“Just trying to be a responsible human being” – Interview with Joyce Wong

Joyce Wong is a prominent lifestyle blogger at Kinkybluefairy.net. She is an entrepreneur, social media strategist, writer, traveller, and multiple other roles rolled into one. Environmental issues that she is particularly concerned about include recycling and sustainable seafood. In this interview she talks about these issues, and gives some tips on responsible disposal of household waste.

Why do you care about the environment?

My best guess is because my dad used to be a professional diver at the Fisheries Dpt. of Penang before becoming an environmental consultant. Our house was filled with all sorts of books when I was young, including many on the ocean and deep sea creatures. It’s definitely upbringing..! I remember how my parents would go tsk and shake their heads disapprovingly whenever we witnessed people dispensing trash from their moving vehicle. So it was always implanted in us that littering is VERY BAD. Then of course, as I grew older and watched all these documentaries, I became more educated and aware of the environment and its plights.

Traveling also got me caring deeper about the environment. Traveling got me to see so many beautiful amazing aspects of the earth… and I’m sure I haven’t even covered a TENTH of it! I’m sure most devout travelers feel strongly about the Earth and taking care of it. And I generally love nature… I love the forest and the seas. I love hiking and swimming and diving. I’ve been known to sit on the ground and play with leaves for a length of time that my friends have deemed too much, haha. And then when I started blogging, I took pictures of leaves and posted them up.

I collect stones… lots of them, from all over the world. They sit in different rooms and bathrooms in my house. I’m also totally fine with insects, unlike most people in general. I’d take pictures of any insects I come across, and sometimes even save the occasional ant from the perils of the bathroom floor.

What are your views on the connection between humans and the natural world that we live in?

The world is a part of us; it’s where we came from and where our bodies return to. We’re all part of the ecosystem, and each and every one of our actions that shake up this system will end up upsetting it. As it is, we’ve already done so much damage… the best we can do now is to reduce this damage from all standpoints as much as we can.

What are your biggest environmental concerns at the moment?

I have so many… deforestation, global warming, mineral water bottles and the trash in seas, oil spillage, animals at risk, recycling…

What’s your biggest environmental pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve might just have to be littering. It’s such a SIMPLE thing – to throw trash where it rightfully belongs, yet some people think that it’s just the same to throw it wherever they stand.

What do you do to make a difference?

I recycle every bit of plastic, aluminum, glass and paper that goes through my home. I buy cheap bins and tag them all (so the help/cleaner doesn’t confuse them) and every two weeks, either my partner or I will lug them to the recycling centre at Ikano/IPC. We don’t even bother collecting money from the centre because it’s not a big deal, and it’s our every responsibility to recycle anyway! Like I mentioned earlier, we’re already doing damage to the earth, the LEAST we can do is reduce whatever damage we can.

I blog about environmental campaigns when I can, and recently pledged on SharkSavers.org not to eat shark fin for the rest of my life. I haven’t been eating it for the past 8 years, and am just trying to play my role in raising awareness for it. Shark fins having healing or health benefits is merely a myth and can’t be scientifically proven, worse yet, sharks have higher mercury content than other fish because they live longer (read: Mercury is toxic to the human body!). 74 million sharks are killed every year just for their fins, and it’s chaotically upsetting the ocean’s ecosystem and causing other species to be drastically overpopulated or underpopulated!

FINished with Shark Fins

FINished with Shark Fins.

A lot of us don’t realise that our careless choices when it comes to our seafood has resulted in overfishing as our demand is unsustainable. Facts read that if we don’t raise awareness amongst ourselves, there will be no seafood to eat in 40 years’ time, imagine that!

See what seafoods you should be reconsidering on your dinner table at SaveOurSeafood.my and SharkSavers.org.

What does being an environmentalist mean to you?

I don’t see myself as one… I somehow envision an environmentalist as someone who actively dedicates their whole life to preserving the environment! I’m not like that. What I am doing is just trying to be a responsible human being.

If you could mobilise enough of people, what would be an environmental action that you would like to carry out?

Recycling!

Before you throw anything into your garbage bin, think of every component that it’s made up of — Is it paper, metal/tin/aluminum, or plastic? If so, set up separate bins in your home and instill a HABIT in your household that there is where those materials go. You’d be surprised at how much LESS the amount of rubbish you end up throwing out!

Signs in the house so people who come over for parties don't screw up my system!

Signs in the house so people who come over for parties don’t screw up my system!

If you have a garden, keep all your remnants of food that can biodegrade, and put it into a compost heap. If you have something that you just don’t have any use for anymore; like old clothes, toys, notebooks and other random objects you don’t want cluttering up your home, keep them in a paper bag in the storeroom. When your help/cleaner comes over, let her know you intend to throw it and let her go through whatever she wants. Chances are she’ll take the whole bag!

Malaysia is a country where there isn’t enough emphasis or finance focused on recycling. If the government would be caring enough to spend a few million RM on the latest in recycling technology instead of unnecessary flyovers and pandas for attention’s sake, the reduction of waste in our country would be astronomical.

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