Big Changes Start With Me: Sherlaine Yap
The journey towards sustainability isn't an easy one, but with each commitment to mindful action, it becomes a more attainable reality.
In this series of interviews, we shed light on how young Filipinos are contributing to bring this collective dream of ours to life.
It's an honor to have Sherlaine Yap with us for this.
How are you celebrating Earth Day?
Is it a lame answer to say that I try to make every day Earth Day? Haha! But joking aside, I will probably spend it making a nice vegan meal to eat while watching a documentary. Maybe something awe-inspiring about our beautiful little planet.
What's the biggest change you've made for the environment?
Before 2020 ended, after finishing my yoga teacher training, I made the switch to a vegetarian diet, as I was inspired by my teachers who were vegan. They talked a lot about its positive impacts on not just health but the whole world! Then when the New Year began, I hopped on the Veganuary train and did my best to be vegan for a month -- and this didn’t just mean not eating meat or having any animal by-product. Through research, I found out that a lot of everyday things we use (like even some toothpastes!) have animal by-product. It was a shocking revelation, but it spurred on more decisions to opt for the most sustainable choices: I switched to a menstrual cup and even started washing all the single-use plastics I couldn't avoid getting. And even after all that, I still want to find more ways to have as minimal of a carbon footprint as I can.
What are your main resources of information about the realities of climate change?
I have just been usually going on Instagram, following reputable sustainable people, brands, and advocates. Lately, I've been trying to watch more documentaries too, and wondering how they apply to us— a third world country. Sometimes, the problems they present aren't exactly always relatable (because of everything that’s going on in our country), so lately I've been finding local scientists and advocates, and following them on Instagram or even asking friends what to read or watch! We all just need a little help sometimes because all this information does get a little overwhelming.
Can you give at least 3 actionable steps that we can take in our daily lives to secure a better future?
There are so many ways a sustainable lifestyle can look like: opting to bike when its not that far and the weather permits, or switching to a more plant-based diet (And not sticking to it 24/7 all year round is ok too. Just being more conscious about it is already so good). If you're a female, then using menstrual cups instead of disposables is already so much less waste -- just with that simple act that we all have to go through once a month. Recycling, shopping pre-loved or vintage/thrift, asking for no plastic cutlery with your take out -- or even better, bringing your own baunan, and coupling that with using a metal or bamboo straw (because how silly does it look when you use a metal straw with your single-use cup of frappucino?). You can mix and match, find more ways, and accept that convenience isn't always so great in the long run.
What does your ideal green future look like?
It's kind of funny; I always talk about this kinda stuff with my friends, and I always say the same answer: a commune. Haha! But maybe I just really mean having people that are good at different things supporting and helping each other with no real need for money. I always make my own soy milk and find friends who make their own things too, then I just ask to barter! I really love that idea: just people caring for each other and sharing what they make. I think it's such an enriching human experience that not only makes us all kinder and feel that sense of oneness and connectedness, but will also make us take kinder actions towards our own planet home! Also, urban farming sounds super fun! Imagine all the buildings rooftops converted into greenhouses or little green spaces. That would just be so lovely!
Thank you to Sherlaine for spending this time with us, and for sharing her knowledge and inspiration. To learn more about Sherlaine, check her on Instagram. Use code SHERLAINE for a 10% discount starting April 23 until June 23 2021.