22 April 2010

Earth Day in Singapore

ECO-Singapore is launching Million Acts of Green as part of Earth Day celebrations.
The website showcases Singaporeans' efforts to preserve our environment and will be a repository of green acts committed by individuals and organizations in Singapore every day.

What is Earth Day?

From wikipedia: Started nearly 40 years ago in the US, the Earth Day celebrated on 22 Apr is not a UN-sanctioned 'Day' or 'Year'. There are two websites claiming to be the 'official' Earth Day site: http://www.earthday.org/ and http://www.earthday.net/. In addition, there is a UN-sanctioned Equinox Earth Day which is celebrated around March at the annual equinox. This is managed by the Earth Society Foundation. So there's often much confusion about Earth Day.

Nevertheless, a wide range of activities are conducted under the banner of 'Earth Day' in many countries on 22 April. Besides the above Million Acts of Green, here are some other Singapore Earth Day events.

22-24 Apr (Thu-Sat): Earth Day at Pasir Ris with a Mangrove walk at Pasir Ris Park on 22 Apr (Thu) and more activities! Click on image for larger view.

24 Apr (Sat): Sara goes Carbon Footprinting a guided tour for kids at the Jacobs Ballas Children's Garden

22 Apr (Thu): Singapore premier screening of "Tapped" an arresting documentary about bottled water

Here's a listing of other Earth Day events in Singapore in the Straits Times and on the Earth Day Network website.

Other articles on Earth Day in Singapore

See also the thought-provoking blog post "Earth Day, the Sequel" by Andrew C. Revkin on Dot Earth on the New York Times blogs. In his interview of Robert Stone, an Oscar-nominated documentarian, we hear interesting ideas such as:

"The environmental movement now is sort of a victim of its own success in that our environment as a whole seems pretty good. Air is for the most part O.K. and our lakes and rivers are thriving — or at least they’re not catching on fire anymore. What we’re confronting today is more intangible."

"We need to think big and not small. People are not going to be inspired by compact fluorescent bulbs and driving a Prius."

"Think globally; act locally no longer applies. Global IS the new local."

"If the environmental movement places all its bets on reframing human consciousness around the “one world” principle then I think the planet is going to go to hell in a handbasket. We’re simply not going to one day all wake up and sing Kumbaya and tackle these problems. There’s this strong Utopian streak in the environmental movement that truly believes that this can happen."

"Our best successes come from harnessing what is innate in human nature. And that is what needs to be harnessed not if we are to deal seriously with the greatest challenge ever to confront us as a species since the last ice age."

"Talking about a more educated populace (able to discern the broader costs and benefits of actions) — you can’t ram this stuff down peoples throat. They need to be drawn to it on their own accord because it interests them."

The rather long op-ed for Earth Day World failing on every environmental issue by Jeremy Hance mongabay.com also raises some thoughtful issues:

"As much as many environmentalists love animals and the natural world for its own sake, they are actually trying to preserve the world for themselves and their children. Environmentalism, by its very nature, is a human endeavor."

"Not only does the natural world provide us with the means on which we survive — food, water, materials, stable climate — but also gives us the inspiration to do the very things that make us human. Art, literature, philosophy, and religion would all be bankrupt without the natural world to draw from."

"We have hit this point in environmental degradation not for a lack of bright ideas and ambitious solutions, but due to a lack of will and courage."

"Researchers and dedicated people worldwide have come up time-and-again with ways to stem the ecological harm."

"A cultural shift is needed to focus less on shopping and empty materialism, and more on community and experience. Our obsessive consumerism — where we see our self-worth in the product we buy and not, in fact, who we are — is not only an illness of the industrial west, but has spread throughout much of the world. We must ask ourselves does endless consumerism make us better friends, partners, parents — does it make us better people?"

"We can no longer simply complain about governments with their heads stuck in the sand and corporations who are perfectly willing to sell-out rainforests for a higher profit margin, all in the names of 'development'."

"We need to start walking the walk: no matter how much people may decry the destruction of the world's rainforests they still buy paper, wood, food stuffs, and meat grown on them, and they still support the large corporations doing the cutting and the governments turning a blind eye."

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