Global warming and climate change are some of the most prevalent environmental social issues we face today. In Singapore, temperatures have been rising at an average rate of 0.25°C per decade1 and we have, no doubt, felt the impact of this heat wave. As such, many green initiatives have been put into place to preserve our landscape and foster an eco-friendlier earth. For instance, the World Environment Day is an event created to raise awareness for environmental concerns and inspire action. Held annually since 1974, World Environment Day has grown extremely popular, bringing together millions across the world to engage in protecting the planet.
World Environment Day: A Brief History
Did you know that ‘Only One Earth’ was the first ever theme for World Environment Day? As the initiative grew in prominence, the idea of having a different theme and different host countries annually was established. The different themes help to shed light on and address the slew of environmental social issues we have been facing over the years. These include the depletion of our ozone layer, toxic chemicals and global warming. Just last year, the theme revolved around ‘Ecosystem Restoration’, which touched on developing solutions to aid in the earth’s recovery while being in harmony with nature.
What’s in Store for 2022?
In recent current affairs, 2022 sets a historic milestone for the global environmental community as it marks 50 years since the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1972. This year, World Environment Day will be hosted by Sweden, allowing the country to showcase some of their pioneering work on the environment. In collaboration with the UNEP, Sweden’s innovation portfolio will be shared online via a series of written stories and short videos. Coming back full circle from its first theme in 1974, 2022’s theme is also about ‘Only One Earth’ where its focus centres on empowering more sustainable and greener lifestyles. Interested individuals can sign up2 on the World Environment Day website to receive updates and stay informed!
Singapore’s Future Plans for a Greener World
Environmental social issues affect every country across the world and Singapore is no exception. Should we fail to take action now, the nation’s mean temperature may see an increase from 1.4°C to 4.6°C towards the end of this century3. Rising temperatures are a cause for concern as it negatively influences our water supply, biodiversity and biodiversity, increases our demand for cooling and poses implications for public health. Realising the adverse impacts that climate change entails, our government has implemented the SG Green Plan.
SG Green plan4 is a national movement that empowers and propels more sustainable development in Singapore. It looks towards the future, charting specific targets to achieve positive environmental change. By 2026, Singapore plans to reduce the amount of waste to landfill per capita per day by 20%, develop 130 hectares of new parks and enhance around 170 hectares of existing parks with lusher vegetation and natural landscapes. It does not stop here. As we fast forward into 2030, the waste to landfill per capita will be further reduced to 30% instead of 20% and at least 20% of schools should be carbon neutral. Continuing this environmental progression, 2035 sees the goal of having 1000 hectares of green spaces being integrated. Additionally, the International Maritime Organisation also has plans to reduce greenhouse gases from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050.
Besides government bodies doing their part, several social enterprises in Singapore such as Green Nudge and Secondsguru have rolled out green programmes and campaigns that encourage young volunteers to contribute and advocate for environmental social issues. This shows us that even we, as individuals, have an important role to play when it comes to building sustainability.
Global warming and climate change, now more than ever, demands our attention and rectification. We only have one earth and it is our responsibility to take care of it, not just for ourselves but for generations after. Playing our part can start in small easy steps and every little action makes a difference. Our next article explores how we can take an active role in promoting a greener world, so stay tuned!
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