Altering the perception of environmentalism and conservation among Hongkongers is no mean feat. That’s why Green Council sets out to turn Hong Kong into a world-class green city, but first, through education. If there’s anybody who can get the city engaged and talking about going green, it’s the non-profit organisation. We interviewed the green helpers behind the group about their plans for Hong Kong’s future.
How was Green Council developed?
Foreign countries like Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Singapore have their own green labelling scheme, and Hong Kong as Asia’s cosmopolitan lacks one, so that’s why Green Council was developed to initiate one. But then we realised that the green labelling scheme was not easily accepted. Back in the 2000s, there was very low awareness on this concept. So over time our motto became “Conservation begins with Education”. We had to educate the commercial sector and schools to spread awareness, so thats why we carry out many events and seminars.
What kind of relationship do you have with the government?
It’s very good. If you’re against the government, it won’t make things easy. They support us in terms of our initiatives. They’ll join our events as our guest of honour and sometimes we help promote their initiatives as well, as their partner. Of course we’ll apply for funding like all other organisations.
What’s a hot environmental topic right now that you’re trying to promote?
Recently, food waste. It’s a major initiative by the government. The Big Waster mascot is a successful campaign by the Environmental Protection Department. Every family knows of this mascot and it really has created positive impact on reducing food waste.
What is a pillar event for the Green Council?
World Environment Day is held every year on the 5th of June. To make it our own, we created the annual Hong Kong Green Day on the same day and celebrate it the whole month of June. In Chinese, June is “luk yuet”, and “luk” is the same pronunciation as green in Chinese. We host a series of activities for the community, and themes are from reduction of food waste, clothing, transportation, and etcetera. We’ve even hosted a low-carbon concert.
Where do you hope Hong Kong will be in the next 5 years?
We hope that the topic will be more focused on solid waste because the charging scheme is coming soon if they do no change their ways of living. For instance, if the scheme starts tomorrow, families won’t be able to change their habits from 10kg of waste to 1kg immediately. They need to get used to this habit to reduce their daily waste generation. This scheme will be initiated 2-3 years from now, and they’ve already run a few pilot schemes. So in the next 5 years, the public needs to get ready for this.
What is the best advice you can give for those that want to start living the “green” lifestyle, in Hong Kong?
Try to live a simple life. Buy less, and consume less. As human beings we consume resources, but try to consume it in a more sustainable way for the future. In addition to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, we’d like to promote Rethink. Try to think more before you purchase and ask yourself if you need it or not. Obtain it from your friends if they have it.