Have a say in tackling green challenges

Visitors at the Jurong Eco-Garden. The discussions will be based on four main themes and will delve into topics including ways in which the community can maintain the island's greenery.
Visitors at the Jurong Eco-Garden. The discussions will be based on four main themes and will delve into topics including ways in which the community can maintain the island's greenery.ST FILE PHOTO

S'poreans can join series of engagement sessions; Govt will work with individuals to translate good ideas into actions

While Singapore has grown into a sterling city in a garden in 50 years, the next phase will be fraught with more acute challenges, driven by increasing land constraints that could mean trade-offs between commercial, residential and green spaces.

Climate change will also result in rising sea levels, more intense rainfall and warmer weather, and globally, there will be more pressure on resources such as food and raw materials.

But Singaporeans will have a say in how these challenges will be met, and the future they envision, through a month-long series of engagement sessions titled "A Cleaner, Greener and Smarter Home" launched yesterday.

The discussions will be based on four main themes: City in a Garden, Vibrant Community Spaces, Eco-smart Towns and Gracious Living, and A Green and Conserving Culture.

It will delve into topics, including how to cut down on food and electronic waste; how homes can be built to be more environmentally friendly; ways in which the community can maintain the island's greenery; or how technology can be used to improve the daily commute.

They are part of the larger SGfuture discussions that started in November and are expected to run till the middle of this year. Last month, the focus was on building a caring community.

To kick-start this round of dialogues, a symposium was held yesterday at Gardens by the Bay, involving some 300 participants, and attended by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong and Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli.

In a call to action, Mr Wong said the sessions "should not just be talk only", but those with good ideas should come forward.

The Government will work with individuals to "translate your ideas into actions", he added.

Ms Masagos gave the example of Mr Tan Ken Jin as an individual who made a difference. Mr Tan started the Singapore Glove Project, where people meet to pick up litter during their jogs and runs.

"The one-man movement has grown to more than 500 members... Our challenge is to turn the movement into a culture," he said.

During yesterday's symposium, participants raised several suggestions, including an open gardens concept, where the gardens of private homes or estates could be open to the public on a regular basis.

One participant also asked whether urban areas could be re-designed to make them more walkable, like in Western cities.

There will be 17 engagement sessions this month, and one next month. While the dialogues will be held at the Marketplace, near The Future of Us exhibition, there will also be site visits to the rail corridor, HortPark and the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

Members of the public who would like to attend any of the dialogues can sign up at https://www.sg/sg50/sgfuture

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2016, with the headline 'Have a say in tackling green challenges'. Print Edition | Subscribe