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TikTok, time's running out on climate change

The young use video app to raise social issues; readers' NDP fireworks shots make an impact

TikTok may be better known for short lip-sync, comedy and viral challenge videos. But some young users of the social video app are taking on a bigger issue - climate change - through make-up and time-lapse videos.

TikTok videos with the hashtag #globalwarming have so far garnered 50.8 million views.

Some of the more creative videos try to depict the impact of climate change on people and the environment through the use of special effects make-up.

British teenager Hana Martin is behind one such video. At the start of the 15-second clip, her face and neck are painted a vibrant shade of blue, depicting an ocean teeming with marine life, including fish and a dolphin.

Halfway through the video, the make-up design on her body is replaced by one that shows a sea of toxic waste, rubbish and a giant turtle wrapped in plastic.

The clip has garnered more than 430,000 likes.

Hana, 16, a student from South Wales, said she started producing TikTok videos on climate change less than a month ago. She usually spends about two hours putting on the make-up.

She was inspired by other young people supporting the cause, such as Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who, at age 15, began protests outside the Swedish Parliament about the need for immediate action to fight climate change.

A TikTok video by Hana Martin, who uses make-up effects to drive home the impact of climate change on the ocean and on marine life.PHOTO: ANNA/TIKTOK

"I am conscious that a vast majority of my audience is at an age where they can potentially be influenced by social media," Hana told The Sunday Times.

"I, therefore, wanted to try to influence and educate them as positively as I can on relevant social topics," said the teenager, who has also produced videos on topics such as anti-bullying.

"I feel that younger people are more likely to listen to other younger people, not politicians whom they can't relate to."

Her ocean clip has attracted more than 2,200 comments.

"We need to help out the earth. You could give five minutes of your life to clean up the world," one user commented.

Another pointed out: "Yes we do need to do something but I wish people would make videos on HOW."

While not all comments were positive, Hana is taking the criticism in her stride. She said: "Even the hate I sometimes get can be seen as positive. When someone comments 'global warming isn't real', another will rubbish that theory and it triggers a debate, getting them thinking about the topic. "

Time-lapse videos are also popular among TikTok users spreading the climate change message.

Time-lapse videos are also popular among TikTok users spreading the climate change message.
One such video posted by TikTok user Anna Bogomolova begins with the year 2019, with things looking seemingly rosy. PHOTO: ANNA/ TIKTOK

One such video posted by TikTok user Anna Bogomolova begins with the year 2019, with things looking seemingly rosy. As it progresses, it shows Ms Bogomolova suffering from the impact of climate change, such as rising temperatures. The video ends with the year 3019, with Ms Bogomolova holding a piece of plastic she had coughed up. The clip has attracted 2.3 million likes.

The 21-year-old, who is from Russia but is now studying in London, told the BBC: "Other generations started this problem but we can't say we won't be alive to see the consequences."


The dazzling display of fireworks has always been a highlight of Singapore's National Day Parade (NDP).

It was even more so this year.

The enthusiastic crowd was able to catch the fireworks from not just one but three locations on Friday: the Padang, Marina Bay and the Singapore River.

Many were snapping away, and some shared their best photos with The Straits Times as part of an Instagram campaign, #STndpfireworks.

Love this moment... ☺️ Thank you @jojolau88 so much for sharing this well composed photo with #whatissingapore ・・・ Singapore we Loves 🇸🇬🇸🇬🇸🇬 Stand up for 🇸🇬 Singapore Happy National day 🇸🇬🇸🇬🇸🇬 兴旺发 兴旺发 兴旺发 Prosperous🇸🇬 Singapore Bicentennial Fireworks at @marinabaysands 9th August 2019 Wonderful Birthday party @ ArtScience Museum @ndpeeps @ndpshow #ndp2019 Marina Bay Sands #MarinaBaySands #Artsciencemuseum https://www.bicentennial.sg/about/ @sgbicentennial #singaporebicentennial @ndpeeps #ndp2019 2019 @natgeoasia #smallcamerabigstories #ShowTheFullPicture #kilogrammerz#creativephotogra #meistershots#depthdiscovered#nightshooters #way2ill#createcommune #hubs_united#shotzdelight #creativeoptic#heatercentral#ourmoodydays #weekly_feature#urbanandstreet #Fatalframes10k#DopeClickz#strangertonez #peoplescreatives#jj_forum_2653 @singaporetimes#whatissingapore #whatmakessg#visitsingapore#direstraits Times#stndpfireworks

Civil servant David Sim, 48, was one of them. Mr Sim, who was at the boardwalk outside Marina Bay Sands with his five-year-old son, shared several nice shots captured with his 360-degree camera.

"We've never had the chance to ballot successfully for the NDP tickets, so every year for the last nine years, we would try to catch the NDP proceedings and fireworks from the fringes of the venue," he told The Sunday Times. "This year's fireworks were absolutely stunning, especially the low-flying ones."

Russian Angelika Dotcenko, who shared two pictures taken near the Esplanade using a camera and phone, saw NDP fireworks for the first time. Ms Dotcenko is married to a Singaporean and has been living here for 21/2 years. "It was amazing," said the 27-year-old restaurant manager.

Can't get enough of fireworks? Go to: http://str.sg/stndpfireworks

For NDP pictures and more, follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/straits_times

Have a great National Day and Hari Raya Haji long weekend!


  • COE PRICE: Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices ended higher across the board at the latest tender last Wednesday as a smaller quota kicked in. The COE price for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp, for example, climbed 22.7 per cent to close at $32,725.

    NDP2019: Some 27,000 people gathered at the Padang - where Singapore held its first National Day Parade (NDP) in 1966 - to mark the nation's 54th birthday.

    #LIVNOR: European champions Liverpool handed Norwich City a 4-1 thrashing at Anfield on Friday, starting the new Premier League season with a strong performance.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 11, 2019, with the headline 'TikTok, time's running out on climate change'. Print Edition | Subscribe