Happy World Rainforest Day (22nd June)

Let’s make every day World Rainforest Day.

Let’s also support the petitions to preserve our forests and advocate recycling of previously developed lands, so as to protect biodiversity and tackle climate emergency.

Tengah forest

Tengah forest is located in western Singapore, serving as an important ecological corridor between Western Water Catchment and Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

Although it is relatively young, having been regenerating as a secondary forest since 1980s, it has become home to a rich biodiversity, including rare, threatened and critically endangered species such as Sunda Pangolin and Straw-Headed Bulbuls.

At 700 hectares, Tengah forest is one of the largest contiguous green spaces in Singapore, bigger than the iconic Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and is able to cool the urban heat island effect significantly.

Unfortunately, this forest is in danger of having its original size reduced to only about 10 percent or less in a few years’ time, due to a development plan to convert it into a controversial “Forest Town”.

As Singapore is a signatory to the landmark 1992 UN Convention on Biological Diversity and is also heating up twice as fast as the planet, it is hoped that the authorities will heed the call from nature groups and concerned residents to preserve the forest as much as possible.

Click here to sign the petition to preserve 30-50% of Tengah forest.

Dover forest

Dover forest sprawls over 30 hectares, supporting 90 bird species, of which 13 are rare or threatened.

Click here to sign the petition to protect Dover Forest.

Clementi forest

Both Clementi and Dover forests provide ecological connectivity to Green Rail Corridor, which leads to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Pang Sua woodlands and Kranji woodlands.

Click here to sign the petition to protect Clementi forest from urbanisation.

Bukit Batok Hillside Park area

Bukit Batok Hillside Park area supports at least 81 fauna species, according to the Environmental Impact Studies report.

Click here to sign the petition to support the full conservation of Bukit Batok Hillside Park area to ensure a sustainable future.


Happy World Environment Day (5 June)

Happy World Environment Day.

Here’s remembering wise words from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh:

The Earth is not something outside of us. Breathing with mindfulness and contemplating your body, you realise that you are the Earth. You realise that your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth. Look around you – what you see is not your environment, it is you.”

This may well be a fitting starting point for us to appreciate Nature.

For too long, many traditional books on Nature typically devote 10 chapters on the beauty of the natural environment and end with only 1 or 2 chapters on environmental conservation.

Maybe it’s time for nature conservation to be on the forefront of our education, instead of taking a backseat.

After all, without nature conservation, we will have fewer and fewer opportunities for nature appreciation.

If we don’t disrupt the status quo, nature will always be an afterthought in the minds of developers and urban planners.

Mitigation measures for development plans are often euphemisms for controlling damage incurred as a result of human-centric planning.

As a result, the wildlife often find themselves shortchanged, as they deal with ever-dwindling habitats.

“Minimise roadkill? Good – let’s fence up the forest boundary, so they have nowhere else to escape while the bulldozers tear down their homes.”

“Human-wildlife conflicts? Oh, it’s the people’s fault for feeding the wildlife that were displaced from habitat fragmentation, causing them to become aggressive towards humans.”

“Wildlife corridor? Fine – let’s chuck it next to the noisy expressway where nobody cares to live near.”

“Forest town? Ok, let’s replace over 90% of the original forest with buildings, roads and parks, and then advertise it as a “forest town”.”

“Petition to save the forest? Sure – let’s publish in the news about a newly designated nature park and omit details about housing development in its vicinity.”

“Green Plan? No problem, we will add 1,000 more hectares of “green spaces” by 2030 – while we hope the public will soon forget about the 33-hectare Dover forest, 85-hectare Clementi forest, 700-hectare Tengah forest etc before we slowly turn them into housing estates.”

“A new Outward Bound School (OBS) not welcome in Coney Island? Well, actually, our urban planners have already marked the area for development many years ago (nevermind the fact that they weren’t trained in EIA nor were they educated much about climate change back in the days).”

And so on and so forth.

So yes, happy World Environment Day.

May we remember the wise words of Thich Nhat Hanh for our sake and that of our future generations.