‘Hacking’ Solutions For Our Environment

Over a hundred people from all walks of life voluntarily chose to spend last weekend creating solutions for the environment, at the Clean and Green Hackathon organised by the National Environment Agency and UP Singapore.

Image courtesy: UP Singapore

To an extravert like myself, there could’ve been nothing better than spending two days with a room full of passionate, talented people coming together to brainstorm solutions.

The ideas presented were epic. The winning idea from team Green Sense was about nudging people at events through friendly sms reminders to dispose of their trash properly. The runners up, QBM, came up with a solution to inform people about what they can and cannot recycle. Our team Trashy People, created a solution that encourages people to think about recycling from a “cradle to grave” perspective.

After 48 hours of little sleep, plenty of hacking, and lots of fun, we’re proud to say our team ‘Trashy People’ won in Third Place!

Image courtesy: UP Singapore

The weekend taught and reminded me of a lot of things. The key insight for me was clear:

Solutions and change aren’t magic bullets; they’re accumulations of the impact of a lot of small steps over a long period of time.

Any sustainable improvement takes work, and most quick fixes tend to be superficial.

For instance, just telling people that “our consumption impacts the environment” may not work to change our consumption patterns. But, if we remind ourselves of the amount of impact we have every time we make a purchase, and incentivise people to offset it by recycling, we stand a much better chance at getting people to start thinking holistically about how all of our actions and choices matter in order to bring about change.

I believe that we get to decide what matters to us and what we value, and one of the biggest things that I value is our planet and that looking after it shouldn’t be an afterthought — it needs to be at our core.

~ Article by Abishek Balasubramanian, Project Co-ordinator

Abishek Balasubramanian

I believe that a lot of small, ground-up solutions can be the catalyst to change. Outside of the world of social business, I enjoy photography and filmmaking. Email me at abishek@goneadventurin.com .

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