Who would have thunk a move to Singapore would become an exercise in sustainable living? We have always been aware of our consumption. We are more aware here because of the higher costs of said consumption.
I shop less (and when I do, I shop local and independent). The mark up is ridiculous. Electricity costs a bomb here. We are particular—nay, obsessive—about making sure our lights, air conditioners, and appliances or switched off when not in use. There is little farmland in Singapore and much (all?) of the country’s produce is imported; I frequently have sticker shock at the grocery store. We try to “eat regionally,” or consume fruits and vegetables shipped in from Singapore’s Southeast Asian neighbors. Recycling isn’t convenient. Our apartment building does not have any recycling infrastructure (*cough* bins *cough*) and we often carry our sorted trash to nearby receptacles.
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The other afternoon, I stumbled upon The 2012 DIY Lifestyle Challenge by Evon Tay. Evon recently graduated with a degree the School of Art, Design and Media (Nanyang Technological University) and DIY Lifestyle Challenge grew out of her final year project. She asks visitors to her site to “challenge” themselves to make small changes in their daily lives in order “to become more self-reliant, resourceful, and mindful about their everyday habits,” she tells me. For example, The Food Challenge encourages readers to plant their own gardens. The Green Commute Challenge asks visitors to travel to work or school via bicycle.*
Her zine, Adventures in DIY: Vol. 1, contains useful how-to’s related to the “do-it-yourself lifestyle,” she says. To get your hands on a free copy, simply complete any of her four challenges.
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* Read “Cycling in Singapore: An Uphill Battle?” For some reason, I had assumed Singapore would be a bike-friendly city. It is decidedly not. At least, not yet.