Face off: Are Hong Kong students environmentally aware enough?

Each week, two of our readers debate a hot topic in a parliamentary-style debate that doesn’t necessarily reflect their personal viewpoint. This week …

Joanne Ma |

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Secondary school students organised school strikes to protest against climate change earlier this year.

Kai U Cheang, 17, Macau Anglican College

There has been a growing awareness, in the past few decades, among people of the pressing need to take better care of the environment. Hong Kong students have been showing their concern through strikes and marches, and also by changing their own lifestyles.

Earlier this year in March, around 1,000 Hong Kong students marched to urge the government to take climate action, in support of Greta Thunberg’s #FridaysForFuture global movement. This shows that students in this city are not only mindful of environmental issues, but have taken it into their own hands to solve the problem.

Of course, changing your lifestyle to be greener is just as important as raising awareness. Aside from recycling and using tote bags and metal straws on a daily basis, students have also gone the extra mile to start environmental projects. For example, they have found ways to use of renewable energy at home and school, or ways to repurpose waste material.

Whether the actions these students are taking are big or small, they are making a difference. At the very least, they are making living green a trend, and that should only encourage even more students to follow suit.

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Nemo Yu, 14, Carmel Secondary School

Judging from my own experience and observations, I don’t think so. Students might say they know the planet is in trouble, or even acknowledge that climate change is happening. But if this so-called awareness isn’t resulting in action, then they are not aware enough.

If they were truly aware, they would be doing a lot more to stop climate change. Many Hong Kong students still order takeaway meals which come in polystyrene boxes and plastic bags, or won’t bring their own reusable cutlery to school.

Students are more concerned about convenience and getting things done quickly it seems. This, to me, shows they are not sufficiently environmentally aware. One reason for this is that the school syllabus does not focus enough on environmental issues because they aren’t very relevant in the HKDSE exams. Therefore students aren’t motivated to learn about them.

I think Hong Kong schools ought to teach students more about environmental issues, but whether they do or not, students should also take the initiative to learn more about how they can help the planet themselves.

Edited by Nicole Moraleda