Ways we can walk the talk

I am delighted to hear that our Singapore politicians were involved in the successful Paris climate deal ("Historic deal may signal end of fossil fuel era"; Monday).

However, with large petrochemical, shipping and aviation industries, we are heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

While we may have a small total carbon footprint as an island nation, this may not be true if we are evaluated on a per capita basis, adding on the fact that we are an important petrochemical hub.

Are we, as a nation, ready to make the necessary painful changes, and find alternative renewable energy industries that we can switch to for our energy needs and economic growth?

We can consider some things more concretely:

  • Solar energy

This has to be the best renewable energy for us, being situated on the Equator. Billionaire Elon Musk has been quoted as saying that to power the entire United States with solar energy, the surface area of solar panels required would only be a fraction of the area of Texas state.

I imagine that this would translate into a small-sized district in Singapore for our local power needs.

  • More green corridors that connect our wildlife throughout Singapore.

There are many benefits, such as helping to reduce our carbon footprint, ensuring dynamic biodiversity, and further strengthening our reputation as a garden city.

  • More research and exploration of various aspects of farming, and integrating them creatively.

These would be a diverse area that includes hydroponics, biodynamic farming, livestock breeding and organic produce.

For example, we could be producing high-quality organic produce for relatively less land and resources, with farmers consciously reducing their carbon footprint in the process.

  • Making it attractive to "reduce, reuse, recycle" through various rewards (monetary and recognition-based), more conveniently located recycling collection points and continued public education, especially in schools.

Teoh Ren Shang (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2015, with the headline 'Ways we can walk the talk'. Print Edition | Subscribe