An Urgent Call from Singaporean Youths on the Environmental Crisis
Joint Statement co-authored by 16 Singaporean youths and organisations, and supported by 93 individuals and 75 organisations/entities
It has been two years since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong first acknowledged that climate change is a “life and death” issue. In those two years, however, the climate crisis and biodiversity loss have continued to exacerbate. Today, on 5 Nov 2021, designated as Youth Day at COP26, we reflect on Singapore’s progress in climate action. While we acknowledge that the government has released various initiatives and made progress on various environmental issues over the years, we know that our actions are still not yet where they need to be.
In a world ravaged by ecological loss and human-caused devastation, we must ask ourselves what more we can be doing for our home, and for this planet. If we truly want our “children and our grandchildren” to inherit a liveable future, just as PM Lee said, Singapore must and can do more.
It is undeniable that climate change and biodiversity loss are existential crises with far-reaching and world-changing consequences. But moments like this one also give us an opportunity to reflect on the values we want to hold on to, and the world we want to leave behind for our future generations. Singapore aims to honour the values of justice and equality. This means that our approach to mitigating the climate crisis must logically be rooted in these same values. We must ask ourselves: Are we truly doing enough? What is Singapore’s responsibility to our regional neighbours? What does an equal, just and inclusive climate-resilient Singapore look like?
Our sentiments in this statement are guided by these questions. Representing the voices of concerned youths, we set out key recommendations across six topics (emissions and carbon, nature and biodiversity, energy, corporate responsibility and finance, community empowerment and inclusion, economy and people) that we want to see greater action on. This is an unprecedented initiative, with environmental and climate youth organisations across varied interests coming together to collaborate for the first time.
This statement is also a call to connect with people who believe in a liveable future for Singapore. While a core set of individuals and organisations have come together to draft these recommendations, we hope that more groups and more people can join us in finding common ground to advance these goals. Even though we may differ on particular topics, the values that drive our advocacy are the same.
Since this is truly “one of the gravest challenges facing humankind,” we want to be a part of this conversation. We are highly aware that this is an issue with many trade-offs. As such, given the scale of the climate crisis, we want our decisions and choices to be more open and transparent. This is a matter that affects all of us, especially our generation and the ones to come. It is only right then, that we should be recognised as equal partners. We want to have a part in the choices Singapore ultimately makes.
COP 26 has been hailed as the world's best last chance to limit catastrophic climate change. As countries reckon with our collective future in Glasgow this month, we call on our leaders to boldly accelerate climate action, to redefine our relationships with nature, and to bring everyday Singaporeans, especially the younger generations, into the conversation.
We only have 9 years left to prevent irreversible climate change impacts. In this statement, we want to give Singapore a chance for a liveable future. We hope that whoever is reading this will seriously consider our recommendations.
And we call for individuals, organizations and leaders who care about giving us a liveable future, to stand with us too.
(The public can submit their support interest here: tinyurl.com/isupportsgyouthcop26)
This statement is co-authored by:
Firdaus Sani, indigenous culture and environmental advocate
Gao Yiming, Founder of Student Energy NUS and Masters in Renewable Energy
Ho Xiang Tian, slipper wearing co-founder of LepakInSG
Karl Png, aspiring botanist
Pavarne Shantti, marine biologist
Quek Chui Qing, sandal wearing biodiversity enthusiast
Sam Shu Qin, ocean conservation advocate
Shawn Ang, environmental science student and climate advocate
Shivram Anusha, aspiring wildlife conservationist
Woo Qiyun, environmental communicator
Orang Laut SG
SG Climate Rally
Student Energy National University of Singaporewith
This statement is supported by 93 individuals and 75 organizations and entities.
See the detailed recommendations, full list of supporters and relevant disclaimers at this link.