Young ChangeMakers mentors (June 7)

After talking to AL, I was all revved up about social change and getting people to think reusable, not disposable. However, conversations with my dad and debates that were running through my head made me wonder if our society was “ready” for that kind of behavioural change yet.

Just imagine…
Mrs and Mr Lim finally find seats at a food centre. They quickly tissue-pack-umbrella-chope their seats and take a glance at their table number so they know where to direct food vendors. However, they get distracted by the colourful decal displayed on the table: “Let’s bring our own containers for zero waste dabao!” Mrs and Mr Lim exchange a glance…
“Hah? Now container also must bring ah? Biang eh, next time you tell me must fry my own bee hoon some more!” 

…Maybe it’d be a better idea to stick with the eco-friendly disposables in tandem with launching a bring-your-own container campaign? That way, even if many people aren’t actually bringing their own containers to dabao, at least they’ll be experiencing eco-friendly disposables first hand, prompting them to do a double-take and a “double-think” about their actions.

Anyway, today I met with my two mentors from the National Youth Council Young ChangeMakers programme. They were awesome! One of them used to be part of NUSSU SAVE (National University of Singapore Students’ Union, Students Against the Violation of the Earth) and had a lot of valuable experience and contacts for me to draw on, and the other is a very creative, artistic outside-the-box thinker. They played off each other’s energies very well and we had a great brainstorming session.

Really rough notes from our brainstorming:

  • BYO Container campaign
    • A monetary incentive?
    • Free gift (sponsored)
    • Charity (i.e. bring your own container and a company will pledge to donate however much to a certain charity)
    • Company-specific campaigns?
  • Catering/event-specific
    • Pink Dot 2014! (Not applicable for this project right now, but wouldn’t it be awesome?)
    • SCWO [Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations, where I interned last year]
    • How to make this not an isolated effort, but one that reaches a wider audience and has a future?
  • Food outlet-specific

One of my mentors said she’d link me up with someone from NEA’s Keep Singapore Beautiful Movement, someone from NUSSU SAVE, and give me some learning material on how to foster sustainable behaviour and how to design and implement Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) surveys.

I’m getting brain fatigue from all the mental running-around-in-circles – anticipating all the barriers I could face! Brainstorming is great and totally necessary, but it’s kind of like how you have to completely empty out your closet and make a giant mess before reordering it in a way that makes any sense. And I’m still searching for the sense! And also the cents… But for real, sometimes I curse the capitalist economy. It shouldn’t be more expensive to be environmentally responsible, but it is – systemically and counterintuitively so.


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