Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The real motivation behind having sustainable development

In the news item in the link above, President Tony Tan says that "Cities today must be sustainable and liveable to attract the best and the brightest talent". In other words, sustainable development is important because of economic reasons. Some might say that this is at least something positive. However, I believe that to  fully understand the gravity of the situation, our politicians must realise that not hurting the environment is important not only because of the economy, but also because there is an intangible value to keeping our environment sustainable. We are merely custodians of the earth before we hand it over to the next generation. Let's make sure we do not hand over spoiled goods.

Living Planet Report 2014

Singapore has always been regarded as a "Garden City". Trees are seen at almost every corner of the island and the Garden City slogan has been repeated so many time almost every Singaporean knows about it. When we think of a Garden City, an image of an environmentally-friendly city springs to mind. But how environmentally-friendly is Singapore really? According to the Living Planet Report 2014 by the World Wide Fund for Nature, Singapore has the seventh largest per capita Ecological Footprint of the 152 countries studied. Therefore, we cannot always take what is popular to be true.  A honest review of Singapore environmental impact must be done so that we are able to tackle the important environmental problems that face the world.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Animals in Captivity

The recent controversy regarding the Pink Dolphin at Underwater World Singapore who is suffering from skin cancer has raised concerns that keeping animals in captivity is in humane and detrimental to their health. Sea Shepherd  Singapore and Wildlife Watcher, environmental NGOs, have issued a report in the link below exposing the substandard living conditions of these animals. Should animals be kept in zoos? While proponents may assert that keeping animals in zoos serves an educational purpose, I believe that their main objective is profit acquisition. The educational effect of keeping animals in captivity does not outweigh the detrimental effect it has on the animals' health and quality of life.

Monday, October 27, 2014

This short news clip highlights how hard it is politically to get change on the issue of greenhouse gas emissions. The republicans in the USA are even willing to cause a government shutdown to block a proposed 30% emissions cut in greenhouse gases by 2030. Politicians must set aside their differences before we are to get any traction on the issue of tackling climate change.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Climate Change Debate

As a student in BES, I have always assumed that the fact of climate change has always been settled. However, watching this debate on climate change I have a much more nuanced understanding of the difficulties faced in the environmental movement.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Environmental Satire

A very funny bit from Jon Stewart about the recent People's Climate March in New York City highlighting the difficulty in getting political progress on climate change even in the House of Representatives of supposedly the world's biggest superpower.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Just a short post. I was just thinking about the terms 'Saving the world' or 'Saving the environment' and asked myself, does the environment really need saving? Sure, humans are having a great impact on the environment, enough for the term 'anthropocene' to be used to describe the current time period, but is the environment really that helpless? Over the course of the earth's history, there has been much more inhospitable conditions on earth as compared to what we have now. Yes, there has been significant climate change now but nature has always had a way to adapt and thrive in the harshest of conditions.

I believe using the terms mentioned above is inaccurate and is not useful in the cause of mitigating climate change. A more appropriate term would be 'Saving ourselves'. Why? While nature is the master of surviving, the same cannot be said of humans. The rising sea levels, pollutants, and overall drastic environmental change are causing some populations to struggle especially in the less developed countries. When we move forward with solutions to environmental change, these groups of people must always be in our thoughts as they bear the brunt of environmental change yet do not receive any substantial benefits.