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To Combat Climate Change, Adopt These Lifestyle Habits

World Meteorological Day is an annual event celebrated on 23 March to commemorate the entry into force in 1950 of the convention that created the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The WMO is a specialised agency of the United Nations that works to improve the understanding and prediction of weather, climate, and water-related hazards and phenomena, as well as to promote international cooperation and coordination in these areas.

Not only is it a day to celebrate the achievements of meteorological organisations worldwide (including Singapore’s own Met Service), it is also a timely reminder that we all have a responsibility to protect our planet and its resources. By learning more about the science of meteorology and climate, we can better understand the threats facing our planet and take steps to address them.

Have a passion for sustainability and environmentalism? This day can be the perfect opportunity to contribute to a better future for the planet. It’s a chance to understand how the weather impacts agriculture and the environment, how it influences our plans for travel and recreation, and how it affects our daily routines.

Here are some lifestyle changes that we can make in Singapore to reduce our carbon footprint and combat climate change:

Reduce meat consumption

The production of meat is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to a report by the World Resources Institute, food systems have contributed between 25-30% of global GHG emissions in the past decade. A prime culprit: beef production, “specifically from the agricultural production process (including the digestive process, wastes and feed production) and from clearing land for new pastures, which releases carbon previously stored in vegetation and soils”. Switching to a plant-based diet or reducing meat consumption can significantly lower an individual’s carbon footprint.

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Use public transportation

Transportation accounts for a significant portion of Singapore’s greenhouse gas emissions. Taking public transportation, cycling, or walking can reduce an individual’s carbon footprint significantly. Focusing on the electrification of public buses and taxis, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority aims to have a 100% cleaner energy bus fleet by 2040, and replace more than 400 diesel buses with electric ones by 2025.

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Reduce plastic usage

Plastic waste contributes to climate change through its production and disposal. According to Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA), 982,000 tonnes of plastic waste was generated in 2021, with only 6% of it being recycled. Reducing plastic usage, such as by bringing reusable bags and containers when shopping, can significantly reduce an individual’s carbon footprint.

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Use energy-efficient appliances

Switching to energy-efficient appliances such as air conditioners, refrigerators, and light bulbs can reduce energy consumption and lower an individual’s carbon footprint. In 2017, NEA rolled out the Energy Efficiency Fund (E2F), which supports manufacturing companies and encourages them to invest in energy-efficient technologies or equipment.

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Reduce food waste

Food waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions as it decomposes in landfills. According to a report by NEA, Singapore generated 817,000 tonnes of food waste in 2021, and only 19% of it was recycled. Reducing food waste by planning meals, buying only what is needed, and composting can significantly reduce an individual’s carbon footprint.

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Conserve water

Singapore is a water-scarce country, and yet, according to Singapore’s Public Utilities Board, water demand in Singapore is at a staggering 430 million gallons a day. That volume can fill not 100, not 500, but 782 Olympic-sized swimming pools – and 45% of that amount is consumed by homes. Furthermore, the water used in Singapore is treated and distributed, a process which requires energy and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Let's save as much water as we can.

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