At the start of this month, we hosted our Sustainability Night, in which we questioned our own behavior towards our planet in an interactive quiz, learned about helpful tools, green cities, nature-based solutions, sustainability’s importance, its implications, and what YOU can do! This week we want to shed some more light on this topic and introduce you to one Southeast Asian perspective on sustainability, namely Thailand. Soon we will publish another Blogpost on Sustainability in Vietnam.
1) Ban of plastic bags- why ban plastic bags?
At the beginning of 2020, the Thai government banned single-use plastic bags. It was done because of the following factors. More than 80% of the ocean plastic waste comes from Asia. Thailand was ranked in the top #6 in the world’s countries for ocean garbage with 1.03 million tonnes of plastic litter (2017).
Furthermore, the issue of land and sea animals dying from plastic consumption kept increasing. The situation got even so bad that Koh Larn, a touristic island in Thailand, had more than 50,000 tons of waste. On top of that, the smell was so strong that even if you were 200m away, you could still not escape it. The number of plastic bags dropped significantly; thus, Thailand lowered its rank from #6 to #10 among the world’s marine polluters.
Unfortunately, we do not have the power to rewrite the law to ban plastic usage in our country. But we can all try to reduce our waste impact on our planet. Feel free to send us an email to email@example.com and request our free Sustainability Inspiration & Resource List. On there, you will find various ideas and products that will reduce your plastic use and zero waste tips and recipes.
2) Get active!
Also, we can do our best to convince the government with our actions to do so – just like the 12-year old Thai environment activist Lilly did.
Ralyn Satidtanasarn, known as Lilly, started a campaign at the age of only eight against single-use plastic. Her aim is to convince Thailand to ban all single-use plastic products (not only single-usage plastic bags). She even skips classes so she can clean the canals with her paddleboard. She mentioned once: “I didn’t start with protesting because I was afraid. I’m more comfortable talking to people. Touching people’s hearts is better than yelling at them with signs. I want to communicate, so they realize.” She is known as the Thai Greta Thunberg. Every person can make a change, after all, no matter the age difference. Click here and here to watch two short videos about this impressive young woman.
3) Wonderfruit Festival
For all the festival lovers out there, yes, there is a way to be sustainable even at a festival. Actually, there is a music festival that also influences people to act more sustainable. Its name is Wonderfruit Festival and takes place for four days in Thailand. Here are a few facts about this unique festival. First, it uses a cryptocurrency called “tree coin,” which is used for fundraising to protect the mangrove deforestation. For 1 USD that is invested in the tree coin, a mangrove tree will be planted in the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park. Simply said, 1 tree coin is equivalent to planting 1 mangrove tree. Their goal is to plant 10 000 mangrove trees. Second, there is this no-plastic rule. The festival uses only biodegradable materials (for instead of plastic-made cups and utensils, they are made from bagasse*). It sells stainless steel cups. Instead of plates, they use nut palm leaves. Quite creative.
*Note: bagasse is a fiber remaining substance which is taken out from the juice of sugar-containing fruits (like sugarcane)
4) Challenge people to plant trees
Another thing we can learn from Thailand is the Mue Yen Muang Yen. This is a green community for planting trees in Chiang Mai, where 30 celebrities were invited to join them to do this sustainable activity. Later, they would share the photos on social media and tag three of their friends and challenge them to plant a tree. It was so successful that over 5000 trees were being planted in Thailand. This is an effortless way to act sustainably. So why not challenge three of your Instagram friends to plant a tree. 😉 Look at the various trees you can buy to be planted in the big orphanage garden in Vietnam. For further information click here.
5) Dokmai Garden
Are you interested in gardening and farming? Then Dokmai Garden is the right thing for you!
It is an ethnobotanical garden school created by Thai farmers in 2009. During your 14-day-stay, you can learn to grow and cook with foods from the organic garden. Moreover, you will learn about tree pruning and tree planting and
This experience can be useful if you:
· wish to become more sustainable by growing your own (tropical) vegetables and plants
· want to connect more with nature by attracting the wild birds
· would like to learn more about
· intend to influence and teach others the benefits of having a (tropical) garden
For more information click here.
Even if you don’t plan to travel to Thailand soon, this information may motivate you to look up for other gardening schools in your country.
6) Use banana leaf instead of plastic
Our final example of “Thai lessons for living sustainable” is the banana leaf wrap. Almost all Thai supermarkets use banana leaves to wrap their fruits and vegetables. Not only are they light and biodegradable bioproducts, but also clean, they are high in antioxidants s anti-bacterial properties and quite cheap. Asians also wrap some of their foods with banana leaves. Thai also use it as a plate. Their wax-like coating prevents dirt from sticking on them. Not only that, but it gives the food light, earthy flavor. However, if you don’t have access to banana leaves, use reusable packages or bamboo packaging (if you have access to one). If banana leaves are not accessible for you try wax papers.
Note: paper packing is not recommended since it increases forest deforestation.