Wednesday, Sep 20th

Go Green Environmental Protection

 

In August 1990, after the audience applauded heartily at the end of a lecture delivered by Dharma Master Cheng Yen in Taichung City, Central Taiwan, the Master highlighted the need to keep the city clean and unpolluted, urging everyone to use the hands they were applauding with to do recycling to help protect the Earth.

The appeal attracted many supporters, and it gradually led to the development of a massive grassroots force across Taiwan. Tzu Chi now operates more than 5,000 recycling points around Taiwan, staffed by tens of thousands of recycling volunteers. Tzu Chi offices worldwide also responded by setting up community-based recycling programmes, which aim to reduce trash and to extend the life of resources.

Tzu Chi Singapore has set up over 30 recycling points islandwide and holds a monthly recycling day to encourage and guide residents in various neighbourhoods to do recycling. The recycling activity also serves to build environmental consciousness in the community. The earnings from the sale of recyclables are then channelled to the General Fund to finance the operation and all other expenses to carry out the Missions of the society.

In light of the increasing frequency of climate-related disasters, Master Cheng Yen emphasizes that a major shift in thinking and change in the modern consumerist lifestyle is required to effectively address the problem. While doing recycling work, volunteers witness the consequences of a consumerist lifestyle. The experience makes them reflect, and they start living a less wasteful lifestyle, curbing unnecessary consumption, and thereby reducing the amount of trash generated.

 

Promoting Environmental Awareness in Corporations

Twice a year, a group of local businessmen and corporate managers from various countries will travel to Taiwan to learn more about the origins and missions of the Tzu Chi Foundation. One of the highlights of the trip is to visit Tzu Chi recycling stations. 

After their return, some would begin launching recycling programmes in their organizations. Among these organizations are Zero Spot Laundry Service Pte Ltd, Super Bean International Pte Ltd (Mr Bean), United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), Gleneagles Hospital, etc. By implementing the 5Rs – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle in the work environment, these businessmen and corporate managers strive to play a role in protecting the environment and Mother Earth. Their efforts also encourage and inspire others to follow suit.

 

Vegetarianism – The Green Movement

 

In the last two decades, outbreaks of zoonotic diseases – diseases transmitted between humans and animals – such as the foot-and-mouth disease, mad cow disease, SARS, avian flu, etc. had caused widespread panic around the world.

Recognizing the urgent need to counter epidemics with animal origin, Tzu Chi volunteers worldwide have been actively promoting the concept of protecting life, encouraging people in the public to adopt a meat-free, vegetarian diet.

By adopting a vegetarian diet, we can help reduce the number of livestock raised for human consumption. The livestock industry is also the major cause of a number of environmental problems, such as excessive deforestation, ecosystem disruption, as well as land, water and air pollution. Moreover, the grains that are used to feed livestock could feed millions of people suffering from hunger.  

The Tzu Chi Foundation advocates the practice of “Mindful Eating” based on the “Four Concepts of Good Health” as follows:

Heart – Instead of living a lifestyle of consumption, which causes much damage to the environment, we should live a simpler life by lessening our wants and desires. In this way, we will develop a content heart and be free of worries.  

Vegetarianism – Healthy vegetarian food is good for our health and helps to prevent diseases.

Eating – Vegetarianism is environmental friendly and helps keep calamities at bay.

Etiquette – Practise courteous and gracious table manners


Besides promoting the benefits of vegetarianism in its activities, Tzu Chi Singapore also collaborates with local grassroots organizations to organize eco-awareness events in neighbourhoods where volunteers encourage residents to go vegetarian to protect life and the planet. 

 



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