The blossoms are out in full bloom, our below zero temperatures have given way to mid-20C heat waves in a matter of a few short weeks, and the city gardeners are watering the dead dry ground to bring forth the new growth that signifies spring is here.
There is no better time in Beijing than now to get outside into the many parks or to explore beyond the Fifth Ring Road. It’s the season of picnics and camping, and if you are familiar with these activities, you will also no doubt be familiar with the mountains of trash that these pastimes leave behind when happy campers move on from their picnic sites. Enjoy nature, and show your love for it, by adopting Zero Waste principles when you head out.
Buy your foods in bulk
Don’t be afraid to head into those wet markets that are scattered everywhere across Beijing. They are full of the best bulk snacks: nuts of all sorts, banana chips, sultanas, sweet seed snack bars, dehydrated dates and vegetable chips, sweet buns and pastries, and more! Take your reusable produce bags and fill those babies up!
Prepare your food in advance
So much picnic and camping food is pre-packaged. With some planning and preparation at home, you can eliminate the bulk of this packaging.
– For breakfast: pancakes or oats and bananas.
– For lunch: Frittata’s and quiche, loaf breads from the bakery, peanut butter, hummus, vegetables, fruits, or whatever else you can make at home. Meat, breads, and cheese can easily be purchased from Jenny Lou’s, April Gourmet, or Carrefour using your own containers.
– For dinner: tofu or bean burgers using buns from the bakery, chopped broccoli, and fire-roasted potatoes.
– Snacks: take your own homemade cookies or muesli bars.
– Take super large water dispensers or large drink bottles. You will always consume more than you need so take extra so that you don’t have to purchase plastic water bottles.
– Buy drinks that recycle easily such as soda cans or glass bottles, and remember to take them home and leave them out for your local recyclers to collect.
Ditch the disposable plates and cutlery
– Take some from your home, or if you are regular picnic people, get a set that you can use every time you go out.
Make cleanup easy
– Take cloth napkins from home, which you can dampen with water to clean up those sticky faces and fingers.
– Pack a cloth and tea towel from home, plus a little bottle of dishwashing liquid to clean up afterwards.
– Reuse the empty food containers to take home your compostable waste.
And finally, don’t forget your picnic blanket, a Frisbee or football, and a bottle of champagne. Happy picnicking!
The Latest Viral Social Media ‘Green’ Trend
If you use western social media, you will no doubt be aware of the latest viral hashtag, and this one is making the planet a cleaner place. #trashtag started trending in March this year, when teen Byron Román posted a ‘before’ photo of a litter-strewn wooded area, with an ‘after’ photo of the area and the bagfuls of garbage that had been collected. Since the post, many people, including teenagers, have responded to the challenge, posting photos of themselves with areas that they have cleaned up. If you want to take up the challenge, get your family together and send your before and after photo’s to the beijingkids team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fashion Revolution Week: April 22-28, 2019
Fashion Revolution Week was born as a result of the Rana Plaza building collapses in Bangladesh, when 1,138 people (mostly young female workers) were killed under unsafe working conditions while manufacturing clothes for fast fashion brands such as Walmart, JC Penny, and Primak. Since then, the spotlight has been on the fashion industry, particularly on the people who make our clothes and how they live and are treated, and on the environment which is suffering greatly as a result of the production of clothes and our over-consumption – the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry on earth.
It’s a global movement that calls for a fairer, safer, cleaner, more transparent fashion industry, which protects and enhances the life of the people who make the clothes, and also using environmentally sustainable practices.
Over the course of this week, there will be various events across Beijing including documentary screenings, discussions, and second-hand clothing swaps and sales events.
– Enter the discussion on social media #whomademyclothes.
– Hold clothing swaps for kids and teens outgrown/unwanted clothing.
– Watch The True Cost of Fashion documentary on Netflix.
Around the city
Youth Edition: LIVE WITH LESS x Inspire Citizens, Apr 21
The classic swap session with a twist – student leaders will open your eyes to more ways of being a conscious consumer. All ages. Free. 12-4pm. Crossboundaries, 4 Gongtibeilu, Sanlitun. WeChat ID: crossboundaries
The True Cost of Fashion: Who Pays the Price of Our Clothes Documentary Screening, Apr 23
Documentary screening followed by a panel discussion featuring industry experts. All ages. RMB 50 (presale tickets include one drink). 7-9.30pm. The Bookworm, Sanlitun. WeChat: becstarnz
Swap, Sweat, and Smile: LIVE WITH LESS x Heyrobics, Apr 27
A swap with a sports focus, so bring your exercise clothing and gear, or come and pick up some new stuff. Adults. Free (half price pizza and drinks.). 1-4pm swapping; 4-5pm Heyrobics. Xian Bar, East Hotel. WeChat: crossboundaries
RiverBlue Documentary Screening, Apr 28
Documentary Screening followed by a group discussion about the film. All ages. 8pm. RMB 50 (presale tickets include one drink). 8pm. The Bookworm, Sanlitun. WeChat: becstarnz.
This article first appeared in the beijingkids April 2019 Exploring Beijing issue.
Photos: Adobe Creative Cloud, courtesy of event organizers