With the aim of creating a community that is big enough to raise awareness of greener life across Vietnam, a team behind the GreenPoints project takes some small but decisive steps toward this goal.
Huynh Hanh Phuc, who created the education project Teach for Vietnam, is also the technical lead and developer for the GreenPoints application.
A little bit of ‘green’ daily
The GreenPoints app was developed based on promoting and rewarding users for their efforts of living a green lifestyle.
The team behind the app chose to give green points (GP) to people who adopt environmentally friendly actions.
Users then can exchange these points for useful and meaningful gifts.
On top of that, they can also give their points to their friends, family members, or to other community projects.
Currently, the GreenPoints app has some features such as Reporting grey points (illegal landfill sites that cause contamination or are left undone for a long time); Green Action (record, register, and inspire a green lifestyle); Green Station (where people can bring waste to and get GP points in return); Green Events (events where people come to exchange waste for gifts, to gain knowledge about the green community, and more); and Green Contribution (donate GP points to social projects like making libraries for underprivileged children, planting trees in the forest, collecting garbage across the nation, and others).
Think twice before buying
A growing number of people who choose to lead a green life often think twice before making a choice or decision.
“Should I buy it? Is this really a waste? How were these vegetables planted? How was this stuff manufactured?” said Phuc.
“If we do this together every day, small efforts will become big like a ripple effect, we have a greener spring, a greener decade, and then a more sustainable future.”
Consuming demand never stops, but a young generation is slower in deciding to buy anything.
They pay more attention to the potential risks that a piece of goods can pose to the environment in the long run.
They consider alternative methods and think about what people can do to show gratitude to Mother Nature.
In Phuc’s opinion, a child’s love for nature must be nurtured regularly inside each household, where the parents play a key role in developing the love.
“In the state of Missouri [in the U.S.] where I lived before, there was a family with a father who was from Brazil, a U.S. mother, and a daughter named Elina,” he recalled.
“They took the daughter into the garden playing every day or cycling in the forest.
“They have three boxes that were sorted out to contain various kinds of garbage including plastic garbage, paper scraps, and discarded food to be used as organic fertilizer.
“As you can guess, Elina’s love for nature was developed naturally along with her parents through such simple things.”
It is the young generation that becomes a source of inspiration for their parents and grandparents to lead a greener and more sustainable lifestyle, he said.
“We found that the young have more opportunities to access information on the environment,” Phuc told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
“They, in turn, can easily encourage other family members to live in harmony with nature.
“I am persuaded to change my view on environmental education.
“We had better firstly focus on the young generation to build a green community.”
In Ho Chi Minh City, the young can bring garbage bags and second-hand stuff to Green Station at 106A Nguyen Van Cu Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1 to exchange for GP points.
Green Station also operates in the central city of Da Nang and the capital city of Hanoi while setting goals of expanding to more destinations in the future.
Currently, the station accepts certain kinds of garbage such as clean-treated milk boxes, discarded batteries, paper, plastic bottles, and broken-down electronics.
Apart from that, anyone can register to become an operator of a Green Station if they feel that they have enough passion for environmental protection.