Blog Tag: Ethical Consumerism

Earth Hour 2017

Posted by Peter MUIR

This weekend is Earth Hour (8:30pm on 25 March 2017), a global event that sees millions of people, businesses, and landmarks switch off their lights as well as host events aimed at raising awareness about climate change.

Click here for Earth Hours events in HK.

Getting involved in Earth Hour is certainly something that people should consider getting involved in, but the organiser do not want you to stop there. This event is not simply about turning off appliances and lights. As promoted on the event’s website, it is a movement pushing for ongoing action and climate consciousness. It is advocating for ongoing change. The phrase ‘Earth hour – every hour’ perhaps best sums up these ideas.  What we must ensure is that switching lights off for one hour does not result in making people feel they are doing something for the environment, while in reality the amount of carbon emissions reduced by the earth hour is negligible.  We need to aim for ongoing, consistent steps to reduce our impact.

So, while you are encouraged to get involved this coming weekend and make some noise for climate change action, you are more so encouraged to get involved in ongoing action. The same can be said for those who participates in ‘Lights Out’ here at DC last week – ongoing action is the goal here!

Go beyond the hour

Posted by Peter MUIR

Earth Hour 2016 is approaching!


By now, you probably know all about the most famous Earth Hour action: switching off all non-essential lighting. Since the first Earth Hour, held on 31 March 2007 by WWF-Australia, the event has become a beacon of global concern about climate change and the world’s largest environmental action. The size of the event has grown enormously, with millions of people around the world supporting subsequent Earth Hours.

Switching off for an hour is actually an easy challenge. What can you do to go beyond switching off non-essential lighting (on 19 March 2016 between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. local time)? What action can you take to consume less and consume wisely? Keep in mind that small, daily changes to a person’s lifestyle can make a big difference to our planet. What will you do?

Ban the Bead

Posted by Peter MUIR

The Story of Stuff Project has released a new video that aims to educate about microbeads  and the impact they have on the environment.

Why not take action to and get involved in banning the bead.  Investigate more about the issue, prepare an action plan and then act!  The Story of Stuff website has some ideas and resources to support taking action to ban the bead.

Hong Kong’s Ecological Footprint hits a record high

Posted by Peter MUIR

globalfootprintAccording to the Living Planet Report 2014 published by WWF across the world, global wildlife populations have declined by 52 per cent in the last 40 years! Humanity’s Ecological Footprint is now 1.5 times the available biocapacity – in other words, it takes 18 months for the Earth to regenerate what humanity consumes in 12 months.

The situation in Hong Kong is even worse: our per capita Ecological Footprint recently hits a record high of 5.4 global hectares – the 15th largest in the world. This huge “ecological deficit” ranks Hong Kong as first in Asia – not something that those living in Hong Kong should be proud of. To put it in perspective, if everybody on the planet lived a Hong Kong lifestyle, we would require 3.1 Earths to fulfil our resource needs.

All Hong Kong residents have a shared responsibility in reducing our impact on the planet.  Businesses, citizens and schools alike need to put real effort into reducing our Ecological Footprint today.  WHat could you do to reduce your personal eco-footprint?  How could you reduce your family’s eco-footprint?  And what about DC’s – how could we reduce our impact?  There are many opportunities for students to lead the way and make change here – change that could make a difference in the impact we have on our planet.  Of course, such meaningful action would be a valued part of your Community Engagement efforts.   Speak to Mr Muir if you are keen to learn more.

WWF tracking sustainable seafood awareness

Posted by Peter MUIR

WWFlogoThe idea of sustainable seafood is becoming more popular around the world. Here in HK, WWF-Hong Kong has been promoting the concept to seafood suppliers across the city. They have recently received some great news: two of Hong Kong’s major seafood suppliers recently reviewed their records and found that sales of sustainable seafood increased by an average of 100% between 2010 to 2013 – equivalent to an increase of 1,200 tonnes!

Now, WWF-Hong Kong want to know what consumers think about sustainable seafood. Please help them by filing out the online “Consumer Demand for Sustainable Seafood Survey”. Your responses will be crucial to helping us track the progress of their conservation work!

If a City can do it, can DC?

Posted by Peter MUIR

This news from The Story of Stuff about the plastic bottle ban in the city of San Francisco is a bit outdated.  Regardless, it highlights how advocacy can lead to change.  It also makes me think – if the city of that size can do, why can’t Discovery College? Or all ESF schools?

SF bottled water victory

The Issue: Bottled water is one of the biggest, least necessary, wastestreams that we currently create. San Francisco debated historic legislation that would ban the sale of bottled water on city property, and invest in public water resources.

Their Response: Hundreds of our Story Community members wrote in to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, voicing support for the water bottle ban, and helping to pass the legislation.

The Story: With our friends at Corporate Accountability International leading the way in pushing the issue, San Francisco became the biggest and most visible city to debate regulations on the sale of bottled water. The historic legislation would ban the sale of bottled water on city property, as well as make important investments in public water resources to ensure access to fresh, clean water. Bottled water companies knew the importance of the move: San Francisco was one of the first cities to regulate plastic bags, and passage of this bill could establish it as model legislation for other communities to follow. Hundreds of members of our Story Community wrote in to support the legislation, which passed in a tough vote to kick off the next fight over unnecessary waste.

San Francisco Examiner: SF becomes first major city to ban sale of plastic water bottles, March 4th 2014

Wanted – organisers of Ethical Consumer week.

Posted by Peter MUIR

DC will again be hosting the Ethical Consumer Week next month, and we are looking for Year 10 students to organize it.  Those who sign up will be work together to organize to create awareness about what it means to be an ethical consumer, and the impact we as consumers have on our Earth and each other. Keen to get involved?  Then click here to sign up.  Places are limited, so sign up asap (and yes, your involvement could be considered a C&S project).

CAS / C&S Idea – Fisheries Conversation

Posted by admin

Without urgent attention, we could be the last generation that catches food from the oceans.  Fish stocks around the globe are being depleted by never seen before consumption, consumption that is not sustainable.    According to Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan “the marine environment is facing challenges that, if not addressed immediately and effectively, will have profound implications for sustainable development.”

msc labelWhat could you do to address this issue as a part of your CAS / C&S programme?  Develop a plan that aims to increase awareness about the issue; educate people about their seafood-consumption habits; advocate for people to only eat seafood that comes from well-managed fisheries – such as those listed in this document from World Wildlife Fund Hong Kong – wwfhk_seafood_guide

World Food Day – volunteers wanted

Posted by admin

World Food Day logoDid you know that about a third of all food produced globally is wasted?  Here in Hong Kong, according to Friends of the Earth (HK), we produce over 3,000 tonnes of food waste every year!  Then of course there are the food issues of famine and ensuring that we produce enough food for an ever-increasing world population.

World Food Day (16th of October every year) is a day declared by the UN General Assembly to aim to heighten public awareness of world food problems and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.  We will be holding events / activities here at DC to celebrate this day as a part of our Community Engagement.  We are asking for Year 9 students to form an committee that will orgniase our involvement.   Keen to get involved?  Then click here and sign up today as there is a limit on how many people can join this committee.   And yes – this would be a C&S Project.

DC Ethical Consumer Quiz

Posted by Peter MUIR

As a part of ethical consumer week, the student organising committee held a quiz.  Here are the answers:

What percentage of Hong Kong’s garbage is food waste?
40% – Food waste accounts for almost 40 percent of Hong Kong’s municipal solid rubbish. This adds to the landfill crisis, which must one day hit breaking point. Source

In 2010, Hong Kong imported how many tonnes of frozen pork?
120,000 – 140,000 – 130 298 tonnes from Brazil (32%) Mainland (49%) USA (6%) Germany (2%) – Source

According to a survey of landfill rubbish, how many plastic bags would each Hong Kong person use every day? (From the total estimated number of plastic bags used divided by Hong Kong’s population).  More than 3 – landfill survey indicates that some eight billion plastic shopping bags are disposed of at landfills every year. This translates into more than three plastic shopping bags per person per day, which apparently go beyond our needs. done in 2012?  Source

What percentage of Hong Kong’s total food supply is imported?
90% of the total food supply in Hong Kong is imported food. The Mainland is our most important food source, especially for fresh food. Source

How many plastic water bottles are used by school children in Hong Kong each year?
20 million – An estimated 20 million plastic water bottles – equivalent to 16 football fields – are dumped by local schoolchildren each year. That’s the finding of a Chinese YMCA survey involving 1,883 Primary Four to Secondary Three students from April 1 to May 15 2012.  Source

What is a food mile?
The distance food travels from where it was grown or raised to where it is purchased

Which is the most effective way to reduce the environmental impact of your shopping?
Buy less meat – source

A sweatshop is:
A factory where workers are exploited by low wages, long hours, and unsafe working conditions

“Fair trade” is:
A trade system that ensures farmers in poor countries can compete in global markets

Critics of marketing products as ‘green’ refer to this practice by this term:
Greenwashing – Source