Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


The little red dot that could ... and should

Today Online 26 Jan 07

Let's take the lead on climate change issues
Let's show the world how to be environment friendly
Letter from phillip ang keng hong

The public has been numbed by unceasing bad news on climate change in the press within the past year.

Frequent environmental disasters are now accepted as part of living on planet Earth. Today's front page article, "Dawn of the Hot Age?" (Jan 22), is but another superlatives-laden article to readers.

Whether damage amounted to RM1 billion ($438 million) in the December floods in Malaysia or US$1 billion ($1.53 billion) damage to farmers, mainly in the citrus industry, in California, it really doesn't bother us a bit.

Putting a cap on the emission of greenhouse gases is clearly not going to work without a corresponding decrease in the production of goods.

One important objective of the Kyoto Protocol is for industrialised countries to reduce greenhouse gases by 5.2 per cent of 1990 level in five years' time.

Yet, we do not address the problem from the consumer's end--so long as there is demand from consumers, and money to be made, production of goods will not cease. Production will be transferred to another country, resulting in no nett decrease in greenhouse gases.

Industrialised countries have now acknowledged that there are practical constraints to achieving this target, as if we have the luxury of time.

Tackling climate change requires fundamental changes to the way we live, but it has now become synonymous with recycling. The three-step formula to reduce, reuse and recycle might have worked wonders if not for the perennial emphasis on recycling alone.

The reason for this emphasis seems to be governments' symbiotic relationship with businesses. There is no bottomline in reducing and reusing.

As a small and well-organised country, Singapore could have shown some leadership on climate change issues, but has preferred to go along with the recycling theme.

If asked how we can individually do our part, the answers from an average Singaporean are: I don't know, I don't care, or, recycling.

"Shop-till-you-drop" has not only become a national pastime but seems to be held up as a virtue. Our pitiful efforts only ensure that environmental catastrophe will occur. The question is when.

Letter from niti athavle

I AM a Primary 4 student.

Every day we hear about natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, typhoons and tsunamis. Yet people continue to behave as if there is no tomorrow.

People buy things when they do not need them. Paper is used only on one side and then thrown into the dustbin, instead of being recycled. So many trees are cut down to make paper; one day there will be no trees left.

If this continues, one day, there really won't be a tomorrow. But I want a tomorrow. I want to see the polar bears, grizzly bears, whales, other marine and land animals, birds and the beautiful flowers and trees.

I have some suggestions that could help the environment. Singapore should implement a garbage meter. Just as we pay for electricity and water, we should be made to pay for the amount of garbage we throw also. That could help in reducing the amount of waste we generate.

Singapore should also implement a rule that children take the bus to school and not get dropped off by car. This would use less fuel and the air would be less polluted. I wish Singapore would show the world new ways of being environment friendly.

The future generations should get to enjoy the Earth's beauty.