The world is changing in the most profound ways. And I am worried that people, those who inhabited and invested their time on earth, aren't paying enough attention to sustainability issues. I think it is reckless to ignore our impact on the environment because doing so can jeopardize the future.
With our current growing population, we consume natural resources faster than we can replenish them. And the emissions that are mainly responsible for climate change keep on increasing because of our behaviour.
Desperate, thinking about the future of my neighbourhood, I strolled around a bookstore near my house in Jakarta and found this cute book with a tag line “Zero waste is not only about changing your plastic straw.” This somewhat bold statement caught my attention, and I decided to buy it.
I spent three days browsing through the pages and infatuated by how much information I got from one book. It made me wonder who wrote the book and how she could comprehend tons of simple sustainable tips tailored to the Asian climate. A lot of information I got from the internet about eco-friendly living did not apply to the current city I lived in, and this book provides a good range to cover what I missed. I was so smitten by the book and decided to find the girl who wrote this. She definitely is our next #PerempuanSeries!
After a proper number of researches, I finally managed to meet the woman who wrote my sustainable daily pocketbook at an environmental talk that was held in the city.
Let me introduce you the women who spoke so fondly about taking good care of the environment.
Dwi Sasetyaningtyas or commonly known by her nickname —Tyas, is an environmental activist and advocate. She founded Sustaination as a platform to educate the audience about the importance of eco-conscious living and to provide practical solutions for a smooth transition towards more sustainable living. And apparently, for the last two years, Tyas has already been using Sustaination’s social media account and website as platforms to spread awareness on low impact lifestyle for Indonesian audiences.
Started as a grassroots movement, Sustaination is a space created by Tyas and her team to engage with the society to increase awareness on how to be a conscious buyer, and how every purchase will affect the environment around us.
Just like in the book, Tyas’s well-rounded activism focuses on various creative attempts to educate Indonesian audiences by using @sustaination social media accounts and Sustaination blog. She also made a series of podcasts about eco-conscious life with SustainTalks. Tyas uses a customized approach and information besides consistently using the native Bahasa language as she felt that there was no proper information on the sustainable lifestyle that suited Indonesian audiences at that time.
She believes in every small change that we all can make in our everyday lives, to show that our small choices might create a significant impact on the environment. Over the past couple of years, Tyas has been vocal about how small decisions might lead to a better earth. Through the Sustaination Instagram account, blog, podcast, and website, Tyas and her team customize the sustainable information to better suit the Indonesian climate and customary.
Tyas realized this as she tried to apply information about low impact living and sustainable lifestyle that she had when she was living in Holland. After she moved back, she found out that a lot of knowledge she used to practice did not apply in a warm climate like Jakarta. Also, there's not a lot of eco-friendly alternative products for daily use in the city, making it hard to continue practising environment-friendly living at the beginning. But living with dozens of eco-impact aspects frightened her. As a new mom, Tyas kept thinking about the future of her daughter. The thought of a possibility for her daughter to live in a chaotic world is what provoked her to make various environmental advocacy campaigns about in Indonesia.
The Importance of Swapping to Eco-friendly Products
Tyas has already been leading an eco-conscious life by example, and a lot of benefits come from changing the consumptive lifestyle. By being environmentally conscious, not only are we helping the environment, but, presumably, we will save a lot of money in the process. Tyas has been vocally encouraging Indonesian audiences to reduce single-use product consumption and apply the circular economy that is still considered a foreign and unusual concept in the country.
There's the unnecessary single-use plastic bag provided for our grocery products that can easily be substituted with a reusable bag—literally any kind of bag can be a grocery bag—and we compulsively buy mineral water with single-use plastic containers even though we can easily carry out a reusable water bottle which is cheaper than buying as and when we need it.
Sustainable as an Investment
The mainstream audiences did not realize this, assuming switching from single-use to reusable products will only be complicated and troublesome because we were pretty much accustomed to single-used product consumption.
But when I come to my senses, investing in the low-impact lifestyle is actually less complicated than I think, and better performing than I assume. And it will save up a lot of money in the long run. If I think about it, sustainable living is actually a really excellent investment model.
In a low-impact living, people were asked to keep resources in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from before recovering and regenerating products and materials at the end of each service life. What's interesting is that we, as a consumer, have more power than we know. And by changing our habit very slightly, it will have a massive effect on the manufacturer, and finally to the environment.
By carrying a reusable water bottle or sippy cup, I can monitor my urge to splurge for bubble tea. I ditched disposable plastic and started taking my shopping bag when I go grocery shopping. Now, I want to challenge you to explore a little further into your plastic addiction. I understand completely, unsustainable habits like using plastic are so embedded in our lives that it is impossible to get rid of them overnight. Yet, if we tackle a bit at a time, and follow the principles of conscious waste, then we'll be able to help the planet in a huge way.
“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”
- Arthur Ashe, a revolutionary sportsman, contender and civil-right activist.
Climate change will displace millions of people. If we're not ready to lose our home from climate disaster, act now by changing our habit. A story about Dwi Sasetyaningtyas and Sustaination Indonesia. Interviewed and written by Apsy Soerjodibroto for #PerempuanSeries.