Not too late to pause and rewind: 20-year-old eco-warrior on how we can preserve and love 'beautiful' planet Earth

PHOTO: Screengrab/Sound of Sustainability/Leo Ching Ling

While our "beautiful" planet Earth is feeling the effects of climate change, it's not too late to pause, rewind and preserve everything that we love, 20-year-old eco-warrior Leo Ching Ling shares.

Speaking to AsiaOne a day after winning first place in the Open Category in the inaugural 2021 Sus Ads Video Challenge, the recent Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduate said that this is the message she wants viewers to take away from watching her video, Sound of Sustainability.

Ching Ling says: "It [planet Earth] is still really beautiful now, but I appreciate that it was even more beautiful [in the past].

"I think Singapore is making commendable efforts by using all possible resources available to raise awareness on making our country greener. But I'd love to have more rooftop gardens!"

In Ching Ling's video, she highlights the sights and sounds of adopting a sustainable lifestyle. These include simple acts such as storing rainwater to water plants, taking public transport instead of driving and discarding soft drink cans into recycling bins.

PHOTO: Screengrab/Sound of Sustainability/Leo Ching Ling

"These are what people experience in every moment of their lives, but are easily neglected. [I hope that] with a little reminder, we'll be more aware of them.

"I thought some of these actions [on how to be sustainable] raised in my video are important because they are small things that can add up. It's also something that everyone can do with just a little awareness and self-discipline."

Reinforcing the message of climate change

PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/Consumption and Climate Change

Speaking of her concerns about climate change, 18-year-old Livia Fin wants to use her video to reinforce the message that is already out there: "Overconsumption in our daily lives lead to increased carbon dioxide emissions, and results in environmental degradation."

In Livia's Consumption and Climate Change, which won first place in the Student category of the Challenge, she used her skills in 3D modelling and animation to present how our overconsumption of material goods is hurting the planet.

The student at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) says: "I'm more concerned about health problems [as a result of climate change]. Like the fish in the river eating tonnes of plastic, and us consuming them thereafter."

"It's getting hotter day by day too and the weather is being really inconsistent. I mean, I'm not planning to have kids yet, but I'm worried about what it'll be like in the future since I'll probably still be around to see the effects of climate change."

'Doing something is better than nothing at all' 

Despite winning a competition promoting sustainability, Livia certainly does not see herself as a "model citizen" eco-warrior, but hopes her video serves as a reminder that "doing something is better than nothing at all".

To her, leading a sustainable lifestyle starts with resisting the temptation of filling her online shopping cart with clothes.

Livia says: "I'm motivated to care about the environment, but I feel like a hypocrite telling people to do this or that when I'm not completely leading a sustainable lifestyle. But I guess I'm trying [to lead a sustainable lifestyle every day]."

While Livia is taking baby steps in adopting a sustainable lifestyle, she feels that joining the Sus Ads Video Challenge is her way of contributing to the ongoing conversation of caring for the environment.

She says: "It's great that we are provided these platforms. We are all aware that this (overconsumption) is an issue, but sometimes we don't realise its magnitude.

"My video serves as a reminder to myself, and I hope along the way, it could also change more minds (on being sustainable in their daily lives)."

#SusAds: What can you do for sustainability? 

Ching Ling and Livia are just two of many youths who have participated in the inaugural Sus Ads Video Challenge. The competition, organised by the Singapore Government's feedback and engagement unit REACH, saw over 80 participants, including youths from 16 secondary schools, junior colleges and institutes of higher learning.

The Challenge, which was organised in support of the Singapore Green Plan 2030, provided youths with the opportunity to creatively express their views on sustainability issues and how they can play their part for the environment.

Check out the videos by the other six SUS(tainable) winners here and hear what they have to say.

This article is brought to you in partnership with REACH.

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chingshijie@asiaone.com