top of page
  • Writer's picturesgclimaterally

[SGCR Bimonthly Theme] Return

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

Petrochemical refineries sitting on reclaimed islands form an archipelago amidst an ocean of moving currents. Currents form the word, “return”. The smokestacks and factories on the islands are distended and discoloured. Discombobulated debris from smokestacks are found along the ocean’s currents. Green seedlings sprout all over the reclaimed land and industrial debris, while sand sinks into the deep waters, returning back to the ocean floor.

This year, SGCR is trying out something new with bimonthly themes, in the spirit of connecting different social issues together with the climate crisis, and creating a culture of learning and sharing with one another. For January and February, our theme is “Return”. We will look at our histories of imperialism and colonialism as they continue to imperil us and our relationships with the environment. Return also means grappling with how questions of reparations and decolonisation relate to climate advocacy.

We have gathered contributions from SGCR members and guest contributors to reflect on the themes below, including:

The climate crisis is inextricably linked to colonialism and imperialism. When Stamford Raffles of the British East India Company arrived in Singapura in 1819, he ushered in an era of unprecedented environmental degradation.

At last year's People in Crisis rally, Firdaus from Orang Laut SG shared about how indigenous history and knowledge should play a part in the green transition.


Throughout Singapore’s post-independence history, our society has had a complicated and even strained relationship with the notion of activism and protest. To many, people power is a foreign, almost abstract notion at best – a novel phenomenon that only happens “elsewhere”, far from the comfort of our apparently docile and compliant world. But what if people power and collective unity can take on – and, historically, has taken on – a persona far from what we’ve stereotyped them to be?

By guest contributor Varsha S Kumar

India has set goals to increase forest cover and restore degraded land in the next few years as part of its sustainability initiatives. But how much of this is possible without involving the people who have been managing forests for thousands of years?

The fall of Singapore to the Japanese in 1942 is largely remembered today in militaristic and material terms. What receives less attention is the ideological dimensions of Singapore society in the lead up to the British defeat.


bottom of page