“Start with One Thing”

The 1 Thing Sustainability Initiative goal is to promote positive environmental practices and living. If everyone did 1 Thing improving the environment every day, our world would be a better place to live in for future generations.

Living in a fast-paced and competitive world, sometimes we can be selfish and mistreat the people around us and even the environment. As students, we are crammed with endless amounts of stress and anxiousness filling our days. And when the bell rings at 3pm on Friday, we all feel this relief which then disappears on Sunday night, when we realize we have a quiz to study for.

“All it takes is initiative and action from yourself, as a small amount of inconvenience in your busy life goes a long way in saving the environment.”

Sometimes, a swift life can make us carry out thoughtless actions without thinking of the consequences. When was the last time you had a plastic cup in your hand and instead of walking down the hall to throw the cup in the recycling bin, out of convenience you threw it in the regular bin? Our everyday actions have an impact on the environment. Taking the effort to start one practice of being green each day can create a big long-term impact. All it takes is initiative and action from yourself, as a small amount of inconvenience in your busy life goes a long way in saving the environment.

As SAS students, how can we help the environment, starting in our own school campus? A solution: The One Thing Initiative

This self-explanatory initiative is easy for any student studying at school and for a teenager to the outside world by choosing an environmentally friendly practice to implement in their daily life. This practice can be as easy as avoiding/ban yourself from using plastic straws or as hard as changing your diet to be vegetarian or vegan. The slogan of this initiative is “If everyone would do 1 Thing to improve the environment every day, our world would be a better place to live in.” Obviously, we wouldn’t want to see the world we live in disintegrate into pieces due to our careless actions.

“If everyone would do 1 Thing to improve the environment every day, our world would be a better place to live in.”

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“Start With One Thing” initiative being projected to spread a simple message, Source: Racing Extinction Documentary

Here are some examples of green practices you can apply to your daily lifestyle:

1. Coffee Cups

Having access to drink cold coffee all day in this hot and humid weather is a luxury that could jeopardize our environment. So, why not try these alternative materials to help our environment by:

  1. Replacing your plastic with a Hydro Flask to keep your coffee cold or hot throughout the day.
  2. Using those aesthetically pleasing reusable Starbucks cups, which comes in two cup styles: cold beverages (seen in the picture above) and hot beverages.
  3. Stainless steel straws can be reused multiple times and it comes with its own nylon-bristle cleaning brushes to reduce the rust that accumulates over time in the straws.
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Simple Initiative #1: Replacing your plastic coffee cups and plastic straws with sustainable hydro flasks or reusable cups and metal straws.

2. School Food

Lunch can be a busy and stressful time for students. When the bell rings at 11:30am, the cafeteria increasingly gets filled with students devouring their lunches, without thinking to help the environment. So, the next time you are worrying about your lunch, you could also think about helping the environment by:

  1. Using biodegradable cups and utensils. These are exceptional in terms of helping the environment, instead of using plastic materials.
  2. Using reusable plates and metal utensils. You know those, bright orange oval plates and metal forks commonly more used by teachers in comparison with students.
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Simple Initiative #2: Even though biodegradable materials are environmentally friendly since they are recyclable, try using plates and metal utensils more frequently to place less strain on recycling every material we use.

*TIP*: After you have finished using those environmentally friendly plates and utensils you can store them into these large-sized metal bins, specifically for your used plates.

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A metal container placed in the top and bottom floors of the cafeteria to place your dirty plates and metal utensils, after you have used them to eat your lunch.

3. Drinking Water:

As busy students, we need to stay hydrated the whole day. Instead of using plastic water bottles, try these alternative materials:

  1. Bring your own water bottle to school. But make sure your bottles are BPA free, as bisphenol is an industrial chemical used to make certain plastics bottles.
  2. Also, you can buy the SAS Camelbak water bottles at the Booster Booth. You can represent on improving the environment and our eagle country, at the same time.
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Simple Initiative #3: Using plastic bottles can be easy but using sustainable BPA free water bottles would positively impact our environment.

4. Recycling:

Sometimes when we eat, we forget that the plastic and the materials we use can be recycled. While we love eating a subway sandwich or the delicious quesadillas from Baja Fresh, we should keep in mind that the wrapping used for the sandwiches and the paper plate used for the quesadillas can be recycled. By using recycling bins (shown below) you can have a huge impact on the environment.

We should throw our paper, plastic bottles and metal cans into individualized bins to prevent more harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases being released from landfills. By throwing these materials into regular bins, it is another process to separate paper, plastic and metal cans from food waste. Through placing them in recycling bins, it reduces one more complicated step to improve the environment and reduces the number of landfills that exist in our world.

Next time you finish your subway sandwich or those delicious quesadillas, remember to place the wrapping and plates into designated recycling bins which sit right next to the regular bins. After all, why wouldn’t you take such a simple step to improve the environment?

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Simple Initiative #4: In the case, where you use plastic wrappings and plastic utensils from Subway and Baja Fresh, you can recycle these materials in recycling bins placed all over the school.

The “Start 1 Thing” international initiative already had a major impact on the environment and could have an even greater impact if we put effort on recycling and substituting sustainable materials. This initiative should be implemented onto students lives to prompt students to change one thing in their lives to positively impact their school’s environment. These initiatives are as simple as avoid eating meat one day in the week (the meat industry being a big producer of methane gas) or frequently use public transportation to decrease reliance on fossil fuels. In the end, implementing 1 step in your life to improve the environment can create a big impact on our future. 

Author: Mitali Singh

Mitali Singh is currently a senior at Singapore American School and this is her second year reporting for The Eye. Living all 17 years of her life in Singapore, she tries not to spend her time debating whether to binge-watch TV shows or watching past vine compilations (rip vine). Rather she would spend her time towards her passion to write and tell stories of others, which she is excited to continue this year by producing more sophisticated content. So, if you have any interesting stories from your life or even vines you would like to share, she can be contacted at singh772234@sas.edu.sg.

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