Our Singapore Green Landscape 2015 provides a list of 44 non-governmental organisations and non-profits; 49 green groups; 17 business associations and groups; 53 green websites; 26 government agencies; and 47 institutes and centres in Singapore, which are relevant to the environment.
Since it’s SG50 this year, we have chosen 50 environmental-related groups and organisations from the Singapore Green Landscape 2015, which we like and based on their past and present work. The other groups and organisations not in this SG50 Green List also deserve our support and recognition too! Read more
Every year on World Environment Day, we are reminded of the need to take individual actions for our environment. This year, besides taking small individual actions, let us also start thinking about how we can work towards systemic changes with more impact.
While it is important for each of us to take action, it is even more important to focus on systemic changes. We need systemic changes such as building sustainable urban infrastructure and green buildings; increasing the resilience of our energy, water and food security; redesigning and developing new ways of making, reusing and recycling products and materials; and conserving our biodiversity.
These large systemic changes are likely to be achieved mostly through the efforts of the government, but it can happen faster with individuals pushing for these actions to be discussed and implemented.
Our local environment has been taken good care of by the government, so good that we do not see the need to care or be responsible for our environment. Most Singaporeans tend to depend on the government and not take responsibility for the environment. This indifferent attitude needs to be changed if we are to ensure a sustainable environment, which requires the efforts of both the government and the people.
Instead of relying or expecting the government to take care of our environment, it is time for Singaporeans to do our part and take responsibility. We should start using our rights as citizens and participate actively and positively in nudging the government towards systemic changes.
We can participate in the formulation of government policies on the environment. This could be through government dialogues or feedback channels, and also through the media. For example, the REACH platform by the government allows feedback and discussion on various green issues and policies. The government agencies are also having more public consultations on environmental policies and strategies.
We can also play a more active role in advocating for systemic changes in government policies and programmes. This could be through starting or joining groups to advocate for systemic changes in development plans, such as Chek Jawa in the past or the current Cross Island Line cutting across the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, and in government policies, such as having more clean energy, introducing green procurement, or minimising waste through redesign and reuse.
There are opportunities for us to voice our concerns about the environment and the need for systemic changes through several channels and we should make use of them constructively. As we state our stand on environmental issues, it is important to base it not only on our convictions but also based on facts and adopting a positive win-win mentality.
For this year’s World Environment Day, remember that everyone can play a part for our environment, through our own individual actions and through encouraging more systemic changes in government policies and programmes.
We arranged a meeting yesterday with staff from the Department of Public Cleanliness and the Policy and Planning Division in the National Environment Agency (NEA) to discuss about marine trash, together with Siva from International Coastal Cleanup Singapore and Ria from Wildsingapore.
The objectives of the meeting were to:
- Understand more about how NEA is clearing the marine trash, and NEA’s strategies and policies in reducing marine trash.
- Explore how NEA can lead the efforts in coordinating with other government agencies and NGOs, and work together to reduce marine trash.
We shared the following during the meeting:
- Siva: Data and photos from ICCS; top marine trash items; hotspots especially those directly under NEA
- Ria: Photos of marine trash at coasts near fish farms; disposal collection for fish farms
- Eugene: Marine trash from beachgoers; suggestions on reducing marine trash and upstream policies to minimise plastic disposables
Besides cleaning and clearing marine trash, there should be more efforts to reduce marine trash. We hope that NEA can work together with the various stakeholders to address and reduce marine trash over time. Read more
We were asked how to lobby the government on environmental policies, our reply was first don’t use the word ‘lobby’, would prefer to call it nudge. Second, be positive and constructive, think win-win. Third, there’s no guarantee that you can influence the government but you can try these tips on nudging:
Ask the relevant agencies questions about the policy you’re interested in and then listen carefully to the answers. Try to understand why things are done the current way. Seek first to understand then to be understood.
Think of possible solutions that are realistic for the relevant agencies to implement, yet meet the objectives you desire. Be constructive and build credibility, don’t just rant and blame.
Show the government that there is public support for the policy change, the more diverse the support, the better. Communicate progress on the support regularly to the relevant government gatekeepers.
The government is conducting a public consultation for Singapore’s plan to reduce carbon emissions and promote green growth beyond 2020. You can give your feedback to the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) by 31 Mar 2015.
Here’s our suggestions that was submitted to NCCS:
1. Introduce basic carbon footprint reporting and benchmarking for companies
There is currently no comprehensive data and information on the carbon footprint of companies in Singapore and their performance as compared to peers in the same industry. This results in minimal pressure for companies to put in effort to reduce their carbon footprint.
The government can consider a mandatory framework on basic carbon footprint reporting and benchmarking for companies. This reporting framework should be simple and easy to adopt so that it does not add too much burden for companies. One such existing framework is the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, which sets the standard for how to measure, manage, and report greenhouse gas emissions. Read more