- Kee Kuan
The Earth that we once know is "changing", not for the better good but for the worse. Yet people in Singapore, or should I say the world, have yet to do any drastic measures to help save our environment and also our ecosystem.
Furthermore, many corporates are using this as an opportunity to earn more money by using the common tag line of "environmentally friendly products" as a selling point to earn more!
In our age, our time, too many people are thinking too much about monetary gains and materialistic dreams. We as the general public have to do our part, no matter how big or small, for the environment and not what that would benefit us based on what it's worth.
I will sacrifice economical benefits for ecological ones as long as me and my family will not suffer the fate of not having a rice bowl to lean on.
Countries have other things in mind; they are more concerned about tomorrow’s trade index dropping 50% than their country losing a piece of forest for development. Ecological damage has become a part of life for many countries. Environment will never be #1 on national budget. They would be spending more on home security and evil economics.
Human civilisation would degenerate and pockets of humans would be all thats left of humans.
A major war would breakout in 10 years time as resources dwindle and countries become extremely protective of their own nation. Social instability would set in and society degenerates. The governments would not be able to control its citizens. Its everyman for himself in the future.
Most of humanity would be wiped out in the war. Guerrillas are what we would become. Those with skills and knowledge would be most wanted in factories to supply the war. As all humanity goes into the shadows, they would then be wanted to recreate the living conditions of human kind's future.
The war is imminent, hopefully Polytechnic students with technical skills would be sent to the factories and not the frontlines of war. Survive the war by accumulating as much technical and survival skills as you can.
Hence it is very important for people to be environmental friendly. People in countries, like Japan and Taiwan, sort their rubbish according to rubbish that can be recycled and cannot be recycled. If everyone does that, the amount of waste incinerated and taken to landfills will decrease. When less amount of waste is incinerated, less CO2 is release into the atmosphere. Although many people understand that they have to go green, many people are not doing it, as they feel that since other people are not doing it, they do not have to do it as well. If everyone is having this kind of mindset, it will be more difficult for the Earth to "heal". People can start by making a small contribution as it can really make a big difference.
mount of waste incinerated and taken to landfills will decrease. When less amount of waste is incinerated, less CO2 is release into the atmosphere. Although many people understand that they have to go green, many people are not doing it, as they feel that since other people are not doing it, they do not have to do it as well. If everyone is having this kind of mindset, it will be more difficult for the Earth to "heal". People can start by making a small contribution as it can really make a big difference.
Professor Steffen Lehmann, who specialises in sustainable design and behaviour at the University of South Australia, praises Singapore for practices such as integrating ‘greenery in the built environment’, in the form of green roofs and facades as well as park connectors.
However, he says it can do better in areas such as using renewable energy. ‘There is still too little energy produced using solar power or biomass, which is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. The Singapore Government could give more incentives for people to buy solar panels,’ he suggests in an e-mail interview. Singaporeans are also too dependent on air-conditioning, he points out. ‘We need better use of design principles appropriate for the tropics,’ he adds.
Although Singapore are getting more buildings green, Singapore will also need to focus more on retrofitting and upgrading the existing mature housing estates from the 1960s to 1970s so that more buildings will benefit. The Singapore Government is doing a lot in their might to improve the buildings in Singapore. However the main problem i feel is that it is the people are not doing their part even though there are so much incentives implemented.
I think even though the government had already put in a lot of effort to raise people awareness on the importance of going green such as, the project called "Give me a Hi 5" carried out by National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Marine Parade Town Council which aims to get residents involved in the green movement. This campaign, draws the people attention to global environmental and climate change with a bid to get Singaporeans to recycle as part of its core messages are the 3Rs - reduce, reuse, recycle, many still have little knowledge about going green. This may be because the incentives and activities carried out are not attractive enough to attract the people attention or it may be because going green is too troublesome. Hence I think that in order to get people into going green government can come up with more attractive incentives or activities to engage people.
In general I think if every one of us makes small changes in our daily lives — by keeping the environment clean, conserving energy — it will go a long way towards caring for and sustaining the environment and also maintain Singapore as a green city. Jasmine Ng
Recently, HarbourFront Centre, formerly known as Singapore’s World Trade Centre, is one of the oldest buildings to win the Green Mark Platinum Award from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). The retrofit of the building has produced significant results, including a nearly 50% increase in air conditioning efficiency and a 30 per cent reduction in electricity costs. Energy efficient lighting was among the measures introduced to achieve the energy savings.
Another example of the incentives is the Green Audit award. The Green Audit award is an annual environmental audit programme organised by the Singapore Environmental Council (SEC). The programme requires schools to obtain information such as its usage of electricity, the amount and type of rubbish generated in different areas in the school and green activities organised by the school. The programme aims to increase the school’s level of environmental awareness and encourage each individual to develop solutions and adopt habits to improve their environment. Hence, by awarding schools with the award, it recognises the schools’ efforts to go green and at the same time, encouraging others to strive for the award.
At the individual level, awards and prizes are also given out to individuals who have shown efforts to go green. The Green Wave Environmental Care Competition is a competition opened to schools in Singapore. The main objective is to inculcate awareness and motivate students to gain a sense of personal and group responsibility for their own environment and in the process, learn how to reason, think critically and act to protect it in a balanced way. The project also hopes to promote innovative thinking among students, encouraging them to develop new ideas, processes and equipment for the betterment of our environment. Awards and cash prizes are given to the schools and students as recognition of their efforts to promote environmental care, as well as to go green.
Hence, I believe that there is enough incentive for Singapore to go green.
However, I have to admit that incentives is a way to encourage Singaporeans to adopt the go green mentality and actually do their part and contribute. Since Singaporeans are rather materialistic and have practical mindsets to a certain extend, money is of course the best incentive the government can give. But incentives is certainly not a long term solution. Even though going green is important, we can't use our preciously tax money on encouraging people to go green forever. That would be quite a waste in the long run as time goes by. We can go back to concluding that changing that mindset and behavior of Singaporeans is still the best solution in the long run which is possible through education. The more educated people are, the more they will be able to understand and value the importance of going green.
If I really have to agree or disagree as to whether the incentives are too few, I would be on the disagreeing side. To begin with, this website talking about going green is like holding a world environment day concert. Encouraging people to go green while wasting resources. Please use more environmental friendly methods to encourage people to go green!
Qn 5: "The greatest weapon of mass destruction is corporate economic globalization." Do you agree?
Ans: Corporate economic globalization is caused by the greed in people. With greed, corporate companies exploit other countries rich with natural resources for their own benefits, such as boosting their overall profits of their companies. In no time, the rich companies will just get richer and the other small companies will just get worse as they are basically leeched off by those major corporate companies. As a result, this will just be an evil ongoing process whereby there will only be a few major companies left standing. And if at that point of time they are still so obsessed over money, they will probably use all means to crush other companies which might lead to mass destruction of the World. Therefore, I agree to this statement to far extent.
Qn 8: It was quoted in the movie, that "people are really doing the best they can given their level of awareness". (Deepak Chopra) From your experience, has the level of awareness of environmental problems affected you in any way? What have you done for the environment as a result of such awareness?
Ans: It is clear to all that our environment is suffering, we do not need to be ecologists to know that fact. However, despite knowing the fact that we are aware of the existing environmental problems, we as individuals find it difficult to help the environment in any way. By telling us to save water, electricity, use clean gases and etc, people still do not see the significant impact of those actions that we have done daily. There is a lack of education to show the public how significant our everyday lifestyle can be to our environment. For me, to be honest, have done nothing that I think that has helped the environment in anyway. The methods of how we could have helped the environment were not properly mentioned, therefore this are cases of lost cause even when we want to help.
However, I do understand that as Singaporeans, we lack any sort of "green mentality" whatsoever, perhaps we can change that slowly, but as of now the only way we can ensure that people begin to go green is by having incentives. The most basic incentive I can think of that is viable is tax exemptions based on how green one has gone. It is very hard to judge how one should benefit by going green as it is very hard to determine how much of an impact a person’s green actions have done.
I agree that it is important that the incentives, policies and attitudes have to react faster, however the main importance is the mindset of the people. People must want to help the earth so that we can continue as a species instead of just doing it for monetary gains. Our short sighted “goals” of money must be change to the long sighted “ goal” of survival and having a habitable planet.
-Darren Goh DBS/1a/21
I believe a good incentive for Singapore government to give would be to lower our income tax and instead increase the ‘carbon-waste’/electricity/water taxes to motivate Singaporeans to go green.
Governments all over the world have begun educating people on the importance of being environmentally friendly. In Singapore, we have the 'Green Label' and other programmes to encourage the saving of energy and water in food courts and community clubs. This is actually all it takes for people to begin going green.
Though it is possible that more forceful methods have to be utilized (such as raised costs for energy and water), incentives are a more persuasive method of convincing people to go green.
As it is a duty to take care of the Earth, people should be doing it for the good of the world instead of for rewards. Therefore it is already too much to have incentives at all. I disgree that there are too few incentives to promote going green.
“As the species at the top of the food chain, we are the most vulnerable.” – David Suzuki
I agree with this statement. Technicall, the human race is at the top of the food chain. Due to human intelligence and curiosity, we tend to explore and push at our boundaries. We create and we invent, and sometimes, we end up hurting the earth. However, ultimately, it is the growing greed and the endless temptations which push us to do more and to gain more. As what experts suggest, it is the greed for growh (significantly from economic growth) which acts as the driving force for the human race. The geed overcomes everything else, including the environment. The lack of care and maintenance has, over the years, resulted in the earth itself turning against us, and of course, most of the harm upon which we bring upon ourselves. To put it simple, we are the cause of our vulnerability.
6. (Link to globalisation) We’ve become “anesthetized by our own wealth” (48:56) that we don’t see or feel how the rest of the world lives. Is this an accurate reflection of our society?
Yes…and no. The thing about the human race is that once we get used to wealth or the comfor of life, we would not want to change. We only want to improve, not the other way round. Wealth in this context does not specifically mean finincial capability and financial capability alone, but rather, the comfort of life. We see disasters and tragedies of all sorts from the media but the one thing that we cannot deny is that we will never truly understand and empathise with how the people involved, that is, unless we ourselves are put through the same thing. An example, Hurricane Katrina was one of the most devastating natural disasters. Besides Hurricane Katrina, there have been other terrible natural disasters such as the Indian Ocean Tsunami and the Sichuan earthquake. Now, this is the question: Why do Americans only ever mention disasters and tragedies involving themselves? We learn about third-world countries, about countries such as Ethiopia. We learn about them in our textbooks and from websites. We empathize with their plight but do we really understand? No. You see, there lies that very simple reason – that we do not see or feel how the rest of the world lives.
9. As students of your chosen discipline, what can you do to make life greener?
As an individual and as a student, we may not be able to do much but every little thing counts. Simple actions and simple habits fostered could make a difference. People say that we should always spread awareness, but thinking back, do people actually take your word for it? No, not most of them, anyway. One thing to do is to never give up on raising awareness. Set an example to everyone by doing something, be it participating in environmentally-friendly campaigns/activities, re-using plastic bags or even making full use of rough paper. By setting an example and making these your own habits, influence will tap on the conscience of the people around you.
There is a sentence made by an expert, “Governments need to take a more initiative role in reducing greenhouse emissions”. To this statement, i agree. In this globalized world, the concept of wealth is always present. Coupled with convenience and complacency, the world takes nature for granted by over-utilizing it. To tackle the foretold catastrophe of a fallen world, states like US and China, which are among the largest contributor of greenhouse effect, have to step forward and lead the smaller nations into agreement of a better, cleaner earth. To implement them and carry them out, influential nations, which are generally bigger and wealthier nations, need to be seen as committed and determined to change. Talks are nothing if without deeds, the world should know.
Moreover, companies are positioned for growth, be it in oil-gas or any manufacturing industries. To prevent companies from exploitation, laws and policies have to be implemented. Hence, we can look that government is essential in helping reduce greenhouse emissions.
In the world we live in today, money makes the world goes round. Understand that people who have a heart to help are often limited to their own wealth. For a living, no doubt people need to find means and ways to stay alive. But in some instances of the world, you could still find some the love of mankind. Take for example, during the Sichuan Earthquake, huge and profitable organization gave a helping hand. Some help in the name of anonymous. In the rescue of the massive earthquake, you could find helpers, workers and even foreigners, risking their lives in a bid to save the trapped or even to recover the bodies. The world is definitely aware of how the rest of the world lives. Of course, there are black sheep in our midst which are over-anesthetised by their greed that they become self-centred. Sometimes they are those who exploited the poor, those that changed the way how society should really be. However, in everything they do, there must be a purpose and in each and every human heart holds a soft spot for its own kind.
As students of chosen discipline, as an individual, as part of humanity, every single actions that we does count. To represent ourselves and stand up against anti-green campaign is something we can do. I always believe that no matter how small or how insignificant our works might be, even saving the power usage in your house when added up can be huge. If you have the cash, go ahead and support R&D movements. If not, being eco-friendly is a good start.
However,after the screening of the film "The Eleventh Hour", I still believe that there is no need for incentives to go green. From the film, there were statistics that show that the trees are actually providing us service that is worth more than huge global companies' profits combined.and that the service that trees are doing,they are doing it for free.Cleaning the air,preventing soil erosion,all of which that we can't live without.Therefore I feel that there is no need for incentives because we should be part of nature,we should not be driven by money or benefits. We should be driven by the fact that the nature is our home and that destroying it is equals to destroying ourselves.
If more incentives are not needed, then what?you might ask.
The current incentives that are given are to the government sector,the environmental council and such.But what about the education of children?I feel that the children of today should be educated that the earth is going to destroy us as we destroy it and that they should learn more about helping the earth and pledging to improve the environment.
Governments of different countries should also do something drastic and not leave every conference with nothing done.when one country starts to do something,other countries shall follow and this in turn shall help to stop,if not slow down the damage done to Mother Nature.
Therefore I feel that there is enough incentives to go Green.
Incentives can only go so far in convincing Singaporeans to go green. Most incentives come in the form of monetary rewards be it vouches or tax rebates but there will come a point where it becomes too expensive for the government to give out more incentives if the only thing that drives Singaporeans to put in an effort to go green.
However that doesn't mean that the government should give up on improving Singapore's green efforts. The government is the only one with the manpower and legislative power to execute drastic measures in order to go Singaporeans to have a greener attitude. An area that the government could look into is imposing a green tax. Taxing Singaporeans is a tried and tested method where each household could be taxed for their amount of contribution to carbon emissions or weight of non-biodegradable trash produced
Therefore i feel that incentives is not the problem and that the easiest method is that policies should change to taxing citizens so that people's attitude and lifestyle would change even though they may be disgruntled at first, they would come to accept that it would become a way of life
- ashley, crs biomed
On the 3rd of March 2010, MPs addressed the issue of transforming Singapore into a green economy. It was said that more will be done in the 2010 budget to boost the progress of this issue. The government has identified green industries such as clean technology as a new source of growth for companies; the government would then further assist firms with incentives and grants in this area. Calls for Certificate of entitlement (COE) system which controls the numbers of cars on the roads, to be tweaked are also done so to encourage the usage of environmentally friendly cars.
In countries like the United States, families are given home tax credits of up to US$1,500 for energy efficient improvement works. Incentives like this could be implemented to encourage a green society in Singapore.
However, Singapore can be bolder with their moves in going green by investing in alternative energy markets such as solar, wind and hydropower. This way, Singapore’s reliance on fossil fuels will be reduced. Like what Guan Ying said, “As the world population grows, natural resources are harder to obtain. When the resources are depleted, it takes a very long time for it to renew.” Singapore is a very modern country, it was progressed this far since our forefathers. There’s a great reliance on electronics etc. It would be near impossible for the whole country to stop the usage of these appliances, therefore finding alternative energy sources would serve as a more viable solution.
Incentives are only measures set to motivate people to be green. Most incentives come in the form of tax exemptions or monetary benefits. Many Singaporeans, having that "money face" attitude, would of course adhere to going green. But then they would have this thinking that the purpose of going green is for money. They probably wouldn't even think about the seriousness of going green, which is to save the Earth. Policies, on the other hand, would make people have the impression that saving the environment is more of a burden than a responsibility. For example, the government collecting additional taxes from an individual who has not been throwing his rubbish properly. This would make the person fear going green rather than encourage him to have that habit.
As such, I think setting up campaigns or public activities islandwide to educate Singaporeans about how the Earth's environment and resources are depleting would be a more viable solution than to increase the number of incentives or policies. To open up the minds of the citizens, there could be door gifts given so that more people will be encouraged to participate in these events. In this way, Singaporeans would have this right mindset about the saving the environment instilled in them, and they would start to do their bit in saving the Earth, by first going green in their motherland, Singapore.
In closing, I would like to say that the attitudes of Singaporeans play an important role in saving the environment. If the public has the wrong mindset about this issue, like only thinking about money, then our society would turn into a greedy one, motivated by money. Therefore, incentives are also important, but I disagree that there is a need to increase them.
The purpose of saving the environment is so that the future generations will be able to appreciate our country and the Earth. All of us should hold a responsibility in this issue.
In recent years, humans have been destructing the Earth in many different ways for their own benefits (such as: Economic factors, for extravagance resources). Apparently, the government have been publicizing about the need for going green, however, people doesn't seem to have really react to it. By introducing the incentive, people will naturally take that "going green" is something that the Government has request for and not something that they are doing for themselves. It is a natural side of human to do things that benefit themselves, and if that is the case, they are actually doing things on a wrong purpose to start with, and this kind of action will probably not last for too long as they will start to request for more incentives.
On the other hand, if people were to have the mindset and know that they will be the one losing out at the end of the day if they do not start to save the Earth, this would probably triggers more actions. Singapore should start educating the newer generation starting from a tender age as that's the age they tend to inculcate things. While for the older generation, we can only continue educating them, as in the long run, I'm sure people would start to realise the side effects.
Therefore, incentives should not be introduced for Singaporeans to go green.
- Teck Wee
9. As a student from electrical and electronic engineering, I believe I can do my part in saving our “dying earth” through inventing or modifying the current appliances around us to run on clean fuels or solar power as a substitute for coal and natural oil. (E.g. like how the tungsten bulb evolved into a fluorescent bulb)
As the human mind allows us to evolve, we develop the capability to think, act and produce which differentiates our species being from the animals. The act of production which is central to human beings makes us more superior as we have control over what and how we produce. This ability also allows humans to produce beyond subsistence level. Competition for the survival of the fittest arises which makes man greedy and selfish. Greed and selfishness drive men to accumulate profit for themselves even if it is at the expense of the Nature. For example, men's activities such as deforestation destroy the habitat of animals in the forest and cause global warming.
9. As students of your chosen discipline, what can you do to make life greener?
As a student from Electrical Electronic Engineering, I can play a part to make life greener by inventing an environmental-friendly product to save electricity. For instance, a device which can keep track of the amount of electricity we used at home. With this device, users can control the amount of electricity used and can certainly save their money. Besides that, I can invent a device which can save water. For example, a device which will be placed at the mouth tap to minimise the rate of the flowing water that can save a lot of water and of course, the monthly bill. Furthermore, I can create a solar energy panel at the rooftop instead of using lights that will consume a lot of energy. Lastly, I can also play my part by encouraging everyone around me like my family and friends to save electricity and water.
-Muhammad Nuruddin Bin Daros
From the start, Humans have never been eco-friendly. During the ancient times, we burned wood for fire, we cleared forest for land, dugged mines for minerals and even raze an entire city (think of how CO2 will be released from all those material). Therefore humans have been polluting since the past and not just in the present.
With a much larger population of 6.06 billion people on Earth during the start of 21st century compared to 1.65 billion during the start of 20th century, nature can no longer replenish its resources in time to meet our demand. Perhaps the reason why we are suffering today is as a result of the past where we have always focused on the need to save ourselves from our enemies and where the environment is yet a threat to us.
Thus in this new century our hungry need of resources for our own interest have resulted in a new threat we have never encountered before. Humans are not prepared nor experienced in facing this new threats and thus suffer while the new methods are developed to solve the problem.
Despite our own interest to be better and more profits, we could have taken the time to research on the long term impacts our technology can bring and find other ways. But which competitor would have done that? The rivals would come up with a new product soon or probably skip the seemingly insignificant long term impact researching process and commercialize the same technology before you do. Our greed to earn the most amount of profit would not allow any risk of loss. At the end of the day the fastest wins and our greed wants to win.
This situation can also be applied in other areas. Military development is an example, in order to achieve idominance and power, your military must be stronger in order to deter others. Thus your development for better technology or capabilities is required in order to stay ahead. An example is the development of anti satellite capabilities. Ever since China developed it and shot their satellite down, the USA soon raced to create similar capabilities and an even better system where they shot their own satellite down by firing a missile from a ship rather than from an aircraft at high attitude. By doing so, the power dominance of USA is secured.
9. As students of your chosen discipline, what can you do to make life greener?
As a student of material science discipline, before i commercialize a material I created, I will ensure that there is no harm on the environment before i commercialize it.