Singapore is proudly known as The Garden City by its citizens. The nickname makes every bit of sense – the city is investing in environmental-friendly projects and is committed to sustainability.

Gardens by the Bay

What comes to one’s mind when one hears of Singapore? Many would say a high-tech, advanced city-state with a dense population and a praiseworthy economic performance. But there’s much more to one of the most innovative communities of the Eastern world as indeed Singapore has been investing heavily in sustainability, green projects and innovative policies – a long-term commitment that should serve as an example for other countries to follow.

There are three fields where the city stands out when it comes to green innovation: urban planning, water management and clean energy. It’s all connected – green buildings, mandatory since 2008, help people to save water, cool temperatures down naturally and improve the quality of the air. They also provide healthier, open spaces for adults and children.

In urban planning, for example, Singapore has set a rule for new developments in the Marina Bay area whereby developers must comply with a 100% greenery replacement policy. It’s also in the same area that the city has created one of the largest freshwater reservoirs in the world and set aside a 250 acres of green area named Gardens by the Bay. Many public buildings have now their own green terraces. Connected with one another, they make jogging tracks up in the sky!

The city aims to attain by 2030 a 80% score in the environmental performance rating called Green Mark, reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption. In Marina Bay, visitors can find Supertrees which collect solar energy by day and by night perform a beautiful light show. Singapore has also an electric car project called Eva Taxi, a collaborative project developed by the local university that will transform public transportation while saving energy.

Regarding water management, Singapore has invested in the reuse of reclaimed water, rainwater collection system and dessalination. Committed to building a water-conscious society, the city has won many prizes for its efforts on public and private management of water and is considered as a benchmakr in the use of innovation in the sustainable use of water.

The host city of SIGEF 2018 is on the frontline of innovation for good!

Back in the 1990s, environmental journalism was a brave choice – a relatively new, complicated topic that has only started to engage the global audience, while many broadcasters and newspapers were not yet convinced it was an issue of public interest. Despite all the odds, Mark Kinver decided to pursue the career, and never looked back. The environmental journalist has been working for BBC News for more than 17 years and is always inspired by trees, as much as by people and the mission to report the truth.

Horyou blog is happy to inaugurate the «Changemakers» interview series with Mark Kinver!

Kinver: «People do care about environment»

When and why did you start covering environmental issues?

I started reporting on environmental issues back in the late 1990s. I had always been interested in politics but I became a bit dismayed with the seemingly petty nature of disputes within political parties and within the mechanics of the party political process. I did not want to follow a career in an arena which left me feeling somewhat disenchanted. So I looked around for an issue/topic that I could focus on. The environment had always been a central part of my life. As a youngster, I either spent my time on moorland or beaches, and I loved trees (still do!). I have not looked back since then and have reported on environmental stories all over the world.

In the last few years, environmental issues have been gathering more global attention and making daily headlines. Are you optimistic about the public awareness of these topics?

Yes. People do care about environmental issues. Whether it is about the energy they use, the transport that takes them from A to B, the food they eat, or the plight of threatened species. What environmentally focused organisations and individuals need to remember is that people do care. However, they also care about keeping a roof over their heads and putting food on the table. It may not be the top priority for most people but it is still an issue. Give people facts and they will act. Give people emotion and they will become suspicious.

More often than not, environmental coverage touches on social issues. How to raise the public’s attention to the interconnectivity between the environment and society?

Avoid buzzwords and concepts like interconnectivity and interdependency etc. People just need to become aware of the relationship their have with the land around them. This will take time, and a big question is whether we have enough time left to make us all a sustainable species. I remain hopeful that we will forge a closer relationship with the planet and the means of how it sustains us.

Who inspires you in your work?

People on the front line. Farmers, scientists, business people, etc. They have to face real-world problems on a day-to-day basis, and they have to find the best solution they can. More and more of them are putting environmental considerations centre stage.

What will be your main focus in 2018?

Apart from trees (!) I think food security is going to be an issue we are going to hear more and more about. While there will be a focus on the food supply chains, we will also hear much more about nutrition security – in industrialised economies, experts are concerned that too much sugar and fat is being consumed. This concern will manifest itself in various guises, such as proposed economic instruments, public awareness campaigns and an increase in consumer awareness.

Action 1 - Togo women

Each day we see the wonderful work of our Members, Personalities and Organizations on the Horyou platform. They are always Ready to Act! This week, we highlight the work and actions of great Organizations representing different latitudes: Guatemala, Peru and Togo.

Stay tuned for more!

by Amma Aburam

MJDF – Independence of Women through Agriculture in Togo

The Association from Benin – MJDF- Movement des Jeunes pour un development du Future (Youth Movement for Future Development) – is raising funds for a worth while project. The idea is to support and give independence to the groups of women in the Lègbassito, Togo whose main activities are agricultural, mainly pineapple farming. These women intend to improve socio – economic conditions, to promote production, develop the transformation of agricultural products and protect the environment. With the help of the MJDF association they will be able to raise funds to do so.

Check it out and support them here

Action 2 - Huertos urbanos

Centro de Artes de la Humanidad – Los Huertos Urbanos

El Centro de Artes de la Humanidad quiere crear huertos urbanos comunitarios en el barrio Mangomarca, ubicado en el distrito más poblado de Lima en Perú. El objetivo es rescatar la técnica ancestral de cultivos en andenes. Este sistema permite ahorrar espacio, densificar los cultivos y asegurar un riego por gravedad. El cultivo productivo de frutas y hortalizas, se hará de forma colectiva en la comunidad, con la población interesada en aprender técnicas de agricultura urbana para así compartir la cosecha entre los participantes. Con el tiempo, buscamos fortalecer esta actividad para poder comercializar canastas de productos a un precio justo y lanzar una economía local solidaria basada en el principio de productor-consumidor, sin intermediario. Lo anterior permitirá reducir la huella ambiental y tejer un mercado local de productos biológicos, sanos y de temporada.

Descubrir la acción aquí

Action 3 - Guatemala

Une belle aventure au Guatemala avec l’association Chico Mendes

Luc Brochard part à l’aventure au Guatemala pour l’association Chico Mendes. Le but de cette aventure? Former les locaux de l’association aux techniques de cordes pour arbres afin qu’ils puissent développer des activités autours a but lucratives et améliorer les programmes de replantation. Avec Armando, membre de l’association et leader du projet, Luc découvre à travers lui l’émergence d’une conscience environnementale au Guatemala a l’encontre de la déforestation évidente dans le pays.

Découvrez cette belle action ici

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