Wed 08 Nov 2017: 2.00pm – Green Jobs Symposium & Networking 2017 for tertiary and JC students (registration required)

From Clean & Green Singapore:

Passionate about sustainability, but not sure how to turn it into a career?
Find out how your interests can match you up with a suitable job opportunity at the Green Jobs Symposium & Networking 2017.

Green Jobs Symposium & Networking 2017
Wed 8th Nov 2017: 2.00pm – 6.00pm
Location: thebridge – Level 1, The Metro, Ascent, 2 Science Park Drive, Singapore 118222
(Nearest MRT station: Kent Ridge)
Attire: Smart Casual.
Register here: bit.ly/gjs2017 – you will have to register with your NRIC/FIN and you will receive an infopack to prepare you for questions.

“A sustainable economy, a sustainable living environment, sustainable development for the people and international collaborations are the 4 key pillars to Singapore’s journey towards shaping a sustainable future. Discover the opportunities from within and let Green Jobs Symposium & Networking 2017 provide an inside glimpse to the industry trends. Organised by Young NTUC, BCA, EDB and NEA, the symposium is held in conjunction with Clean and Green Singapore 2017.”

You’ll get the chance to speak to representatives from companies in energy, building, environmental and other professional services.
Plus, check out career and internship opportunities that will open doors to fulfilling careers!
Head over to register now: bit.ly/gjs2017

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Share your green love story (Singapore Sustainability Story II, by 08 Aug 2016)

This is a great opportunity to share stories we can all learn from, enjoy and be inspired by – and every story, no mater how small, counts. I am looking forward to sharing the repository with students, volunteers and friends

Green Living is calling for inspiring stories which they want to share through the Singapore Sustainability Story II.

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“Do you have a story to share on your efforts to go green and sustainable?”

This year at Green Living, we turn our focus on you. If you have a story on your journey towards an eco-friendly lifestyle, we’d love to hear from you. We’re calling for inspiring stories from individuals, groups and corporates to be part of Singapore Sustainability Story II at Green Living.

The Singapore Sustainability Story II seeks to showcase initiatives through story telling by individuals, groups and corporates. The shortlisted stories by our curation committee will be featured at Green Living and the best 3 stories (people’s choice) will be given a prize of $100 shopping vouchers.

What kind of stories are we looking for?

  • Individuals who commit to greening their homes and leading a sustainable lifestyle
  • Children who help to spread the message of green
  • Small groups that opted for sustainable lifestyle
  • Community groups that do things in a sustainable way

Every story counts. If you have a story to tell, no matter how small it is, we will record it in this journey and seek to share with everyone.

Go ahead, share your story!

First rule of coastal cleanups – be safe!

This morning, Ivan Kwan reminded Toddycats on our LINE chat to be careful when picking up trash. Our shores are host to venemous animals and they can be nestled anywhere. Coastal cleanup veterans Quek Kiah Shen and Amy Choong responded with memories not of animals but of “sharps and needles” and syringes in Buloh and Lim Chu Kang mangroves in the north-west of Singapore.

Typically during September’s International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers remove 30 –150 syringes a year, but these are mostly from our recreational beaches at East Coast Park and Changi and not from mangroves. Around the world, cleanup organisers warn participants to be careful at beaches, because of the recreational drug users who litter. Even if syringes are empty and washed out so not a hygiene threat, briefings emphasise safe handling and disposal.

However, we are finding instances of numerous syringes in bags, on our north-western shores. These we suspect were dumped offshore. In 2014, this was highlighted at the pre-National Day mangrove cleanup at Lim Chu Kang, where we found, sitting on the shore, a bag of hypodermic needles.

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A bag of hypodermic needles on Lim Chu Kang by Chua Li Shan (2011)

Ria elaborated about the larger issue of indiscriminate trash disposal and the presence of numerous offshore fish farms in the Johor Straits. The trash causes a lot of impact to ecosystems, and costs a lot of money to cleanup. Addressing the issue at the source would be great way to prevent senseless damage – read her post which summarises the issue.

Finding a bloody syringe, though, is uncommon, In 2011, Kate Thome reported one from a cleanup at Kranji mangrove. It was rare enough for the ICCS founder leading that cleanup to send me this photograph below. Years of earnest, pre-cleanup safety briefings was put to the test!


The bloody syringe at Kranji mangrove by Kate Thome (2011)

Well, the safety preparedness paid off for the students who found the syringe calmly kept a distance and called an adult over. It was photographed and disposed in hard plastic, so that no garbage worker would be accidentally pricked on its way to incineration.

I tweeted that image and reporters Jalelah Abu Baker and Kimberly Spykerman picked up the news and wrote an interesting story for a general audience. We circulated it to Organisers as a reminder to be prepared and vigilant.

Registration for Organisers for September’s data gathering International Coastal Cleanup has begun. As coordinators prepare Organisers, we suggest they adopt ICCS’ “Advice for Participants” and by circulating the pdf early and covering the points during the on-site briefing, just before their cleanups begin.

Just like we will do so at Operation We Cleanup Up on Sunday 8th May 2016.

The Advice for Participants can be read off a handphone, and include these statements, which have been made more explicit over the years:

  • Place your feet carefully on the ground – beware of broken glass, fishing hooks, syringes and other sharp objects which may be present on beaches. Fish such as stingrays and catfish have sharp spines.
  • Examine items carefully before picking them up – sharp objects can pierce your gloves.
  • Do not use your feet to kick or feel objects.
  • Dispose of glass and sharps (e.g. syringes) responsibly – pad them well with numerous empty plastic bottles and dispose these separately in canvas trash bags – workers who transport trash bags later to waste incineration sites must be protected from accidents. Alert your Organiser.

In the months leading to the cleanup, we will emphasise safety above all else. We tell Organisers every year that it doesn’t matter if they mess up data collection, or report late, or forget to take photos, or are unable to eliminate the trash (there are other cleanups), the first rule of coastal cleanups is and has always been – be safe!

How green is your coastal cleanup?

Joys Tan (ICCS-IKEA Intern 2016) and I met up with a representative from a corporate group intending to initiate coastal cleanups in Singapore. Although new to the operational side of things, they were familiar with the outlook. So it was easy enough to explain the idea behind coastal cleanups.

When we discussed the green-audit of their cleanup and other events, we highlighted that every act would translate to major reductions of waste generation, given the large number of individuals they were inviting to the event.

How green is your cleanup

To follow up, I will email this painting by Becky Lee (ICCS-IKEA Intern 2015). It succinctly conveys the suggestions from our Organiser’s Workshop and final email to Organiser’s. The language on the poster was kept mild but the email to Organisers is a little more persuasive.

Including a green audit in any event is critical, especially environmental ones. It is really sad if a group generates more waste (even with proper disposal) than they managed to clear from the beach! I will incorporate that question into the registration procedure for the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore this year.

“The time to act was yesterday, get it done!” Youth @ COP21 (2015 Paris Climate Conference)

Singapore’s Nor Lastrina Hamid was honoured to speak at COP21 on behalf on world youth (UNFCCC observer constituency of youth organizations (YOUNGO)[watch video]:

“My name is Lastrina. I am from Singapore, and I have the honour of speaking on behalf of the youth constituency.

As young people, we would like to voice grave concerns that this process is becoming more and more exclusive as we speak. Monsieur Fabius has said that to achieve a strong agreement we need a transparent and inclusive process, not only among the Parties to the Convention, but also with members of Civil Society.

However, in the past week we have seen the opposite. Negotiations have once again been closed to observers, interventions have been limited, and our voices have been silenced. Now that you have finally given us a space to express ourselves, listen to what we have to say:

Last Monday, at the heads of state event, there were numerous calls for climate justice and action. Leaders expressed that “Never have the stakes been so high,” “the fate of humanity is on the table” and that “we are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change, and the last generation that can do something about it.” They were right. The stakes have never been so high. But if the fate of humanity is on the table, then where is the action you so boldly discuss?

Action, not empty promises, will save our populations from starving, dying of thirst, and perishing in floods. You are responsible for the emissions in the past. We don’t want history to repeat itself, stop the carbon colonialism.

We, the youth, demand that parties [reach] an agreement that closes the ambition gap and keeps the temperature increase below 1.5 degrees. Developed countries must take the lead based on their historical responsibility and their respective capabilities. We call for a legally binding agreement that is no longer mitigation-centric, but acknowledges the need for strong adaptation measures, a bold loss and damage mechanism, technology transfer, capacity building, as well as finance flowing from North to South. These elements are crucial to help vulnerable communities cope with the enduring effects of climate change in a way that is both just and equitable.

From now onward, youth from all over the world will rise up to hold you to your promises. The time to act was yesterday. 21 years of inaction have passed. We have told you what you need to do.

Get it done.”

UNFCCC Webcast  Paris COP 21 | CMP 11  On Demand  Conference of the Parties  COP 9th meeting Cerence of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol  CMP 7th meeting

What are the UN’s Global Goals for sustainable development?

World’s Largest Lesson – ‘Global Goals for Sustainable Development are 17 goals to achieve three extraordinary things in the next 15 years – End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Fix climate change. If every school in the world teaches children about these goals, we will help them become the generation that changed the world.’

UN News Centre, 25 Sep 2015 – UN adopts new Global Goals, charting sustainable development for people and planet by 2030 [link]

“The 193-Member United Nations General Assembly today formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with a set of bold new Global Goals, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed as a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.

“The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere. It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms – an agenda for the planet, our common home,” declared Mr. Ban as he opened the UN Sustainable Development Summit which kicked off today and wraps up Sunday.

The UN chief’s address came ahead of the Assembly’s formal adoption of the new framework, Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is composed of 17 goals and 169 targets to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.

The Goals aim to build on the work of the historic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which in September 2000, rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty.”

Singapore’s Sustainable Development Programme was announced by Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan at this summit:
 

“Singapore will partner UN agencies, such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP), to provide technical assistance and capacity building to developing countries in the areas of leadership and governance, sustainable cities, and water and sanitation solutions.”

The MOH Haze Health Advisory poster and conservative advise for coastal cleanup Organisers

Here is the MOH Haze Health Advisory poster which summarises their guidelines. Various other ministries and institutions adopt these, as does NUS, and might provide specifics or precise advise relevant to their situation.

The fundamentals are all here.

But do read the language carefully. For example, in conditions greater than 100psi, the recommendation for healthy people is to “reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion”. To me, the word prolonged is enough to rule out the typical coastal cleanup activity which lasts at least three hours from departure to site. Strenuous covers any mangrove cleanup.

Furthermore, the MOH guidelines comes with this caveat: “While the health advisory provides general precautionary advice, each individual’s reaction to pollutants may vary. The amount of physical activity or exertion that can be performed also differs according to an individual’s health status or capacity. ”

Yes individual response varies, and this is a critical to realise.

Allergic rhinitis is known to be common enough amongst children in Singapore and may persist amongst undergraduates. Keeping them out of the haze even in low psi values (50-100) seem like common sense. Teachers in schools are prepared and in really bad conditions, some have plans to hem students into air-conditioned halls and somehow continue with school! Amazing!

Many stressed adults also suffer from allergic rhinitis, and have a tough time of it when haze values are persistently maintained at 50-100 psi for days.

As coordinator of the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore, I mulled over this at the first sign of the haze three weeks ago. Read, consulted, observed and decided to adopt a conservative approach when I emailed some 70 Organisers of varying capability and site difficulty who organise some 3,700 volunteers.

Our practise all these 24 years of the ICCS has been to rank safety above all else,so the ICCS Haze Advisory for Organisers was entitled, “At air quality readings above 100psi, please consider cancelling your event!” And if we were dealing with levels below 100psi, despite the MOH recommendation to continue with normal activities, volunteers already experiencing discomfort, however mild, should be advised to rest instead.

I informed the international coordinator at Ocean Conservancy to say Singapore might not be sending them a bundle of data this year due to the haze. We did not experience a haze-out in 1997 or any other year, but we did experience a wash-out in 1998 – Organisers then sensibly cleared the beach due to a massive storm and we cheered them when they wrote to explain.

Similarly, this was a no brainer.

Now all we can do is hope for clear skies like the rest of Singapore. And perhaps a little more: this local campaign hopes to rectify the problem of the haze at the source, through consumer action, a very powerful tool indeed: webreathewhatwebuy.com – take a look and play a part.

Stay healthy everyone!

No sign of Bukit Timah hill, all swallowed
by the rain-enhanced haze of Mon 14 Sep 2015: ~1800h

Bukit TImah in rain enhanced haze