Tuesday, October 29, 2013

SAS Solar Launch

On Saturday, SAS hosted the Solar Launch of its 3,356 panel photo-voltaic system! High school and Middle School GIN collaborated with each other for over a month and the result: success. We had Singaporean members of parliament attend, as well as the new American ambassador and our own superintendent at the venue. Elementary school kids dressed up as suns to greet guests, middle school students created videos, held tours all day with high school club members' help, and teachers, staff, parents were present too.  I love events like these because they really gather and demonstrate community support, awareness, and action; and it's one of the reasons I'm using SAS as a case study in my Capstone report. 

Here are some videos featured during the Solar Launch: 

Next week, I'll be going to pristine Tioman Island with my AP Environmental Science class and then Beijing for our annual GIN conference! I've heard that the section of Pulau Tioman we will be staying in is almost untouched by humans and previous years' classes have seen baby sharks; I can't wait to experience living in the real tropical rain forest! I always wonder what Singapore would have looked like 200 years ago and this is my chance to go see it live. The GIN conference is bound to be charged with energy. SAS is taking 20 students, each in a different "Global Action Network Group (GANG)." I'll be a part of the biodiversity and ecosystems group and I hope to be able to take my knowledge from Tioman to Beijing. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Climate change strikes again

Pacific islanders are facing difficulties with rising sea levels already. 

BBC just published an article (found here) about a man seeking "climate change asylum" in New Zealand as his home, the Kiribati atolls are severely affected by rising sea levels. Earlier this year, he was denied asylum with the claim that his life was not threatened by conditions in Kiribati. But he's still fighting; decisions will be released in the next couple of weeks. 

While government officials in Kiribati are doing their best to buy land from Fiji and mitigate possible disasters in the near future, it is evident that climate change is causing major problems worldwide, for everyone. 

I imagine that in the next couple of years, cases like these will become a lot more common. What will governments decide to do? Will there be a universal code of acceptance (hopefully not shunning) of those who have lost their homes due to all of our irresponsible actions? 

There have been attempts to raise awareness and persuade the world to empathize with climate change refugees. In 2010, filmmaker Michael Nash produced a documentary named "Climate Refugees," hoping to bring attention to the perilous effects of climate change on people. He asks, in the trailer, "How long is man going to survive on this beautiful planet?" The question goes seamlessly well with what we're discussing in AP Environmental Science right now: the ability of the rapidly changing planet and environment to accommodate more people.

I will be watching this documentary this weekend and I encourage you to as well. I hope to organize a screening of "Climate Refugees" at school soon. 

For me, such incidents really bring out the importance of individual understanding and care. Climate change is a global phenomenon, concerning all 7 billion people; Nash's documentary is what we need to connect with each other. 

Because until the carbon dioxide levels do drop to 350 parts per million, human compassion is all we have to help each other.