Monday, 21 January 2013

Our 'Green' SG Conversation: Let's talk about green issues in Singapore

Participants at Our SG Conversation discuss need for better public awareness, policy focus
By Grace Chua, The Straits Times, 20 Jan 2013

The first Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) dialogue for the environment community, held on a rainy Saturday morning at Singapore

Polytechnic, raised both uniquely "green" issues as well as broader, shared ones.

Environment and animal-welfare activists, for instance, said Singapore actually has a wealth of land and marine animals and plants.

But many members of the public are not even aware of this, they lamented, so how should the word be spread and made relevant to people so that more will care about protecting them?

At the same time, like most other OSC sessions, participants also envisioned Singapore evolving into a more gracious society and one that is less focused on economics and more on happiness.

In all, 64 people took part, including activists and members of the public.

A total of 52 organisations were represented, ranging from the Centre for Sustainable Asian Cities think-tank, Energy Studies Institute and other academic institutions to the Keep Singapore Beautiful Movement, Nature Society, Cat Welfare Society and other non-government groups.

Issues raised in the three-hour conversation, led by Nominated Member of Parliament Faizah Jamal and sustainability consultant Eugene Tay, ranged from getting people to return their trays and not litter to shifting policymakers' focus from "brown" issues of waste and pollution to "green" issues of ecology and conservation.

Entrepreneur Allan Lim of social enterprise The Living! Project suggested getting more companies on board for such discussions, especially those in industries such as shipping and construction.

The comments will ultimately be sent to OSC committee members like Education Minister Heng Swee Keat and relevant policymakers like Senior Minister of State for National Development Tan Chuan-Jin, who is also Acting Manpower Minister.

"The conversation doesn't end here," Ms Faizah said.

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