Eco-Mythbusting: Here’s the Truth You Need To Hear!

Eco-Mythbusting: Here’s the Truth You Need To Hear!

Eco-Mythbusting: Here’s the Truth You Need To Hear To Prevent Climate Change!

The earth’s getting hotter, the melted ice changes the home that our snowy friends know and love. And here we are, so-called the most intellectual and the most complicated being on earth. Some of you started to worry, asking “what can I do to save my earth?”

Our awareness means a lot, but it should come in the whole package with proper action and well-researched decisions. The clock is ticking and unnecessary movement only waste every precious second we have.

There are lots of actions taken, but some of our awareness was used by bigger companies, we’re toyed by the thought of making eco-friendly decisions while they’re making things worse with industrial wastes and unnecessary gimmicks.

But worry not! Here are three myths about climate change that you can use to sharpen your awareness and target it into a better goal!

Tote Bags and Stainless Straws: is it the answer?

Non-plastic products are so famous among people, especially millennials. Using reusable products to cut our plastic usage makes us feel better and less guilty while buying groceries or your favorite sugary boba.

But is this really the answer to prevent climate change? Although some people were convinced, these products are actually doing harm to our environment in its own way too.

Let’s start with a tote bag. This adorable and stylish reusable bag has come with a lot of style and pictures. This customizable little thing has become a part of the fashion line for a lot of the young community. It strengthens the branding of the tote  bag; not only can you save the planet, you can also match it with your favorite outfit of the day. 

According to study from UK Environment Agency (UKEA) in 2008, conventional plastic bags made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE, the plastic sacks found at grocery stores) had the smallest per-use environmental impact of all those tested while cotton tote bags, in  contrast, exhibited the highest and most severe global-warming potential by far since they require more resources to produce and distribute.

The UKEA study calculated an expenditure of a little less than two kilograms of carbon per HDPE bag. For paper bags, seven uses would be needed to achieve the same per-use ratio. Tote bags made from recycled polypropylene plastic require 26, and cotton tote bags require 327 uses. (The study estimated that a cotton tote bag’s total carbon footprint was 598.6lb of CO2e. This compared to 3.48lb of CO2e for a standard plastic bag). That means that you would need to use the tote bag 172 times for every 1 time you used the plastic bag to match the carbon emission. 

Have you ever forgotten to bring your grocery tote bag to your tote bag-only grocery store and be convinced to buy a new one immediately? Due to that incident, the usage of tote bags has increased; it’s easy to buy, easy to get, and becomes easy to dispose of. Here you can find a solid color and dull tote bag being thrown around the dumpster or street. It makes a tote bag like the new plastic bag.

Not only that, but an online poll conducted in 2014 by the marketing research firm Edelman Berland found that about half of respondents typically choose to use plastic over reusable bags, despite also owning reusable bags and recognizing their benefits. We are used to seeing that using a tote bag is greener than using a plastic bag. In reality, using a tote bag not in an improper way (buying the new one occasionally) is as harmful as using a plastic bag. The key is not just using it, but also REUSING the tote bag you already own.

In the same area, here we have plastic straws and stainless straws. As we face the same dilemma, we all know that stainless straws have become a trend from around two years ago.

Plastic straws are common products that we can find at sea and coastal cleanup. It chokes our little sea friends and puts their ecosystem on the line. Come to think again, is it better to use reusable products to end their misery?

But according to a partnership study between Engr308 Technology and the Environment (taught by Lonny Grafman) and the Humboldt State University (HSU) Sustainability Office during Fall 2018, the energy used to produce a single metal straw is equivalent to the energy used to produce 90 plastic straws. Based on their carbon emissions, producing one metal straw is equivalent to producing 150 plastic straws.

The study also noted that the average disposal rate for metal straws in five years was three percent. One the other hand, the disposal rate for plastic straws was 100 percent in five years. This means that if one million metal straws were produced this year, only 30,000 of those were disposed of after five years, while if one million plastic straws were produced this year, then one million plastic straws would have been disposed of even before the year ended.

Reusable stainless straws can possibly press the numbers of plastic straws usage and save our little sea friends, but that doesn’t make them innocent on climate change issues; the industrial process of stainless straws could bring harm to our environment. The process of producing a metal straw—which includes metal mining—is highly destructive to the environment as it creates pollutants and causes damage at every stage of production. The manufacturing process releases a lot more carbon dioxide (CO2), which is a greenhouse gas and a factor that exacerbates global warming.

The point of using reusable products that we have to know is that it is important not to make them as the new version of the disposable one. Reusing is the key.”

It’s important to take good care of our tote bags and really use them regularly as the substitution of plastic bags. As for straws, here we have a more eco-friendly solution with less industrial waste: bamboo straws. Maybe you can give this product a try.

Greenwashing: facts behind the labels

Have you ever found a label “chemical free” or “organic” on your daily products in  supermarkets or drugstores? These products claim to be more eco-friendly and don’t bring harm to the environment, or your body. But, is that completely true?

Let us introduce you to ‘Greenwashing’. This term was found in 1983 by an environmentalist, Jay Westerveld, on one time he had a trip to some hotel. The hotel made a sign that encouraged the guests to use the toilet in order to “save the environment and save the sea creature”, while expanding their property and harming the environment and reefs around their property.

The implication of greenwashing as a marketing strategy was firstly done (back when the term ‘greenwashing was found) by a American biggest electricity provider, Westinghouse, as they promoted nuclear power as the “odorless, clean, neat, and safe”, and also claimed to be waste-less.

In fact, nuclear power does have less air pollution than coal, but then the debatable claim of ‘safe energy’ was confronted by the truth about the impact of nuclear waste on the environment. The waste that this nuclear plant ‘produced’, became a threat to their surroundings.

Greenwashing as a marketing strategy goes on and on among us, as the company tries to sell us some ‘safe’, ‘organic’ and ‘green’ products, while their industry is actually harming the environment, animals, or people that live around their industry. These products sometimes convince people to use products that don’t fit their physical needs (i.e skin care with unnecessary ingredients for your skin) and sell that ‘eco-friendly’ label to raise your interest in their products.

Sometimes the greenwashing trick was not always used by the industry to clean their names. Sometimes it’s just a simple bait to make us feel ‘safe’ by using their ‘chemical free’ or ‘organic’ products. While in truth, everything in our surrounding has chemicals in it, and organic was not always a  good product. Therefore it’s necessary to search down some words in your favorite goods’ ingredients and dig deep into your research. It is important to know what’ll go inside our body, or what we’ll wear.

Greenwashing was so popular back then, since it makes us feel good to make some small but consistent contribution to our earth. But back then, it was hard to do some fact-check. Thankfully, we live in an informative era when we can do strong fact-check whenever needed, right? Unfortunately, that is not completely right.

A 2015 Nielsen poll showed that 66% global consumers DO feel better for buying ‘eco-friendly’ products. For millennials, it’s 75%! Jason Ballard, the CEO of sustainable house retailer TreeHouse, called this phenomenon a “dark side of a very positive development”, because these numbers came from our rising awareness toward environmental issues that are being used by companies to sell their products.

In conclusion, our earth needs practical acts to prevent climate change. Good things that firstly came with a good intention can possibly turn into some new harm to the environment if we treat them recklessly. And it is important to educate ourselves in this era, so we can make the right and impactful actions without wasting our time.

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Let me introduce you: Climate Change.

Let me introduce you: Climate Change.

“Why is today so blazing hot? It’s supposed to be the rainy seasons!”

“Sorry, I’ll be late for work, there’s a flood in my neighbouring area.”

If you are familiar with at least one of the previous statements, well congratulations, you have experienced the effects of climate change!

What is Climate Change?

Just like the name, climate change is a change in global temperature and weather patterns over many years. The dynamics of global temperature and weather pattern affect the global climate. For your information, climate is the condition of the atmosphere for more than one or two rainy days. Determining a climate in one particular area requires dozens of years weather observations. So, actually climate change will not change drastically in a blink of an eye. Unfortunately us, humans,  catalyze this climate change process as 97% climate scientists agree that our activities caused all these messes. 

Over the past 100 years, global temperatures are slowly rising. As the earth’s surface is warming, many of the warmest years on record have happened in the past 20 years. This is an alarming event to be in, as it eventually will affect many other intertwining aspects – from social, environmental, health, to economic realms and many more.

What causes the Earth to be hotter?

Have you ever heard of the greenhouse gas effect? So, basically the sun radiates heat energy to the earth and greenhouse gas prevents some heat from being released back into outer space to keep the earth warm. However, the problem is the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is more than sufficient. It causes more heat trapped close to the surface of the Earth and makes the Earth temperature hotter. 

The source of that greenhouse gas is mostly from human activities. Greenhouse gas mostly consists of carbon dioxide while the other gas are methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. Greenhouse gas emission produced by energy consumption based on 2016 data, WRI reported that 73%  of greenhouse gas emission came from energy consumption[1]. Most of them came from the industry and transportation sector. The use of fossil fuel releases more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. 

Forest fire strikes double hit at our climate change agenda. It cut down numbers of trees, the one that acts as a carbon capturer, storing the carbon instead of releasing them to the atmosphere. Forest fires also release large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, making the earth get hotter and hotter.

Guess what, who made this happen?

It is the industry which often prioritizes profit and overlooks the environment and social impact of their operations. It is the government with their lack of firmness on imposing environmental protection policies and law. It is you and me who consume and do things carelessly, do not care whether it harms the environment or not. It is us who made these happen.

” It is you and me who consume and do things carelessly, do not care whether it harms the environment or not. It is us who made this happen.”

Will it effect me?

It is affecting me and you, as well as the other people. Even other species such as animals and plants should pay the price.

1. Rising Sea Level

Remember the headline when Indonesia has to relocate its capital city to Kalimantan? Jakarta is one of the fastest sinking cities in the world so we do not have many choices except relocate our capital city to a safer place. This relocation is not only impacting people who lived in Jakarta but also the satellite cities such as Bogor, Tangerang, Depok, Bekasi and of course the people who lived in Kalimantan.

2. Shift in Plants Blooming Time

There is a fierce conflict between Acehnese and elephants which is caused by the shifts in plants blooming times. Not only the wild Sumatran elephants have limited access for a good home, they are also hungry. This is caused by the flowering time shift. Loss of biodiversity may exacerbate changes in the timing of biological events already being driven by climate change. Humans will face major impacts on the composition and diversity of plant and animal communities worldwide, including habitat loss, invasive species, atmospheric pollution and direct harvesting

3. Loss in Biodiversity

Have you seen fireflies (kunang-kunang)? I asked my sister who is 6 years younger than me and she said that she could not recall what  fireflies look like. Fireflies are facing extinction due to habitat loss, pesticides, and artificial light. Most of its habitats are transformed into blocks of houses, getting rid of the swamp, lakes, and wild grass. The legendary Orangutan and Sumatran Tiger are also facing its extinction era as their habitat is transformed mostly into palm oil plantation which ironically we use its product every day.

4. Extreme Weather

Having your house flooded earlier this year? That means you are directly impacted by extreme weather. In Sumba Timur (NTT), Buleleng (Bali), and Sampang (Jawa Timur), until November 30th 2019, not even a drop of water came from the sky[2]. This condition disrupted crop production and threatened access to clean water which led to famine and health problems.

It is affecting me and you, as well as the other people. Even other species such as animals and plants should pay the price.”

How do we respond to climate change?

1. Mitigation

We can mitigate this catastrophe by reducing the flow of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Recycling and driving more fuel-efficient cars are examples of important behavioral change that will help, but they will not be enough. Climate change is a truly global, complex problem with economic, social, political and moral ramifications. The solution will require both a globally-coordinated response (such as international policies and agreements between countries, a push to cleaner forms of energy) and local efforts on the city- and regional-level (for example, public transport upgrades, energy efficiency improvements, sustainable city planning, etc.). It is really up to us what happens next.

2. Adaptation

Being adapted means that we learn to live with, and adapt to, the climate change that has already been set in motion. Technology and social-human engineering play a big part in adapting to climate change. The form of adaptation can be developing a crop that is resilient to extreme weather and designing a city to be resilient to rising sea level. 

Well fed enough about Climate Change? Do you get even more curious? We are cooking something to feed your curiosity and try to make this earth hang a little bit longer. Stay tuned!

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Find It Hard to Be Productive during Pandemic? Here’s How You Hack It!

Find It Hard to Be Productive during Pandemic? Here’s How You Hack It!

         Going through physical distancing affects our rhythm of life. Our morning routine might not be the same as we had before. Some of us start to miss the feeling of our cubicle or how comfortable our office chair is, or how crowded our workplace can be sometimes; the thing we used to hate becomes what we miss the most. But the fact that things will go back to normal again after social distancing sets a new standard: we have to stay as we are, despite all these changes. Sooner or later, we’re expected to go back into the old routine with the same performance and motivation as we had before the pandemic. Although we missed it, some of us are starting to forget what it actually feels like.

         Luckily, Artanto ‘Pepe’ Ishaam, one of our volunteers who is also Tech Talent Manager & Agile Coach at HappyFresh, had covered this issue on one of our Weekend from Home Instagram Live Session in “Productivity Hacks for WFH #3”. Pepe shared how each of us can maintain our creativity and still be able to deliver our best output while remote working. 

Working Individually

1. Build your routine

We have to keep the commitment and discipline we had even though we’re working from home. As mentioned before, although the pandemic seems to affect our rhythm, we have to find it back and keep everything on track, simply by doing what we usually do in the office. If you usually grab a cup of coffee on your way to the office, then you may take a 5-10 minutes walk around your neighborhood and make yourself a cup of coffee when you get back. All for the sake of keeping your routine and getting your mind and body ready for work. By recreating the routine at home, our mind can still be familiar with everything, thus, we can keep ourselves ready anytime we’re expected to go to our ‘normal’.

2. Stay connected

To provide ourselves with a good internet connection is crucial during this pandemic. Our presence to our supervisor and other team members depends on our internet connection. We don’t want to miss an important meeting just because our connection is lagging, right? Aside from the fact that the internet is important for our work-from-home routine, there is lots of information that we can’t miss during this pandemic, including health information, Coronavirus prevention, and recent conditions. With proper internet connection we can also attend a lot of useful webinars, learn new skills and stay in touch with our friends and coworkers. That way, we can use the internet for greater good and boost our productivity.

3. Avoid distraction

On the contrary of having a good internet signal for our benefit, it can also bring a big distraction to our routine. That is why we should stay on track during our work-from-home routine and stay focused on our job list before we reward ourselves with Youtube videos or online games. That way we can keep our work ethics in line and no worries of losing our goals. Artanto also suggested that our workspace at home should not be as similar as we had in our office, but make sure it feels familiar and comfortable. Moreover, we should also inform whoever is staying with us of our working hours and we should not be disturbed during that certain period of time.

“Our workspace at home should not be as similar as we had in our office, but make sure it feels familiar and comfortable.

4. Do task-alternating, not multitasking

Instead of multitasking, Artato suggests that we should focus on one task at a time before changing to other tasks. That way, we can be productive and not be distracted: the good result comes with a good performance. Multitask is not suggestible during work-from-home because we are more prone to be distracted and end up not finishing any task at all!

5. Meeting effectively

During this remote working period, people tend to schedule a lot of conference calls just to discuss even the slightest detail of a project… And boy isn’t that exhausting? So if you’re invited or inviting a meeting, it’s important to have an effective one. It is important to state the objective of the meeting and generate your contribution value to the discussion. You might want to avoid giving unnecessary comments that would prolong the discussion and waste other people’s time.

Talking About Teamwork..

Now we know how to boost our individual productivity, but there are more things to keep in mind when it comes to teamwork. Knowing this fact, Artanto suggested these four points along with our team-working during this pandemic:

1. Group launching

As everyone is working from home, we have to set the team’s playbook a.k.a. goals and rules. This is an important foundation to setting up a smooth team collaboration. Decide which methods, workflow, and communication channels that your team uses. When it comes to facing problems, try to find a quick and effective solution. You might need to rework the playbook until you find what works best for your team.

2. Build trust

We have to trust our people, our teammates.  When you’re working as a team, micromanagement is not always preferred. Let alone in this ‘long-distance-relationship’ with your co-workers. We have to build our trust in each of the team members by letting them work independently and try to maintain a good work environment.

“When you’re working as a team, micromanagement is not always preferred.”

3. Give sense of presence

Be an active listener, or maybe over communicate. Usually, we can see our colleagues whether they are available, busy, or look like they’re having a bad day. Now that we can’t see everyone all the time, we need to give them a sense of presence. Reply their texts with emoticons, just a simple thumbs up will do. At least they know that you’ve read their message and will be on it soon. Event the slightest response can be a delight for your team and they can acknowledge your contribution.

4. Awareness

During work-from-home as a time, to be aware is a must, especially when we’re talking about our progress. Don’t forget to ask yourself: have I been productive enough? In what aspect do I need to improve myself, and how to be more effective? It is—again—important to be aware of ourselves. You may also want to recognize signs of tiredness and whether you should take a break. Going all in for productivity also means that you need to create space and have enough rest when needed.

That’s it. Nine tips to keep us motivated and productive during WFH. The important part is to try these tips and find what fits that we can do in a long run. The suitable method will stick into our routine and bring the best in us, whether there’s pandemic or not. Also, as important as we want to be productive, it is also important not to lose the real and genuine human connection with our teammates.

So, are you ready to be more productive and show the pandemic who’s the boss?

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