Forum: Climate change: Incremental progress is important

Despite the many detrimental effects of the pandemic, perhaps there is a silver lining for the earth.

With global economic activity severely curtailed, levels of air pollution and carbon emissions globally plunged.

The skies cleared up, revealing what was previously obstructed by smog. With maritime traffic reduced, marine life has been sighted along coastlines. Does it take a crisis to realise we can actually make a difference?

Environmental conservation has been a hot topic around the world, Singapore included. The National Parks Board's One Million Trees movement is one of many efforts to restore nature to our city state.

As part of a module in university, I heard from conservation experts, and planted a back mangrove species in the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in support of this movement.

More than just getting my hands dirty, hearing from practitioners who have committed their entire lives to conservation highlighted the importance of incremental progress, grounded on evidence and meaningful community engagement.

The recently announced Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, stemming from the collective efforts of a myriad of stakeholders over many years.

Even as we applaud the progress made, I feel more effort should be made to mitigate this climate crisis. Education and community engagement must go hand in hand, and every action - no matter how big or small - helps.

Perhaps this pandemic gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on our actions and their impact on the earth. Perhaps glimpses of the earth's natural beauty will augment our belief in the power of working together, with the same spirit we had facing the pandemic.

As we set our sights on the immediate challenge of emerging stronger from this Covid-19 crisis, we should keep in mind the looming threat of climate change and realise that it is time for everyone to start contributing to a sustainable City in Nature which we call home. If not now, then when?

Darren Ther Ren Jin

Find out more about climate change and how it could affect you on the ST microsite here.