World Environment Day: Understanding Sustainability With Upcycle4Better
June 4th, 2021 at 7:45 am
Every year, on 5 June, World Environment Day is celebrated to encourage governments, businesses and citizens to do their part in protecting the planet. The global platform highlights the importance of nature, inspiring action to be taken against pressing environmental issues. From sustainable consumption and environmentally-friendly businesses, to ecological restoration and education, positive change is needed for a greener future!
There’s no denying that more people care about protecting the environment these days, but the term “sustainability” has turned into a buzzword that’s thrown around in marketing campaigns. As more companies and brands have grown to focus on sustainability, it’s become harder to understand what that word actually means. By definition, sustainability is “the use of natural products and energy in a way that does not harm the environment”. When companies and brands claim to be sustainable, are we, the consumers, able to tell if it’s true?
This World Environment Day, we would like to introduce you to the latest sustainability platform, Upcycle4Better, founded by sustainable fashion advocate, Seri Mizani, and visual storyteller, Hafreez Amminuddin. With their stellar combination of creativity and innovation, that’s a match made in heaven, Upcycle4Better is on a mission to create a community that’s inspired by the beauty of maintaining environmental sustainability through upcycling. After all, team work does make the dream work! Below, they break down sustainability to help us, as consumers, understand the impact of our actions and choices.
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What is sustainable consumption?
Seri: Speaking based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 12, in my understanding, sustainable consumption is about moving towards green growth and getting to a point where we all could provide a triple-win perspective – a balance between the people, the economy, and specifically the planet. To make it simple, it means with whatever choices you make, you have to consider “is this going to harm the people, the planet and the ecosystem in the long run?”. I know, it’s so intense! It’s a lot to take in and it’s easier said than done too.
We’re only at the start of finding sustainable ways when it comes to our day-to-day consumption and lifestyle. However, I do believe that the pandemic has heightened our environmental awareness. I feel like some of us have been slowly implementing sustainability in our lives without realising it, such as buying from local small businesses, eating more plant- based, or just reusing the same baju for 3 straight days because we’re just working from home, haha!
Anyways, personally, how I see sustainable consumption at the moment, is making sustainable choices / decisions that are achievable for us. Start small. Going for a sustainable lifestyle will not happen overnight, so do what sparks you!
How can we build a sustainable culture here in Malaysia?
There are a good amount of things that we can do as individuals to minimise our impact and create a better relationship with our environment. However, there is more that we can do as a collective.
Building a culture means having the like-minded people with the same values. Right at this moment, realistically, building a sustainable culture in Malaysia means educating the people around us on what it means to be “sustainable”. There are people who still see it as vague, which is understandable.
Most of us were not taught to understand what sustainability and caring for the planet means. Not even in school. That is why we do believe education is key when it comes to building a culture, especially if it is a sustainable one.
What are some affordable ways people can practice sustainability?
Up-cycling, of course! It’s the most economical way to practise sustainability. You can do it with food by making leftovers, repurposing empty jars, or restyling your old clothes. There’s a lot of ways!
Keep up with Upcycle4better’s efforts and join their community by following them on Instagram!
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