Clean and Green Week 2020
The Decade for Action
The overall theme of this year’s C & G week will be a call to action. We want to bring upon a renewed emphasis to the urgency of the climate crisis, thereby compelling action from each one of us.
This comes at a time where we see shifts, both globally and in Singapore, towards prioritising sustainability on governmental, corporate and individual levels. Singapore, for instance, had declared 2019 the Year Towards Zero Waste.
2020 is therefore the decade to actualise these aspirations.
2020 is also significant, as it gives the human race exactly 15 years before the consequences of climate change become irreversible in 2035, according to a groundbreaking study by Scientists in the UK and the Netherlands in 2018. Unless governments and all facets of society act decisively to fight climate change, humanity could cross a point of no return after which limiting global warming below 2°C in 2100 will be unlikely.
Everyday brings about a different theme, in which we discuss about certain aspects of our lifestyles, as well as holding daily exhibitions about these aspects.
This year’s Clean and Green Week was also done completely online due to the implementation of the Full Home-Based Learning which coincided with the week.
Day 1: Diet
This theme focuses on our diet, the food that we eat everyday.
We often overlook or are unaware of the importance of our diets in the fight against climate change.
Did you know that producing 1 kg of beef and pork respectively produces 27kg and 11kg of C02 respectively? It is no surprise that agriculture is one of the largest contributors to global warming.
We have three chances a day to make a small but significant choice to reduce our carbon footprint.
Imagine the change we can make if we reduced our meat consumption, even just by going meatless for a day! Going meatless is becoming easier and easier with greater awareness on climate change and more options to choose from, including numerous plant-based meats. Even meat-lovers can do their part when it comes to our diet!
All of us can play our part to differing extents according to our dietary habits and present lifestyles!
Hear from Angel the importance of reducing our meat intake and how going meatless on Mondays may go a long way to reduce our carbon footprint.
Green Monday is.a social venture promoting sustainability and a plant-based lifestyle. Check out their website to find out more about what they do!
Day 2: Consumerism
Tune in to hear what Wynne, founder of Barnything, has to share about bartering 🙂
Consumerism is a trend that has grown exponentially over the past few decades, especially with the emergence of industries like the fast fashion industry.
Industries like the fast fashion industry make goods much more conveniently accessible to us, but also generate enormous environmental impacts through promoting a culture of excessive, unsustainable consumption.
Fast fashion is one of the greatest contributors to waste and global warming. Half a million tonnes of plastic microfibres are released per year from washed clothes, contributing to ocean pollution.
The fashion industry is also expected to consume a quarter of the world’s annual carbon budget by 2050. If more of us started making the choice to choose more sustainable alternatives, we could greatly reduce the environmental impacts of our consumption of goods and services.
Sustainable options are plenty and growing at the moment: From thrift-shops for second-hand items, eco-fashion brands like Esse and Kolombiana, it only takes a little more effort to reduce the waste and carbon we generate.
Day 3: Wildlife
Over the last two centuries, the earth has lost up to 73% of its plants and animals. Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation is now a state of emergency.
Singapore’s wildlife is not spared from this.
We have lost up to 73 percent of our plants and animals over the last two centuries. Rapid, large-scale habitat destruction for agriculture and urban development were the main culprits behind the mass extinctions. For example, since the 1800s, more than 95 per cent of the estimated 540 sq km of original vegetation has been cleared, and that certain areas such as the West has been losing 52 hectares of its tree cover per year. That is almost equivalent to losing 52 sports-field sized areas!!
We also face a problem of invasive species.
Most notably, SG’s aquatic ecosystem is seeing a continual rise in invasive alien species along with a dwindling number of native species These alien species have no natural predators locally and have thus established a strong presence in Singapore’s waterways (mostly artificial aquatic habitats)
Credits to: Man Juncheng (19S7B), Que Bowen, (19S7B) and Zheng Dingwei (19S6G) for information regarding our aquatic ecosystems and also invasive species.
Learn more about the state of wildlife in Singapore and how we can live in harmony with nature from Dr Andie Ang, President of the Jane Goodall Institute Singapore (JGIS).
JGI is global nonprofit focused on inspiring individual action to improve the understanding, welfare and conservation of great apes and to safeguard the planet we all share. You can check out the JGIS website for more on what they do.
Day 4: Energy
Listen to Bea from Fossil Free Yale NUS (FFYNC) share more about what she does and how we can play a part in environmentalism!
FFYNC is a student-led initiative which calls on their school administration to divest their endowment from fossil fuel corporation
Lights, fans and gas stoves — all these daily necessities are powered by energy, and we could hardly imagine our lives without energy.
However, energy usage patterns have evolved. What happens when we all start using energy excessively for non-essentials like air-conditioning or for a daily hot shower?
A 10 min hot shower releases 2 kg of CO2 and 3 hours of air conditioning releases 7.2 kg of CO2. All these add up to billions of tonnes (that’s 12 zeros) per year worldwide. The IPCC recommends a 45% decrease in CO2 emissions by 2030 and net zero C02 emissions by 2050 to effectively mitigate the rising temperatures and larger climate crisis.
We are now one decade away from 2030 and nowhere close to this goal.
What can we do then? While it is true that there will need to be greater political will and industrial transformation, individuals and society are part of the formula for a greener future. By not using energy unnecessarily, taking small actions (like installing energy efficient LED bulbs) and being more conscious of our carbon footprint (using the many carbon footprint trackers available), we are making much needed contributions to reducing carbon emissions.
Day 5: Advocacy
In this day and age, advocacy is crucial if we want to get more people to know about the current climate crisis
In Singapore, we are so shielded by the effects of environmental degradation that it is easy to forget how many people are suffering due to it.
Luckily, climate issues are increasingly gaining the global spotlight through figures like Greta Thunberg and movements like the Extinction Rebellion.
We are also seeing a growth in the local environment scene here in SIngapore. For example, the 2019 SG Climate Rally attracted 1700 advocates and audiences at its launch last year. There are also numerous platforms such as lepakinsg and greennudgesg which facilitate and organise environmental activities.
With the various aspects discussed for the past 4 days, we have learnt the ways in which we can take action. Let us use the power of advocacy to spread the awareness of climatic issues!
Find out more about the importance of advocacy and the importance of students in fighting the climate crisis in this interview with Tammy!
Tammy is an environmental advocate who works part-time at Green Is the New Black, a sustainable-living media platform. Find her on Instagram @lilearthgirl 🙂