“Public engagement should start from the point of policy design, and continue even as we implement these policies. At the policy design stage, engaging the public allows us to forge a shared mutual understanding with those who are impacted by these policies. By consulting various stakeholders, policymakers can better take into account their different perspectives and concerns.” – DPM Teo Chee Hean
The doctor says he is going to cut your loved one’s heart. You ask him if there’s a need to do so, how he is going to cut, whether there’s any risks and potential dangers, and if an independent assessment is going to be made. His reply is that he would tell you at an appropriate time. How would you feel? Naturally, you would be worried and want to know what’s happening and whether it’s the right thing to do.
Similarly, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has announced plans to build the Cross Island Line (CRL), a MRT line that would cut across the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR), which is known as Singapore’s Green Heart. Nature Society and concerned individuals are asking LTA on the environmental impacts of the line crossing the legally protected Nature Reserve, and if an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would be conducted. LTA says it would conduct an EIA but did not mention when, and adds that it would engage Nature Society at an “appropriate time“. How would you feel?
The appropriate time to engage is NOW. In fact, the most appropriate time for LTA to engage stakeholders is before the announcement of the plan for the CRL to cross CCNR. Unfortunately, LTA did not do so.
As the CRL cuts through the CCNR, which is a sensitive habitat and legally protected Nature Reserve, it is important for LTA to be more proactive and transparent in communicating its actions on this issue. Interested groups should be engaged at this stage before any feasibility and EIA studies are conducted, so as to avoid unnecessary second-guessing and worrying about the impacts.
NOW is the time for LTA to engage Nature Society and interested individuals and groups. Share your plans for the CRL and the EIA. Share, Explain, and Engage Now. Not at an appropriate time.
What Can You Do?
You can send an email to LTA CEO, Mr Chew Hock Yong, at firstname.lastname@example.org and remind him politely that now is the appropriate time to engage stakeholders on the CRL, and ask him to set a date to engage the stakeholders before the feasibility and EIA studies are conducted.
What we need is not an appropriate time, but an exact date and time.
“In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but by what we refuse to destroy.” – John C. Sawhill
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. Read more
Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) is the national conversation for Singaporeans to come together and discuss our vision and priorities as a country.
Several OSC sessions have already taken place and the dialogue sessions have been encouraging and positive, with many Singaporeans actively contributing their thoughts and sharing their vision for a better Singapore.
So far, we have not noticed much environmental issues and sustainability visions being discussed during the OSC sessions. We attended an OSC session and there really is not much discussions on our green vision and priorities. Read more
If you wish to go green and take action, this book makes it easier for you. Eugene has compiled a list of 7 habits that are commonly found in people who are green conscious and environmentally aware. All of us can start learning these 7 habits now and take action to improve and protect the environment. The 7 habits include:
Habit 1: Respect nature and renew your bond
Habit 2: Improve your environmental awareness and knowledge
Habit 3: Reduce your environmental impact
Habit 4: Spread the green message and influence others
Habit 5: Support green initiatives and groups
Habit 6: Participate as an active citizen
Habit 7: Choose to be a responsible consumer Read more
The Green Corridor is a former railway while Bukit Brown is a cemetery, so different yet so similar. The Green Corridor and Bukit Brown both connects the past and future, and both involves heritage and the environment. I hope that all of you can support the preservation of Bukit Brown, just as you have actively supported The Green Corridor so far.
I supported The Green Corridor proposal by NSS because I feel that it would improve Singapore’s long-term resilience. The biggest threat to Singapore is apathy, and when Singaporeans do not feel a sense of belonging and are not bothered with what goes on here, then Singapore is in trouble.
For Singapore to survive and prosper in the long term, it is necessary to have more opportunities in preserving our shared memories and creating our shared vision. And keeping the railway lands as a Green Corridor is one opportunity not to be wasted.
Similarly, I feel that Bukit Brown is another excellent opportunity that enables Singaporeans to feel they belong here by remembering our past and creating our future. Read more