Tuesday, January 31, 2012

S'poreans Hyperconsume Resources at "3 Earths"

Yhoo News SG published a startling article after i published my blogpost yesterday. 3 Earths. Shocking? Actually is not when you consider that shopping malls are sprouting up everywhere like weeds.

1 sinkie=33 africans. Yes, that's the ridiculous rate an average sinkie consume resources. Hyperconsumption is toxic to Mother Earth.

Sales sign are spammed in so many places in malls. Cheap, cheap, cheap they scream. Let's take an example to illustrate the temptation to overconsume: Dealextreme.com If you have bought stuff from dx i'm sure u can feel temptation to buy more since so cheap despite the quality is not as good for some products.

This whole climate crisis can essentially boil down to same temptation you feel at dx. When technology make something cheap like Henry Ford make cars easily affordable to masses-people consume like crazy. Even if we cut umbilical cord with fossil fuels which CO2 is the main source of the warming, newer & better tech which make things cheaper & better will not solve the problem. There can be no technology fix for flawed human values; we have to change the values. Core problem is flawed human habit/thinking on consuming non-renewable resources at unsustainable rate.

Until we adopt a new mindset & close the loop on wanton consumption & waste, the old problem will still resurface.

I'm been hammering these issues on living a simpler life, be frugal etc ever since this blog started. The yahoo news article below is a great ally in waking the sleeping masses up.

‘Engineering solutions won't help Singapore's flood problem’
By Fann Sim

Flash floods are going be the norm for Singapore & "no amount of brilliant engineering can resolve that problem," said Dr Chris Hails, chairman of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore.

Hails said that the flash floods are here to stay due to climate changes happening around the world.

"If the (rain) is coming down too fast & the sea is rising, the water's got nowhere to go," said Hails, who was environment advisor to the Ministry of National Development (MND) in the 80s.

Hails was speaking on Monday at the launch of a new map showing the physical impacts in Southeast Asia if climate change leads to a temperature rise of 4 degree Celsius.

Possible impacts of climate change that Singapore is going to face includes increased frequency of flash floods, urban heat island effect & a greater risk of pollution-related health problems. These climate change consequences are non-exclusive & problems such as forest fires in Borneo & threatened rice yields in Thailand could very well affect Singapore drastically.

There is also a possibility of some parts of Singapore may be submerged by 2100, as sea-levels are predicted to rise by a knee-high 65cm, added Hails.

“Major issues are the change in the weather -- it's going to be warmer & wetter. Singapore is very close to sea level & as the planet warms, sea levels are going to rise due to the thermal expansion of sea water, also as polar ice caps melt,” he said.

“So you imagine, it's going to rain more, sea levels are going to rise & it's going to get hotter & it is squeezing Singapore,” he added.

1 way of improving the situation is to change how Singaporeans consume resources. Based on a WWF study, humans are consuming Earth's resources at the rate of 1.5 Earths. Singaporeans are at 3 Earths.

In terms of ecological footprint, a measure of human’s demand on nature, the footprint of an average Singaporean equates to 33 Africans.

On Monday, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) announced that it will carry out a $750-million plan to mitigate the flood problems. Over the next 5 years, the board plans to improve drainage capacity of 6 major canals & introduce a polymer lining to smoothen canal walls.

Government is also planning to build a 15km long stretch of beach to fight rising sea levels & high tides, reported Reuters last Friday.

Minister for the Environment & Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan told Reuters that the government is keen to do its part in any global fight against climate change & that pushing for greater energy efficiency made sense anyway in a country with virtually no natural resources.

Balakrishnan added that, “What we want is a level playing field & unilateral moves are not feasible, not possible, for a small, tiny island state that actually is not going to make a real difference at a global level to greenhouse gases.”

While Singapore is a small island & could have little effect on improving the situation, Hails believes that Singapore could play an important diplomatic role there in brokering those deals on a global basis because it is going to impact Singapore.

No comments:

Post a Comment