On September 8, just days ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, tens of thousands of people came together for Rise for Climate events and actions in cities and towns around the world. Their joint goal: to build a fossil-free world that puts people and justice before profits. In solidarity with these global actions, Singapore held its own successful event “Singapore Rise for Clean and Green Investment,” bringing together representatives of key NGOs, businesses and concerned local citizens alike.
Next week, the Global Climate Action Summit will take place in San Francisco to gather non-state actors—including every mayor, governor, and local leader in the world—to make a bold climate commitment to help the world reach the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. In a show of peaceful, considered, and devolved horizontal leadership, more than 900 actions in 95 countries and 6 continents took place worldwide supported by 350.org, to Rise for Climate.
In Singapore, people gathered at the Rise for Clean and Green Investment event on 8 September by highlighting the work of local, regional and global efforts. At an event held in Commonwealth, speakers shared a diversity of perspectives centred on fossil fuels, from local efforts to urge banks to divest from coal projects and shift towards sustainable palm oil by local NGO PM.Haze, to Greenpeace’s work in drawing attention to the negative impacts of coal mining in Indonesia, to causes and effects of climate change, speakers created a lively discussion around the whys and hows of shifting beyond current energy uses, to help move our society and economy back within safe planetary boundaries.
Via a live link, Captain Adrian and crew member Sinja of Greenpeace’s Esperanza gave the Singaporean audience a sense of life on the seas and envy of the open waters. This event also marked the launch of the Create for Climate youth art competition, which will connect with youths in Singaporean schools and universities to use their creativity to engage and inspire Southeast Asia’s largest banks to divest from fossil fuels and move towards a clean, green investment portfolio.
The global temperature is rising and extreme weather, with droughts on the one end and floods on the other, is getting more and more common: along with the heatwave in the northern hemisphere this past summer, search and rescue operations in the north and south of Thailand, and concurrent fatal floods in Japan have put East and Southeast Asia’s changing environmental conditions in the spotlight. The earth’s surface and atmosphere form a complex system, but the main driver of climate change is the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as a result of the burning of fossil fuels.
Right now, the annual global temperature is about 1 °C hotter than average and we are already locked into another 0.5 degrees of warming. This may not sound serious, but it has already resulted in devastating impacts across the planet.
The rising temperatures correlate almost exactly with the release of greenhouse gases and an overwhelming 97 per cent of scientists agree that climate change is being caused by human greenhouse gas emissions. 80 per cent of fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground for us to stay below 2 °C of warming. Singaporean volunteer for 350.org Dave Lommen explains: “Scientists have determined that more than 2 degrees of warming will have catastrophic effects. To stay within this limit, the emission of greenhouse gases has to decrease by 7 per cent per year, starting no later than 2020, so the time to act is now!”
Tam Teo, another volunteer for 350.org stresses the need for all to recognise that preserving the stability of our climate is ultimately for our own survival. “The forests will regenerate and the oceans will replenish once humans fade with man-made greenhouse gases, but our extinction as a species will be irreversible.”
“Singapore can play a pivotal role in the solution,” adds Ms. Pey Peixun, Outreach Manager of PM.Haze, which teamed up with 16 other Singaporean NGOs earlier this year with the aim of moving local banks out of coal projects and into sustainable finance. At present, all three major local banks—United Overseas Bank (UOB), Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and DBS Bank are still heavily invested in coal projects, lagging behind countries in the EU, where consumers have more green banking options (such as Triodos etc).
East and Southeast Asia are playing catch-up, with Hong Kong leading the way to tap on expanding Chinese One Belt One Road green investment options. With neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, poised to drive green finance, a regional approach that draws on the renewable energy aspirations of our Southeast Asian neighbours may pivot Singapore for eventual leadership in Asia. “As this year’s leader of ASEAN, Singapore has the opportunity to convince other countries in Southeast Asia to invest in renewable alternatives,” added Pey.
The changes needed to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases require action from companies and governments, which in turn require the buy-in of the public. In support of this, Ms Sarah Ichioka, Director of Desire Lines, a Singapore-based consultancy, announced the Singapore Create for Climate youth art competition. Singaporean residents aged between 12 and 25 years are invited to create artworks using the symbols that have been adopted by a global community of climate artists: an “X” for what we need to put a stop to, and a Sun for the solutions we need.
“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to showcase the talents and aspirations of Singapore’s youth, who will use their creative skills to share positive visions of society’s transition to a clean, green, fossil-free future,” says Ichioka.
She continues: “Inspired by Singapore’s growing green lifestyle movement, and examples from ‘artivists’ around the world, we look forward to the outcomes of this competition engaging and inspiring Southeast Asia’s largest banks—and their customers—to divest from fossil fuels and move towards clean, green investments.” The results of the Singapore Create for Climate youth art competition, to be judged by a diverse panel of accomplished Singaporean artists, architects and cultural critics, will be presented via an online gallery and a public exhibition during The Singapore Eco Film Festival in early November 2018.
For more information or to request interviews, please contact: Ms Tam Teo, 350.org Singapore Volunteer: Phone: +65-91393948; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org About 350.org East Asia: http://world.350.org/east-asia/about-us/
About PM.Haze: http://pmhaze.org/about-us/
About Desire Lines Pte Ltd: http://desire-lines.com
About the Create for Climate Youth Art Competition:
Entry is free, and open to any Singaporean resident aged 12-25 years. Entries may be submitted by
individuals or teams, provided that all team members meet the residency and age requirements. The
original artwork for entries may be created in any medium, but must be submitted digitally, and be able to
be reproduced/displayed as a 2D poster in standard A3 dimensions. All works must incorporate the “X”
for no to fossil fuels and the “Sun” to represent clean, renewable power sources.
The deadline for online submissions is midnight on 15 October 2018. Entries will be judged anonymously. Longlisted entries will be shown in an online gallery, whilst shortlisted entries will be displayed at a public exhibition in central Singapore to coincide with the Singapore Eco Film Festival in November 2018. Winners will receive gift vouchers from art supply emporium Art Friend and recognition at an awards ceremony with members of the jury present. Interested parties can register their interest and request the full competition brief by sending an email stating their full name and NRIC/FIN number to: createforclimateSG@gmail.com
The competition judges are a diverse group of accomplished individuals drawn from across the spectrum
of Singapore’s creative and sustainability industries:
• Ms Olivia Choong, President and Co-founder, Green Drinks (Singapore): http://oliviachoong.com/
• Mr Ernest Goh, Artist, Founder, The Animal Book Co.: http://www.ernestgoh.com/
• Mr Adib Jalal, Co-founder and Director, Shophouse & Co: http://adibjalal.com/ shophouseandco.com
• Mr Deon Phua, Managing Director, TYC Studios / Tell Your Children:
• Ms Ranjana Raghunathan, PhD Candidate, National University of Singapore; Volunteer, AWARE and
• Ms Audrey Tan, Environment Correspondent, The Straits Times:
• Mr Szue Hann Tan, Head of Sustainable Urban Solutions and Principal Architect, Surbana Jurong:
• Mr Jason Wee, Artist, Founder and Director, Grey Projects: https://theartling.com/en/artists/jason-wee/
• Ms Sarah Ichioka, Director, Desire Lines (non-voting competition curator): www.sarahichioka.com
Competition details will be updated regularly at: https://createforclimate.blogspot.com/