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TAL Education Group (NYSE:TAL)

KIDsforSDGs has witnessed tremendous momentum and growth during the pandemic, as students become increasingly aware that they have increasingly more important roles to play in advancing Agenda 2030.”
— Nathan Bain (KIDsforSDGs)
HONG KONG, HONG KONG, CHINA, October 23, 2021 / -- Imagine youth being given a place at the UN General Assembly, representing the voice of their generation, to lead “the Systems Work of Social Change”!

With gratitude to our mentors engaged with UpLink Innovation Network and Schwab Foundation of Social Entrepreneurs at the World Econonic Forum, Catalyst 2030, World Humanitarian Forum, StartmeupHK, Cyberport Hong Kong and more, here are the 12 ways which teenagers believe can help celebrate UN Day by inspiring a more sustainable lifestyle for all.

1) Wear Sustainable Clothing
The fashion industry is one of the main polluting industries in the world. "Annually, over 92 million tonnes of textile waste is produced globally, a main factor of this being the fast fashion industry. It is time to start holding companies accountable for their exploitation of garment workers and contribution towards carbon emissions,” comments Tanya Khanduri, South Island School Student Council.

2) Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
By committing to using green/eco-friendly cleaning products, you can help to prevent these chemicals from having a negative impact on the Earth. Kenneth Kwok at Global Citizen Capital emphasizes, “many of our community members appreciate that change often starts at home, and collective consumer behaviour is key to unlocking systemic change in addressing broad-based environmental issues.”

3) Go #PlasticFree
Everyone can start cutting down on plastic waste in a few simple steps. “Plastic is one of the most destructive and damaging materials that humankind has created. Little actions conducted in our daily lives can always make a difference, whether it is bringing a reusable water bottle or refusing to use plastic straws. Make a mark, make an impact, and help save our planet!” adds Anna Wei, Founder, MANTA at Victoria Shanghai Academy.

4) Drive Less
Walk or ride a bike to your destination instead of driving if it’s close enough – it’s better for the environment and your health. According to Alanna Sethi, Founder, HOPE (Helping Our Planet Earth), “there are so many different options to boost your mental health. One idea - which bonus, also benefits the environment and reduces your carbon footprint - is walking or riding a bike rather than driving a car or public transport. By doing more outdoor physical exercise, you are boosting the release of endorphins in your body and producing more Vitamin D which helps to regulate mood, reduce anxiety and depression.”

5) Save Water
You can save water in and around your home by making a number of small changes. “Water is finite but essential for livelihood, it drives our daily activities and the ecosystem. Therefore we must sincerely cherish and conserve it, especially since 2.2 billion people worldwide still lack access to safe drinking water. Small changes are still changes that can create significant contributions, propelling us a step closer to securing a steady water supply for the future,” comments Tsz Hei Lau Megan, Co-President, CDNIS UNICEF.

6) Use Renewable Energy
If possible, consider powering your home using renewable energy to reduce the amount of carbon emissions you produce. “By harmonising social, economic, and environmental elements, we can work to promote sustainability and tackle the issues of energy poverty,” adds Annika Chu, Founder & Leader, Hong Kong International School ESG Club.

7) Support Local Businesses
Smaller, independent and local businesses are often more sustainable than the global corporations. “Sometimes, going small can make a big impact. Large industries and global corporations are the drivers for a host of environmental issues, yet we, as individuals, are the drivers of these companies. Therefore, it is our responsibility to discourage these practices, diverting our money and attention to environmentally-conscious companies instead. After all, change comes down to the individual,” says Natalie Chan, Youth Advisory Council Member, Learning Planet.

8) Use Reusable Alternatives
Single-use products, particularly plastic ones, tend to end up in landfill and the ocean, causing harm to wildlife and the environment. Megan Hsu, Co-leader, CIS Drop in the Ocean (DITO) further comments, “a key emphasis of conducting a school-wide sustainability audit on ‘Procurement and Waste’ was aimed towards reducing the local community’s greatest waste streams. Action can ripple out and bring systemic change like a drop in the ocean, but choice is what drives action.”

9) Eat Less Meat
The production of meat is one of the biggest contributors to climate change and the pollution of landscapes and waterways. “It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water just to produce just 1 pound of meat. That's enough to fill more than 35 BATHTUBS. So one of the best and easiest ways to save water is to drop the steak for dinner,” adds Max Liu, Coding Instructor and Student at ISF Academy.

10) Buy Fair Trade Products
When a product has been Fairtrade certified it means it has been produced by a company committed to sustainable production. “People behind the scenes should be appreciated. We are not sparing empathy for the farmers because they have all the right to get what they deserve. Look out for the waving man and contribute to making the world a better place!” says Chan Lok Huen Daphne, Financial Director of E-Concept.

11) Offset Carbon Emissions
A lot of the damage we've done, comes back to our out of control carbon emissions, which is fuelling our atmosphere to change. Jason Qiu, Founder and President of Carbon Neutral Hong Kong, remarks, “At a time of indisputable societal and environmental change, actively pursing SDG-aligned acadmic programs such as those offered by NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business is crucial for young changemkers – both you and I – to gain a broad understanding of how embedding sustainability into core business strategy benefits financial performance and management practices.”

12) Learn More about Sustainability
When we're talking about being more sustainable, that can cover so many issues. “Environmental sustainability cannot only be a personal consideration; it has to be embedded into education to create a ripple-effect in improving society,” adds Jenna Chan, Leader, ESF Interschool Sustainability Team.

Moving to a more sustainable lifestyle is a long term journey - we are in this together!

Nathan Bain
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UNITAR Asia Pacific Day 2021 by KIDsforSDGs