Our SG Conversation for the Green Community @ Singapore Polytechnic
The Our SG Conversation for the Green Community (OSC) was held last Saturday 19 January at Singapore Polytechnic. This OSC was initiated by Faizah Jamal, Nominated Member of Parliament (Environment and Heritage) People and Civic Sector, and Eugene Tay, Director, Green Future Solutions, in collaboration with the Singapore Polytechnic Environment Club and “Our Singapore” Programme Office, Public Service Division.
55 participants, including 45 representatives from green groups and 10 from the public, turned up on a rainy Saturday morning to voice their thoughts and vision for Singapore. The diverse views of the green community, which included environmental NGOs and groups; individual environment, animal and wildlife activists; and environmental businesses, associations and research academics, added an important voice to the overall national conversation.
The small group discussions started with looking at our past and present, with the following key questions:
- Think of a personal experience or story when you were most and least inspired for a green future in Singapore.
- What is the biggest concern that you face in your work in the green community and with other Singaporeans?
Some participants share their positive experience on volunteering as nature guides; how the appreciation of nature led to being concerned about other green issues; and the green consciousness seen in other countries.
Other participants share their least inspired stories of Singaporeans having a “don’t know, don’t care” attitude which drives overconsumption and wasteful behaviour; the current generation of youth not having much interaction with the environment and nature; and the limitations in engagement among the environmental movement, government and citizens.
Next, the small groups moved on to discuss our vision for Singapore in 2022, and explored the following key questions:
- What do we envision for Singapore?
- What is the role of civil society, private enterprise, government, and the ordinary citizen?
- How can the green community be more creative, engaging and inspiring in the way we communicate with Singaporeans on our environmental concerns and visions?
Each group presented their views and we ended with a big group discussions on what has been said and what we can do next.
Some of the diverse views from the groups include:
- The need for environmental impact assessments (EIA)
- A country that respects the earth and looks at Gross National Happiness
- The government moving away from enforcement and regulation, towards helping people who help themselves
- The need for people in the various environmental sectors (public, NGOs, institutions and government) to collaborate
- Corporations having a larger role to play in conservation and the environment
- Consumerist lifestyle of Singaporeans need to be addressed
- Government should adopt a holistic approach when it comes to policy implementation
- Incorporate environmental issues and awareness into the education system
- More attention on climate change, and managing waste, energy, and food properly
- Moving from 5Cs to a 5Gs society: gracious, green, giving, grounded, grateful
- More environmental narratives and stories from the media
- Mainstreaming the green agenda
The photos and a short video of the OSC will be posted at http://www.facebook.com/OSCgreen. Also check out the media coverage at:
- Suria, http://on.fb.me/SlcsbU
- Straits Times, http://bit.ly/WuqTZh or http://on.fb.me/SlbWL7
- Lianhe Zaobao, http://on.fb.me/VSqwKJ
We will compile the notes from the OSC and send it to the Our Singapore Programme Office. In addition, the notes would be included in a report and sent to the participants, government agencies and Ministers, and be made available for public download.
We would like to thank all those who helped us in organising this OSC:
- Singapore Polytechnic Environment Club, especially Elaine, Li Min and Nazurah, and Student Development Officer, Valerie
- Facilitators: Vaneeta, Yeung Lee, Dave, Bhavani, Lastrina, Melissa, Zafirah, November
- Scribes: Farhan, Chin Hsien, Yang Xuan, Ding Li, Ezra, Veronica, Isabela, Pricilia
- Videographer: Alicia
- Our young volunteers from SOTA
- Our Singapore Programme Office: Daniel, Stephanie and Nicholas