IMPACT 0329: CHAMPIONING BIODIVERSITY IN OUR GARDEN CITY
My name is Karl Png, a 24-year-old undergraduate studying Life Sciences at the National University of Singapore. Growing up in the “City in Nature”, Singapore, I fell in love with wildlife as a boy and my and since then, my nature journey has been an exciting one. I research plant ecology and advocate for biodiversity conservation through my work as a Singapore Youth Biodiversity Leader.
At the Singapore Youth Voices for Biodiversity, we have engaged with at least a few hundred youths in biodiversity conservation since 2019. We started from a core team of four young people and a few mentors, and currently have nine members in our informal group. Our main aim is to empower young people in the decision-making processes for biodiversity, ranging from wildlife issues to transformative education. We also organise talks, produce bite-sized infographics to explain the latest biodiversity happenings and collaborate with many other environmental groups.
Under the Global Youth Biodiversity Network, we are the Singapore chapter. At the 2020 United Nations biodiversity meeting in Rome, the network consolidated views from our engagements with other young people around the world and presented them at the event. I was very nervous when I had to speak in front of many world leaders on including transformative education in the 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
I started as a nature volunteer in Junior College, and because it is such a niche thing to do, I have had to constantly search for opportunities to learn and advocate for biodiversity, including travelling across Southeast Asia to find out about what other youths do for biodiversity to bring those lessons home.
My current goal is to train younger people in Singapore to be their own biodiversity leaders within local organisations and communities. This includes tree planting, giving talks, and organising gatherings.
However, nothing beats going out into the field to look for mushrooms and plants. For my Final Year Project, I am investigating the relationship between flora and fungi. My favourite pastime has been travelling to nature parks and reserves by myself and observing the wildlife. This has also allowed me to become a nature guide too! Ultimately, I hope to create a better world for all, so that we may have a rich biodiversity landscape in the future!