Aesthetics Stimulating Environmental Awareness

In our everyday lives we are continuously exposed to environmental topics and themes. We all understand how we can behave well and make smart decision, but we don’t always do so. We know we should recycle, try to have minimal waste, should save resources, and use eco-friendly products! However, even though problems are undeniable and now in our face, we try to ignore them or are immune to this pressing concern. 

The Green Team at HKUST aims to bridge the gap between awareness and action. It attempts to strengthen the public knowledge on environmental issues, and initiate various campaigns to encourage a positive change in the mindset of the HKUST community. Keeping the same spirit in mind, members of the Green Team contacted the world renowned National Geographic, for their support and collaboration on the team’s work and mission. With similar vision on community engagement, the discussion started on a collaborative project.

National Geographic proposed a photo and video exhibition in HKUST with the theme of ‘Planet or Plastic’. The exhibition displayed fascinating and creative images showcasing the environmental concerns. The collection of impactful photographs and videos showed how single-use plastic is damaging the environment and wildlife around the world. One of the most thought provoking images was an innocent monkey surrounded by tons of plastic around it. Many photographs also depicted the problem of micro plastics – which are created when plastic is broken down into millions of minute pieces. These have been entering not just out oceans, but also our food and water systems, and not only impacting the marine life but humans as well. This reflected on the interconnectedness of all living beings. By walking through this Y-shaped tunnel exhibition, students and staff were motivated to have a new perspective and think about their daily habits. They were also encouraged to take an online pledge through social media, making a promise to themselves and Mother Nature to reduce the consumption of disposable plastic and shared with their friends.

When designing the exhibition, the Sustainability Unit & Green Team decided with the vendor to build the structure with honeycomb cardboards, which are reusable and 100% recyclable. Our students, staff and visitors were amazed to see how sustainability and aesthetics can be both achieved at the same time by mindful behavior. With the support of Facilities Management Office, most of the structure cardboard materials were reused for another exhibition on campus in Atrium.

We now hope that students and staff will remain invigorated and practise different ways to reduce the use of disposable plastic, such as bringing their own lunch boxes, bottles, mugs and cutlery. We also appreciate the collaboration and support from different canteens and UST offices on Meal Boxes go green campaign.

The whole exhibition was an answer to the question of how creativity and startling images might help us generate new perspectives on conserving our planet. The Green Team welcomes more UST staff and students to get involved. It is a community where questions are asked, ideas are shared, and future possibilities imagined. Join us!

Watch our event recap video here 

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