Saturday, March 22, 2014

March updates

At the convergence of environmentalism, economics, and politics is the controversy over supporting solar power. Traditionally a party that dismissed environmentalism as a fad and eyed Obama’s administration as one of “solar cronies,” the Republican Party is now turning onto a new, but divisive path. Several conservative leaders and party members now accept and welcome an increase in the development and usage of renewable energy resources, especially solar energy. Big name Republican politicians, including Barry Goldwater Jr., claim themselves to be the “original environmentalists,” who loved the original Western Frontier. Georgia’s Tea Party has even teamed up with the Sierra Club to form the “Green Tea Coalition” just last year.

Traditional conservatives panic at the support the GOP has for policies usually associated with liberals. At the heart of this rather sudden switch are multi-faceted issues of “national security,” fossil fuel spending, and the concept of the free market. Every conservative solar-panel user has different motives for pledging allegiance to the growing solar power movement. Instead of eyeing domestic oil reserves as we noticed our pro-drilling panel members did in our ANWR debate, Republicans like Tom Morrissey, former state party chairman for Arizona, see solar energy as an opportunity to divest from Middle Eastern fossil-fuel related conflicts. The utilities industry is also increasingly seen as “regulated monopolies” controlled by a handful of bureaucrats, not the free market economy that most Republicans advocate. This new, more liberal stance on energy consumption is surprising, but positive as well, in my opinion. If Obama’s administration chooses to campaign for an advancement in renewable energy resources research and usage, perhaps change will happen faster with more Republicans’ support. It’s important we take this political shift in attitudes, driven by economics and foreign policy, and produce real action.

Find the original article here

In other news, SAS, Tanglin Trust School, UWC East, and the International School of Singapore hosted the first local global issues conference last week! It was a definite success  Students from eight schools discussed issues to a number of problems that are prevalent here, ranging from the lack of care for elderly people and preserving the Macritchie rainforest (as opposed to converting it into a trainforest, as one of my friends cleverly put it). Each GANG - Global Action Network Group - presented their Local Action Plans and committed to the carrying out of the plans, with a set timeline. We also hosted three speakers who focused on human trafficking. Check out the photos from the event. More information on each of the action plans will come in once people make progress!  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Apple acknowledges climate change

Sorry about missing a February post! School has been busy - Global Issues Network is hosting a local conference for students islandwide - GINSING2014 - to brainstorm solutions to issues prevalent in Singapore on March 16th. We're also trying to integrate sustainable uniforms, made by Waste 2 Wear, into the school's dress code policy to promote closing the consumer waste cycle. A number of fundraisers, like County Fair at school, have been helping us raise money for our causes. It's been a busy few weeks! I hope the outcomes turn out positively as well. 

This recent article by the Guardian may herald a new wave of corporate sustainability. Apple has declared that it will continue to invest in sustainable energy resources, attempting to "curb its environmental impact" while fighting "the use of minerals mined in the DRC that can fund war and human rights abuses." When multinational corporations start making it clear that they support protecting the planet, I take it as a good sign. Hopefully this will encourage others to take a stand against rising carbon dioxide emissions. Let's hope that Apple sticks to their promises.