doing the actual clean ups - preventing them in the first place.

This is what I love the most about this competition: that we can all participate, in our own ways. Even if we are not part of a team cleaning up a site, we can use this time of the challenge to embark in the adventure of looking at our daily habits, one by one, day by day, and choose to clean up our routines and choices.

There is so much space and opportunity for impact in our own here and now: our households, our workspaces, our daily breakfast and lunches! And we can choose to see this personal change as a laborious hassle, or - hopefully! - as the adventure of our lifetime, of this era that is desperately calling for a new way of being to come into place.

Here are a few tips to begin with:

  1. Love your teeth, love the planet.

    Yes, plastic toothbrushes are inundating landfills. According to Foreo, US only wastes over 1 billion toothbrushes every year. That is enough to stretch around the Earth 4 times.

    Luckily there are sustainable options these days, like the one offered by Eartheries - a bamboo toothbrush. And, you can buy it online!

  2. Oh my, those plastic umbrella bags…

    14 million single use umbrella plastic bags are estimated to be used during HK’s wet season - from June to September. This can easily be replaced by a reusable, fancy umbrella pocket bag which again you can get delivered to your doorstep!

  3. For kids presents, choose wood over plastic.

    There is an amazing range of sustainable wood toys offered again by Eartheries online. Check them out here

What other options can you think of and share? Post your #habitscleanup idea and tag us @adventurecleanup on Instagram and Facebook #adventurecleanHK, #thecleanupadventure