Is The SG Green Plan 2030 Bold Enough - What More Can We Do (Session 3 – 26 October 2021)
This conversation organised by the National Youth Council (NYC) was held on 26 October 2021 via Zoom, involving 84 youths from 7 universities – National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), and Singapore Institute of Management (SIM).
The conversation also involved the following Political Office Holder and invited speakers:
- Mr Alvin Tan – Minister of State (MOS) of Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry
- Ms Melissa Low – NYC Council Member and Research Fellow at the Energy Studies Institute, NUS
- Ms Nor Lastrina Hamid – Singapore Youth for Climate Action Co-Founder
- Dr Tricia Seow – Senior Lecturer & Assistant Head, Humanities and Social Studies Education, National Institute of Education
- Ms Danielle Zheng – Deputy Director, Environment Policy, Ministry of Sustainability and Environment
- Ms Eleanor Koh – Assistant Director, Environment Policy, Ministry of Sustainability and Environment
Here are the key insights of the conversation raised by the participants:
Green Plan Pillar ‘City in Nature’:
Growing our connection to nature
- Repurposing and refurbishing existing spaces to meet housing demands – Participants asked the Government to consider redeveloping existing low-density locations, especially those in the Central Region, to meet housing demands, as opposed to clearing more green spaces. Youths said that there are many under-utilised spaces that could be transformed into integrated lifestyle hubs.
- Learning to coexist harmoniously with nature and wildlife – Participants said that there had been more wild animal sightings closer to home as Singapore progressed into a city in nature. They called for more awareness among urbanised Singaporeans on how to coexist with nature and wildlife.
Green Plan Pillar ‘Sustainable Living’:
Strengthening green citizenry
- More awareness on sustainable living – Participants called for greater outreach efforts by the Government to educate the public and the young on the urgency for sustainable living. They suggested incorporating innovative means such as gamification and scoring systems to incentivise Singaporeans to be more environmentally conscious.
- Desire for stronger top-down approaches – Participants acknowledged that while individuals played an important role in encouraging sustainability, it was crucial for more top-down directives to enforce sustainable initiatives, such as by having compelling businesses adopt sustainable packaging practices.
- Making sustainable living the status quo – Participants said behavioural changes in Singaporeans were required to reduce Singapore’s waste generation. They called for more efforts from the Government and businesses to imbue environmental responsibility into society to normalise sustainable living practices.
Green Plan Pillar ‘Energy Reset’:
Roadblocks in switching to green energy
- Perceived lack of infrastructure and awareness – Participants said that Singaporeans were currently apprehensive about switching to electric vehicles due to poor awareness of the capabilities of electric vehicles, and a perceived lack of charging points.
- Challenges in shifting towards active mobility – Participants said that active mobility in the form of walking and cycling were not practical in Singapore due to considerations such as the hot weather. They suggested that cycling infrastructure could be improved by dedicating cycling-only lanes for safety.
Green Plan Pillar ‘Green Economy’:
Building our competitive advantage in sustainability
- Increasing the awareness and appeal of green jobs – To increase movement into green jobs, participants suggested that schools could create more awareness of educational pathways leading to green sectors, and monetary incentives to elevate the appeal of these jobs.
- A green economy is good for business – Participants said that businesses should be made accountable for their impact on the environment, as they had the ability to create public messaging to increase individuals’ agency to address climate change. They said that smaller companies should not be excluded, and called for such companies to receive more support in their sustainability endeavours.
Green Plan Pillar ‘Resilient Future’:
Preserving our way of life
- Repurposing existing spaces – Participants suggested ways to utilise existing spaces to meet the increased demand for green spaces, such as by utilising open-air car parks as green areas. In turn, underground spaces could be repurposed for car parks.
- Educating the wider community – Participants emphasised the importance of bringing conversations on sustainability into institutions, workplaces and homes to encourage all Singaporeans to join the nation’s sustainability journey.
- Encouraging demand and supply of local produce – Participants called for more incentives to encourage Singaporeans to buy more local produce, as well as the enhancement of farming technology to boost local food production to achieve greater self-sufficiency and food security.