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Archive for January, 2011

First GreenDrinks session attended just a few hours ago (see Jan 4 post here), and I was frankly overwhelmed with the number of people! Clearly over-capacity, the show went on with a blast. Interactive session was not burdened by poor acoustics, and instead people were shooting out comments, questions and random ideas. Here’s a summary:

Sivasothi aka Otterman went on to give his usual biodiversity speech, aimed at informing the layman that Singapore does have wildlife, more so than one thinks! First on forest cover – that our proudly acclaimed 48% of forest cover is really, broken down into many ‘green spaces’, of which only 0.2% is primary forest. We have leopard cats, banded leaf monkeys (shy and arboreal, unlike the long tailed macaques clearly visible and waiting to pounce on your plastic bag), pangolins (see pangolin conservation issues), wild boars, mousedeer, dugongs (rare), moniter lizards, otters, and then some. Roadkill pictures added to double shock effect on audience who 1. never knew we shared land with these animals, 2. didn’t expect gore. Am leaving them out here.

Mammal sightings? Help us keep a record at mammal.sivasothi.com. No man can work alone in recording all these sightings, and crowd sourcing not only gives a sense of ownership but pride as well! Similarly, the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore – another crowd effort – is still going strong as ever, with 2009’s haul of more than 13 tonnes of waste from our coasts. Most of which, surprisingly or not, turned out to be cigarettes. This event, FYI, happens worldwide annually, and 2010 was the 25th anniversary since the start of the event – and the 20th year for Singapore. Wanna know more? Check here for a site near you, globally.

But what about things going on with the government? Concerned about our precious land use? Well, the URA Concept Plan 2011 is still open and sourcing for feedback, so all you concerned residents in Singapore, do go take a look and give some feedback!

For the biology community out there, it’s heartening to know that after the initiation of Blue Plan 2009 comes the Mega Marine Survey of Singapore. Exciting line-up! Launched by NParks, this mega-project targets mudflats, coral reefs, sea beds and all coastal areas of Singapore! No need for rocket scientists, anyone interested can volunteer to play a part in recognising our biodiversity! Simply click here to register your interest, receive information and take part!

Then came an interesting switch to the Green Corridors proposal, a combined effort between Nature Society Singapore, Singapore Heritage Society, and groups of architects and cycling enthusiasts. Addressing use of land left by the railway track once the railway service relocates to Woodlands, they propose a Green Corridor to enable connection of communities of people and wildlife alike.

Promoting recreation and exercise through appropriate garden and plant cultivation, cycling and pedestrian paths, they also make a case for keeping existing railway tracks for certain parts to preserve heritage, history and at the same time, enable use of clean energy trams as a form of leisure locomotion. Not only a scenic tourist destination, but possible marathon and commuter routes, as they emphasize its potential to serve the 1.2 million people living adjacent to these tracks. Some people have sentimental attachment to these tracks, and others haven’t yet discovered this beautiful treasure of Singapore.

Take a ride from the Tanjong Pagar Railway station to nearby Johor Bahru (remember your passport!) today to enjoy the scenery – and perhaps see for yourself the rail real beauty of these tracks, before the service retires to Woodlands in July 2011. Support the green corridor on facebook! More into twitter? Join here! Not sure what’s really going on with the rails? Read this and this for background.
Lastly, a huge bunch of thanks and appreciation going out to Olivia Choong, who started this whole thing going in Singapore. :D

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It’s mid-January and Annie Ang is back from her impromptu trip to the Tasikoki Wildlife Centre! With the aim of stopping the illegal wildlife trade, the centre was strategically set up in North Sulawesi, the centre and crucial trading point for animals such as the orangutans, tasiers, sunbears, pangolins and even gibbons through the region.

Tasikoki has become part of the Masarang Foundation since 2010 – and you may have heard of MF if you have followed Willie Smits’ websites before. Say who?

Why, Willie Smits is the guy who showed us his efforts in restoring a rainforest! Video here (somehow video couldn’t be embedded).

In October last year I brought Annie and a few other friends to a talk Willie Smits was giving at the National Geographic store in Vivocity – a “Think and Drink” organised by the Singapore International Foundation and Syinc. And what I heard from him astounded me.

His efforts for the past 30 years have been extraordinary – and this man just keeps going, and going. An avid protector of organutans and the forests they live in, he brings to life all kinds of action plans dedicated to resolving the root causes of deforestation, supports local governors and initiatives, and resynthesizes the way people deal with these problems.

Annie met with the man himself – and she’ll have a guest post or two to share her experience on this trip, at the centre and actually seeing all these ‘problems’ we learn in class face to face.

Keep close!

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WOW. Nearly a year since my last post – probably an indicator on how busy things have gotten! However, I’ve also gotten messages via this blog from people, and more than a hundred people read this blog every month – I’m pleasantly surprised and very grateful! Thank you very much, readers – and have a brilliant rest of 2011!

So quickly, some updates: I got back in May last year, and have been doing my final year project ever since. Am also working on another publication with some colleages, hopefully that works out. Grad school awaits when the articles have been published! (:

Pulled together like-minded people yesterday for a ‘green’ meeting yesterday – would have to say it was not only fruitful but also an eye-opener! Will be going for Green Drinks meeting this month for it’s biodiversity double-bill, where one of the speakers is the ever-charming Sivasothi aka otterman!

Green Drinks in a nutshell:
+ non-profit, environmental group
+ connecting and informing
+ targetting community, business, activitists, academia, government
+ informal talks every last Thursday of the month

Started in London, Green Drinks has now spread to more than 710 cities. Great stuff eh! Check out some past green drinks sessions and their speakers here.

They’re treating January as the month of Biodiversity – know anyone who is curious about the green scene in Singapore? How about those who have environmental-business inclinations but don’t have the connections? Need to network but don’t have the platform? Come to Green Drinks and start from there.

Support the local Green Drinks!

More soon.

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