Working in the field of environmental protection in materialistic Hong Kong has never been an easy task. The only local paper beverage box recycling factory, “Meow Factory,” located in Yuen Long, was not granted a lease renewal by the landlord, Science Park Corporation, last year, indicating that there is still much room for improvement in Hong Kong’s environmental measures and policies. If you want to be environmentally friendly in Hong Kong, you cannot expect much support or resources from institutions or the government.
Despite this, there are still people who are willing to put in effort and overcome difficulties by practicing environmental protection in their daily lives, even studying environmental protection in Taiwan. One such person is the author of the Hong Kong social media platform “Sheeppo”.
Starting with simple garbage sorting and incorporating environmental habits into daily life, she tried to live a zero-waste lifestyle and then took it a step further by bringing environmental protection to nature, voluntarily cleaning up beaches and mountains. In addition to sharing her daily environmental protection practices, she presents her beach cleaning experiences in a more interesting and eye-catching way, using her own power to promote environmental awareness to the public and demonstrating the enthusiasm and courage of women in promoting environmental protection.
In fact, environmental habits, knowledge, and technical requirements are not complicated, so why is it so difficult to implement them? What powerful beliefs lie behind her ten-year commitment to environmental protection?
Environmentalist girls are both idealistic and grounded
Because it is necessary to overcome many obstacles, maintaining environmental habits requires sacrificing the “convenience” that people are accustomed to in their daily lives. In Hong Kong’s materialistic society, everyone pursues materialistic lifestyles, and society has a common perception of Hong Kong girls as being smart, practical, and direct, while some people even criticize Hong Kong girls for being too materialistic and obsessed with money.
Giving up is easy, but persistence is difficult. Most people’s perspectives cannot go beyond the essence of a good life, and they overlook the fact that good environmental conditions are not necessarily guaranteed. For me, there is another kind of “practicality” among Hong Kong girls that is valuable and worth learning, which is the courage to face the “reality of environmental pollution.”
Environmental girls are both grounded and ethereal, and their unwavering belief in environmental protection is admirable and inspiring.
Environmental protection propaganda is like parental preaching – we understand the principles, but lack the motivation to act
The core idea of environmental protection is fundamentally about protecting the environment and maintaining it in a good state. It is only through a good environment that society can continue to develop. To be honest, everyone understands these principles, but why is it especially difficult to implement them? As mentioned earlier, one reason for the “ethereal” nature of environmental protection is that establishing environmental habits involves breaking away from the “convenience” of daily life and has little practical benefit, making it almost impossible for urbanites.
Therefore, talking about environmental protection is like parents lecturing their children. We all understand the principles of environmental protection, but we still lack the courage and willingness to implement them. Most people may think it’s too much trouble or not worth the effort. How can we make environmental protection more grounded and easier?
On her social media platform, “Sheeppo” not only shares her environmental habits and beach cleaning records, but also presents the results of her beach cleaning efforts in different ways. For example, she and her beach cleaning friends once collected 102 bags of garbage weighing 512 kg and a total of 3,293 plastic bottles during a beach cleaning activity at Tung Lung Chau in Sai Kung. The numbers alone are shocking.
In addition to using numerical statistics, what is even more impressive is her use of “beach archaeology” “counting days with cigarette butts” “floating garbage on the beach” and “abandoned glass floats from 50 years ago” to categorize the various interesting items found during beach cleaning, making environmental protection more grounded and interesting.
She also uses the term “unique species in Hong Kong’s seabed” to describe the seabed garbage in Hong Kong, using interesting presentations to attract people to learn more about Hong Kong’s pollution and environmental issues, making them more relatable and grounded.
In March of this year, “Sheeppo” also released a new book to share her various thoughts and feelings on environmental protection and nature, documenting her journey of learning about environmental protection. In addition to daily beach cleaning records, she also displays the categorized beach garbage in interesting ways, using “beach archaeology” to showcase the historical significance of marine garbage and reflecting on the impact of plastic garbage on the future.
In March 2023, “Sheeppo” released a new book titled “Life Has Given Us 10 Lessons in Environmental Protection – I Want to Live an Eco-Friendly Life”. “When we step into nature, we realize how small humans are and how we are not above everything else. Humans are just one type of organism on Earth, and we rely on Earth’s resources for survival. However, we often ignore the natural environment for money or convenience, and deprive other living beings of their right to survive, destroying their habitats.” If you’re interested, you can read this new book by the girl who has been practicing environmental protection for ten years and feel the strength and conviction behind her.
Living an eco-friendly life is like a journey of faith and practice
Sheeppo has been cleaning beaches for a decade, and what began as a curious interest has turned into one of her jobs. However, she believes that the problem of marine garbage pollution has not improved. This reality can be disheartening, but to me, Sheeppo’s efforts are like a practice of faith. Despite the many temptations and distractions around her, she remains true to herself.
In her book, she talks about how she used various methods to cool down instead of using air conditioning while studying in Taiwan and living in Hong Kong, such as only turning on the air conditioning for an hour and then using a fan, or using water to cool down when she got hot from mosquito bites. It may sound tough, but she insists that it’s driven by her belief in reducing carbon emissions. If we look at our daily electricity use, the most significant area where we can save is by using a fan instead of air conditioning. We can also reduce carbon emissions by changing our diet to consume more vegetables and less meat (or no meat at all), and by reducing waste and air travel.
What we can learn from her is that even though she has been practicing environmental protection for a decade and has not seen significant results due to the lack of environmental awareness among humans, she has not given up. We must believe that even a girl with limited abilities can make a difference and improve the situation. In the end, it’s not just about letting go but also about taking responsibility for the environment.
Practicing environmentalism is not just about letting go, but also about learning to take responsibility for the environmentMICHELLE, EDITOR
Information & Image source：IG@iamsheeppo