25 February 2020
The Green Queen site and app is a source for all things eco-friendly. Photo: Green Queen
The Green Queen site and app is a source for all things eco-friendly. Photo: Green Queen

Can tech help with your green resolutions in 2019?

How are those resolutions going? If you are like me, it would be a lie to say: “Particularly well”. We started 2019 with the best of intentions but ended up in the same place before the Lunar New Year, and wonder why this is so. Perhaps it’s not a question of the will to change, but rather the means of changing.

That’s where tech and apps can help. Hong Kong has seen the rise of both vegan diets but also eco-awareness. If you have made any type of resolution around these areas, tech might just make the difference between you living green in 2019, as opposed to accepting the inevitability of your resource-intensive life.

Giving up meat might have been high on the agenda in December, but suddenly you’ve found a combination of reasons why it’s just not possible. Fish can be a substitute that is less resource-intensive, but this is not always the case. The WWF-HK Seafood Guide app can help by introducing sustainable seafood and also restaurants that serve these dishes.

Resolutions die with an “all or nothing” attitude. But there is no need to be absolute, and one can always cut down. Plastic bottles are a good example. We all know they are a major contributor to waste, which is why the Water for Free app is a good way to find locations to refill your water bottle around town, and you can save money in the process.

I don’t live remotely in the vicinity of zero waste, vegan or organic, but it’s still worthwhile to think about ways to cut waste in your life. I have been particularly impressed by NO!W No Waste site, which offers a map of zero waste shops where you can buy in bulk and the restaurants and coffee shops that are offering a discount for those with reusable lunch boxes or mugs.

The Green Queen site and app is another useful resource for all things eco-friendly, and can be a starting point for anyone who is on a vegan, zero waste, or general reduction in consumption journey. (Disclosure: I am friends with the Green Queen herself.)

When compared to the kookiness of Hong Kong government resources listing places to recycle everything from tires to chemicals, household goods, appliances and clothes (extensive but lacking in design and UI/UX qualities), thank God some citizens are on the case.

In Hong Kong, a crucial problem is not the lack of resources, but indeed knowing where they are. That is where sites like Green Queen help because most of us mere mortals wouldn’t know about organic and zero waste grocery and lifestyle shops such as Slowood, or Edgar, the food shop for the “globe-trotting, conscientious, and environmentally conscious foodie”.

It’s scary to confront the reality of the ecological damage you are causing. You might even brand “woke” people who are into vegan, organic, zero waste or green causes as freaks, hippies or snowflakes, because it is easier than changing your lifestyle.

You don’t need to become Robinson Crusoe overnight, but maybe tech can get you started along the way.

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EJI contributor