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This article is contributed by Trina Tan.
The word “green” probably has many meanings in different nations with different culture and religions. Green could mean envy, money, nature, health and life. Green is also the official religious colour in Islam. Recently, there seem to be a unifying meaning for green. The word green is now seen to convey the message of saving the environment.
In Singapore, the word “green” would imply energy saving light bulbs, biodegradable products, solar powered houses, green buildings and of course, not forgetting the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle. But why is the word “green” not directly linked to protecting and conserving biodiversity? Is it because we humans are selfish?
We forget that we take actions to reduce our energy consumption not just to save our precious fossil fuels and reduce gas prices, or to reduce global warming and the resultant erratic weather patterns. We take actions ultimately to save the environment and its highly inter-linked and complex ecosystems and biodiversity.
Singaporeans has learnt about how to recycle, or take the public transport instead of driving but many are unequipped with the knowledge on the importance of ecosystems and biodiversity conservation. Once we understand these concepts, we will realize how our daily actions have such big impacts on the millions of species on Earth whom we share with.
Plants, animals and the natural world are fascinating, and we have spent centuries learning about them and from them. Many of our problems are solved by solutions from nature – using bacteria as medicine and discovering gravity from apples falling. While we try to change and adjust our bad human habits that lead to the destruction of Earth and the extinction of species, we ought to also put in more “greener” efforts to help the environment directly.
As a small nation with little natural resources, let us not forget that even the flora and fauna in Singapore are also defined as resources. These plants and animals are part of the ecosystem, which humans depend on. Singapore has already given up a large portion of its original tropical rainforest to build Singaporeans a better home, causing the extinction of many species that once used to live alongside with us. Now that you feel a tinge of guilt, you ought to do a part in protecting whatever nature spots we have left in the form of fragmented forestland, mangroves and swamps.
This remaining precious land is home to many species, some of which are unique only to Singapore. Going green is on one hand, like what we have been told, saving water, switching to fans instead of air conditioners, reducing the use of paper and plastic bags, and changing our light bulbs to energy saving ones, etc. On the other hand, it is also to do our part to protect and conserve the biodiversity that we have as a nation, because these plants and animals are born and bred here. They too, are “Singaporeans”.
There are many ways to care for our flora and fauna directly, like actively participating in mangrove and beach clean ups which are organized by environmental groups such as Toddycats, Nature Society, and the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore. Not littering in parks and rivers will also help. As the future lies in the hands of the children today, education and sparking interest among the young in areas of biology and biodiversity will shape Singapore towards a future of being a nature loving society.
Last but definitely not the least, one can also provide resources and support to the organizations that help to preserve and conserve our environment. Singapore is very lucky to have agencies like the National Environment Agency and the National Parks Board that do their part in protecting the environment and conserving nature in Singapore.
Even with the current nature enthusiasts, there are still many more “positions” that are open to help protect Singapore and the Earth. These positions have almost no criteria except to be passionate in preserving Nature’s creation. I hope you would send your resume in for this position soon.