Local environmental organisations and individuals announce today the launch of an Open Letter to Singapore, a platform for people to voice support for nature and the future they envision. Supported by Green Drinks Singapore, LepakinSG, SG Climate Rally, WWF-Singapore and Zero Waste SG, the initiative rallies Singaporeans to safeguard Singapore’s future by calling for improved environmental policies and business practices nationwide.
The Open Letter is unveiled in conjunction with Earth Hour, a global grassroots movement for the environment. Making a case for the inextricable link between human action and the health of our planet, the Open Letter provides a platform for people in Singapore to be part of the movement to protect nature and biodiversity.
“As the world battles COVID-19, we stand in solidarity with people to recognise planetary emergencies like climate change and biodiversity loss. The Open Letter to Singapore comes at a critical time for the planet. Earth Hour is a moment for us to unite as one to send a message of change for a more secure future. To ensure better health, quality of life and a sustainable future for all, governments, businesses and institutions have to take action that is in line with science,” says Kim Stengert, Chief, Strategic Communication and External Relations, WWF-Singapore. WWF started Earth Hour as a symbolic lights-out event in 2007.
It is against the backdrop of this extraordinary time that this Open Letter to Singapore is unveiled. The individuals and groups aim to get as many people as possible signing the letter, creating the largest voice for nature in Singapore (https://www.earthhour.sg/).
Earth Hour 2020 – Live & Unplugged is a digital livestream happening on 28 March 2020 at 5.30pm, leading up to the iconic lights-out at 8.30pm. Earth Hour 2020 – Live & Unplugged comes after the nationwide advisory to defer large-scale events over the rapid evolvement of COVID-19 outbreak. With more people choosing to stay home during this public health emergency, the decision to go digital offers more accessibility for people to join this meaningful movement.
Outcomes to Safeguard Singapore’s Future
Recognising the crucial role that systemic intervention plays in advancing scaled and sustained environmental change alongside individual action, the Open Letter is addressed to Singapore’s political leaders, businesses, institutions and schools.
The letter enables people who live in or care about Singapore’s future to urge these decision makers to strengthen policies and practices that support the preservation of the environment. This guarantees Singapore’s long term essential needs – clean air, food, water and its biodiversity.
The Open Letter to Singapore seeks three outcomes:
- Maintain the good health of Singaporeans by addressing environmental threats caused by deforestation, exploitation and pollution.
- Achieve a good quality of life for Singaporeans by preserving natural environments and biodiversity in Singapore and the region.
- Ensure a bright and prosperous future for Singapore by ultimately stopping climate change.
Achieving these objectives requires measures such as ambitious emission reduction targets as part of the Paris Agreement and sustainable and transparent procurement of natural resources; also necessary are regional and global agreements such as the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution and Convention on Biological Diversity.
A Smattering of Voices
The Open Letter to Singapore is a platform that represents the aspirations and hopes of Singaporeans for a sustainable future.
Gabriel Lee, 18 y/o, full time National Serviceman (NSF): “Protecting nature, to me, means to take action to conserve the environment to ensure a greener world for the sake of our future generations. I am supporting this Open Letter to Singapore because I would like to play a more active role in advocating for policy changes in light of the current planetary emergency that the world is facing.
I would love to see Singapore embark on a path towards a low-carbon future where we strive to reduce our carbon emissions to the bare minimum, so that young people such as myself can live in a world free from the harmful effects of global warming when we grow up. I encourage everyone, regardless of age, to start taking action to create the world you want to live in in the future.”
Mrs Habibah Ismail, 67 y/o, teacher: “Protecting nature means providing a win-win solution for both people and Nature as we are the inhabitants of the planet. We have a symbiotic relationship, a relationship which is intimately interconnected. We need to understand that infringement done to Nature may result in an infringement done to the human world. As we cut trees inhabited by birds, they have nowhere to go and become unwelcome visitors to the food centres and other eateries as these are the most convenient and accessible alternatives.
This may then have detrimental effects on our health and our environment. I am supporting the Open Letter to Singapore to create awareness and a realisation on the dire state of the planet. It is important to do our part for a sustainable future. In the future, I hope to see that alternative habitats for birds and other inhabitants of nature are provided for as we clear forests to meet the needs of our increasing population.”
Takanori Oda, Managing Director at Thermos Singapore: “Thermos® created the original reusable bottle more than 100 years ago. Today, we continue to develop products that provide people on-the-go with more sustainable choices. In Singapore, we are seeing increasing awareness and efforts, on both a national and community level, to reduce the waste sent to our landfills.
The Open Letter to Singapore will offer a platform for passionate voices to be heard, and inspiration for those who want to do more for the environment. We hope that more will be encouraged to make small lifestyle changes, such as reducing the use of disposable single-use plastics in their meals. Together, many helping hands can give Nature, and our loved ones, a better future to enjoy.”
The Body Shop Singapore: “It began with our founder, Anita Roddick, and her belief in something revolutionary: that business could be a force for good. Following her vision, we’ve been rule breaking, never faking and change making for over 40 years. From pioneering Community Trade in 1976, campaigning against animal testing to launching of Plastics for Change and attaining B Corp certification, we have always seen the importance and value of protecting nature. As a passionate social and environment activist, it’s also up to us as individuals and as corporations to do what we can to help change the world.”
Vanessa Lim Singh, 29 y/o, Senior Digital Engagement Specialist at WWF International: “Protecting nature can seem like a big and faraway concept, it sometimes feels like we are powerless to do anything. But I don’t think that is correct. If everyone across Singapore used their voice and actions proactively and asked businesses and governments the right questions, we can create an unstoppable movement for nature that we will all collectively benefit from.
I want Singapore to be ambitious in our efforts to protect our home. I want us to play a leading role in positioning Singapore as a powerhouse in protecting nature, while having healthy economic growth that people can benefit from. One cannot happen without the other in the long term.
We cannot sustain a healthy and resilient economy in the long run without securing nature. Every action big or small counts in our efforts to create an unstoppable movement for nature. Use your voice, join a pledge, speak to your politician, or use your voting power. When millions of citizens make our voices and choices heard across Singapore, we can no longer be ignored.”