My Views on Environmental Sustainability (Forward Singapore Steward Pillar)

Below are my views on other environmental sustainability issues I am concerned with personally for Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE)’s reference.

Increasing local food production to ensure food security should go beyond importing food from more countries and relying on agrotechnology (or high-tech farms).

We should learn from indigenous traditions that rely on Nature-based practices, such as chemical-free soil-based permaculture, aka food forests. This is to ensure that if global supply chains are disrupted or if a global energy crisis occurs, we can still be self-sustainable without relying on food imports or resource-intensive industrial farms. Food forests also serve to protect biodiversity, cool the urban heat island effect, relieve stress and anxiety through forest therapy/bathing, and ensure that we get the necessary nutrition from organic foods instead of mere calories from nutrient-depleted foods, in order to maintain a strong immune system. We can learn from world history that shows how indigenous communities have been successfully surviving and thriving through self-sustaining, regenerative, low-consumption, high-nutrition lifestyles in tropical rainforests (such as the Amazon, Congo Basin and Southeast Asia) over thousands of years, while many empires with advanced technology of their days, such as the Mayan, Babylonian, Greek and Roman empires, could not last more than a few centuries, despite having been prosperous materially and outwardly, because of their self-destructive mindsets and unsustainable lifestyles.

In Singapore’s context, that means having a fusion of traditional soil-based farms (or food forests) and high-tech farms in Lim Chu Kang and Kranji countryside, as well as secondary forests, such as Tengah forest, Bukit Batok nature corridor and Khatib nature corridor, where there are already traditional farms being managed by the older local folks who grew up in kampongs. It would be unwise to force them out of the forests and let their expertise and experience go to waste while they also become prone to senility or dementia from being cooped up in a highly concretised environment. Having said that, I support having more urban farms in housing estates and on multistory carpark rooftops for added food security, although these should not be seen as substitutes for the need to conserve and restore our forests.

According to National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS): “The Centre for Climate Research Singapore has projected that Singapore could experience an increase in daily mean temperature of 1.4C to 4.6C towards end of this century, more intense and frequent heavy rainfall events, and mean sea level rise of up to 1 metre by 2100.”

(to be continued, as it takes time to research and write based on the latest available information to ensure accuracy and relevance to our national conversation)

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