During a time of social distancing and restricted movement, we find ourselves physically isolated – but that doesn’t mean we can’t connect with each other. It’s actually essential that we do so during times like these because now, more than ever, we need each other the most!
The rise in coronavirus cases has evolved into another national crisis that’s called for us to support our own communities. If you’ve been struggling to deal with problems on your own – self-care isn’t enough to get you through this pandemic. With community care, you’ll be provided the support needed during these hard times, making collective care key to getting through this.
But what exactly is community care? It’s the compassion we show others, whether one or many, and the actions we take to do so – regardless of the size. Here are a few ways you can practice community care during the CMCO:
- Support small businesses
During the first lockdown, small businesses took a big hit – seeing the closure of many stores and restaurants across the nation. The other remaining enterprises have been struggling to stay afloat, which is why it would really help to order from home-based food businesses, buy groceries from local farmers, and shop local products from home-grown brands.
2. Check in on your family, friends and colleagues
The uncertainty has made it a stressful and anxiety-inducing time for us all, so if you have the mental capacity to do so – check in on others and let them know you’re there for them. Even if you’re unable to, show that you still care by sending them an emoji or even a song!
3. Help those in need
You don’t always have to donate money to help, you can also volunteer your time and skills. Start a fundraising campaign, help raise funds by sharing an existing campaign, or go through your belongings to find things you can donate.
4. Check for facts and fake news
This is important for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing as the spread of fake news and rumours have caused many to feel anxious and overwhelmed. Stay informed and double check any news you receive before sharing it – make sure it comes from a reputable source!
5. Be more eco-friendly
For hygiene reasons, the use of disposable plastic products has rapidly grown – causing the pandemic to have a negative effect on the environment as well. Make the effort to minimise your single-use plastic waste by switching to reusable bottles, cutlery and containers. Don’t forget to sanitize!
Community care isn’t here to replace self-care, it’s a necessary addition to it. Take care of yourself and others during this time – the only way we can curb COVID-19 again is by working together!
As consumers grow more aware of the harm caused by fast fashion, it’s been refreshing to see sustainability rise as a trend. But wait, what exactly is sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion uses materials that are carefully sourced and produced with the environment in mind. It’s also known as ethical fashion as it ensures safe and fair working conditions for their employees. In some cases, sustainable fashion can also refer to thrifting and repurposing – this involves upcycling old clothes and turning them into completely new pieces of clothing!
We’ve been seeing more and more local brands commit to making a difference, and they look good while they’re at it. Here are 6 local sustainable fashion brands you can support:
Terrae, which means ‘Earth’ in Latin and Italian, is a sustainable activewear brand that focuses on being both durable and timeless.
Their clothes are made from a material called ECONYL, which is regenerated nylon derived from discarded fishing nets, and fabric scraps that would otherwise end up in landfills. This virgin nylon alternative has great recovery power, so you don’t need to sweat about its performance! Even their packaging is produced from recyclable and biodegradable materials.
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Inspired by the Russian word ‘озеро’, which means ‘lake’ in English, Ozero stays true to its creative name with each swimwear design being named after lakes.
By using ECONYL, their fabulous pieces are made from rescued plastic waste, such as fishing nets and industrial plastic, and offer everything you look for in good swimwear – like great shape retention, chlorine and suntan cream resistance, and excellent UV protection!
Batik lovers, this one’s for you.
Dona Plant Base is a sustainable brand that strongly believes in ethical practices and giving back to the community. Their beautiful batik pieces are made by artisans in Bali and therefore, each piece is completely unique and made in limited quantities – like a work of art.
They use natural dyes from locally grown plants, upcycled textiles, organic sustainable materials, as well as plastic-free packaging. Dona Plant Base offers the most gorgeous tops, dresses, bags, face masks and more!
Fast fingers are needed to get a Ghostboy piece since their tops are always sold out within minutes!
Founded by David and Cyii Cheng, Ghostboy Club is known for its distinctive one-of-a-kind pieces that can be spotted from a mile away. Each item is uniquely designed and handmade with used clothing sourced from thrift stores and donations. The end product is an eccentric piece of art that’s attracted their cult following.
Lazii Vintage is a sustainable brand that turns the oversized ‘dad shirt’ into all-the-rage goodness!
They rework and upcycle vintage sweatshirts and other clothing to increase the lifespan of each item. Their pieces are carefully curated and uniquely reworked by hand with no two pieces alike. Lazii also extends its sustainability efforts to the packaging by using eco-friendly and recycled materials.
Lemon by ACK is a slow fashion label that uses ethically sourced fabrics and materials such as 100% organic cotton to create eye-catching apparel and accessories.
Their beautiful tops, bags and swimwear are manufactured at a local sewing facility run by the non-profit organization, Life 2 Life El Shaddai, which focuses on fostering life-long skills and knowledge to displaced individuals.
Feed two birds with one seed and shop from these sustainable brands – you’ll be saving the Earth, ensuring fair practices and supporting small businesses!
Do you remember how exciting it was to find a tin of Danish butter cookies at grandma’s house? Our little fingers would struggle to pry open the shiny blue Royal Dansk container, but once we finally managed to get the lid off – our hopes and dreams of stuffing our faces with crispy cookies were shattered by the presence of a sewing kit.
That’s probably where our trust issues stemmed from (along with the other unpleasant surprises we’d find in different food containers), but it was also, most likely, our first introduction to sustainability.
According to the United Nations Brundtland Commission (1987), sustainability is defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. So when grandma needed a place to store her raw seasoned chicken – reusing a Neapolitan ice cream tub was her way of reducing waste and protecting the environment.
We might have laughed and even rolled our eyes as they hoarded plastic items, but now their methods of reusing and recycling are considered admirable and are highly encouraged. This makes them the true pioneers of the low waste movement. Here are a few familiar throwbacks to their sustainable living:
- Must. Reuse. Every. Container.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter might be the name of a margarine brand, but it’s exactly how we felt every time we opened a tub of butter to find last night’s leftovers instead of a spread for our toast. We did not enjoy that guessing game!
- Triangular Plastic Bags
These were more enjoyable to do – we’d help fold plastic bags into triangles after grocery shopping and then store them in another plastic bag for future use. Plastic bags aren’t biodegradable, so this helped prevent them from ending up in landfills, waterways or the ocean.
- The Plastic Drawer
There was always that one drawer filled with, what seemed to be, the most random things from McDonald’s sauces and Domino’s chili flakes to plastic cutlery, straws and bread ties that were ready to be reused. Maybe hoarding had some points.
It has become our responsibility to protect the planet from further harm. Take a page from grandma’s book and reduce your waste by reusing single-use items (if you can). Through waste prevention and simple waste management, you’ll be able to reduce your negative environmental impact and help conserve the earth’s resources!
When it comes to plastic consumption, we usually think about our poor usage of plastic water bottles, bags, straws, and how it pollutes the environment – ending up in the noses of endangered sea turtles. You can now add yourself to the list because according to a study done by the University of Newcastle, Australia, we have actually been ingesting plastic, eating as much as a credit card (approximately five grams) a week!
Our oceans are heavily polluted with the International Union for Conservation of Nature reporting a shocking eight million tons of plastic being dumped a year. This has caused plastics to make up 80% of all marine debris, from surface waters to deep-sea sediments, giving rise to drinking water (both bottled and tap) as the single largest source of plastic ingestion. The plastics break down into microplastics and leak into our food chain with high levels found in shellfish, beer and salt.
What are microplastics?
Microplastics consist of any plastic particles that are smaller than 5mm. Primary microplastics enter the environment as small particulates, such as microbeads and microfibers, and secondary microplastics come from the degradation of larger plastic like plastic bags. Neither of them are biodegradable and have been extremely difficult to remove, causing severe injuries and deaths to marine animals that eat or get entangled in the plastic debris.
How do they affect our health?
A number of scientists and organizations, including the World Health Organization, are growing concerned by the potential negative health effects of plastics. Although more research is needed, the Plastic Health Coalition was formed to find out evidence on the endocrine disrupting chemicals, which are usually found in plastics, and their link to our hormones and immune systems, and causing cancer.
What can we do to reduce plastic consumption?
- Switch out face scrubs with harmful microbeads for chemical exfoliators. Not only are they more gentle on your skin – they are more effective too! Find out more in our beginner’s guide to chemical exfoliation here.
- Look out for the “Zero Plastic Inside” logo, which can be hard to find, so Beat The Microbead (an international campaign against plastic in cosmetics) has created a search engine to help you find out what products still contain microbeads and microplastics ingredients.
- If you’ve already made the change from single-use makeup wipes to a reusable makeup remover cloth, please make sure It’s not a microfiber cloth as they are not biodegradable. See our list of reusable beauty products for natural cotton and bamboo alternatives.
- Plastic water bottles contain twice the amount of microplastics than tap water. Avoid consuming these particles by finally giving up the disposables and using a refillable water bottle.
- Use loose tea leaves instead of plastic teabags as they have been found to release billions of microplastics into your tea itself. Unfortunately, manufacturers have replaced traditional paper tea bags with plastic ones.
As you’ve noticed from restaurants not using plastic straws and stores charging for plastic bags, Malaysia already has a roadmap towards zero single-use plastics in place. It’s a great first step for us to be more mindful of our everyday consumption, but to take further action against plastic pollution, you can check out these campaigns and get involved: