Zaobao National Day 2020 Feature

提醒国人 动植物也是岛国一分子

★Cicada Tree Eco-Place

创于:2006年

受众群体:5至85岁,主要针对年轻群体。

宗旨:介绍本地生物的多样化,教育公众保护环境的重要性。

只要生活在地球上,地球变暖和海平面上升等环境问题对任何人,无论种族、宗教或语言都有直接的影响。环境问题仿佛一条线,将背景各异的人们联系在一起。

环境课题近几年来备受关注,尤其在年轻群体中。16岁的瑞典环保主义者格蕾塔·通贝里(Greta Thunberg)是最典型的例子。本地也有不少年轻人参与环境组织,为大自然发声。杨志豪(26岁,摄影师)去年为了做一个关于人类和环境之间的冲突的毕业专题作业,发现自然环境教育组织Cicada Tree Eco-Place。

Cicada Tree Eco-Place将心系环境课题的新加坡人,不分种族或宗教,都聚在一起。(受访者提供)
Cicada Tree Eco-Place将心系环境课题的新加坡人,不分种族或宗教,都聚在一起。(受访者提供)

Cicada Tree Eco-Place成立于2006年,旨在介绍本地生物的多样化,教育公众保护环境的重要性。该组织每年举办多项适合一家大小参与的活动,包括露营、大自然徒步等。受众年龄介于5至85岁。组织也会在官方网页发表和环境相关的文章。

修读传媒专业的杨志豪认为,新闻报道往往会平衡各方面的观点,“但大自然不能为自己发声,声音往往被忽略。相比保护环境,人类对大自然的伤害更是不成比例的。”杨志豪因为想继续为大自然发声,他完成毕业专题作业后,继续待在Cicada Tree Eco-Place。他目前负责拍照、设计组织网页,以及管理社交平台。

赵琴音(左)和杨志豪认为,环境课题能够将背景各异的国人聚在一起。
赵琴音(左)和杨志豪认为,环境课题能够将背景各异的国人聚在一起。

Cicada Tree Eco-Place目前有十多名活跃成员,包括创办人赵琴音(57岁)在内都不是全职员工。赵琴音认为,Cicada Tree Eco-Place将关注环境课题的人聚在一起。她说:“想和另四名朋友一起创立Cicada Tree Eco-Place是因为人类对环境已经造成非常严重的破坏。人们不能停留在知道地球已病危,必须通过实际行动,减少对环境的伤害。”

让孩子先认识大自然

赵琴音自幼在甘榜长大。她怀念小时候和大自然靠得很近的生活。
赵琴音自幼在甘榜长大。她怀念小时候和大自然靠得很近的生活。

赵琴音认为,从小在甘榜里生活让她对环境有很深的认识和热爱。“我们一群人住在甘榜会一起爬树、养鸡,与大自然生活得非常靠近。现在的孩子反而很少有机会靠近大自然。”赵琴音认为,父母应多让小朋友沉浸在绿意中,“先认识大自然的魅力,才会喜欢它,愿意为保护环境出一分力。”

家庭主妇李慧丽(42岁)就于2019年带着儿子黄纬喆(12岁,学生)参与由Cicada Tree Eco-Place举办的一项到乌敏岛观鸟和种树的活动。李慧丽受访时说:“让孩子有机会接触大自然非常重要。过程中,孩子会意识到保护环境的重要性。”她举例说,儿子有次提醒她带塑料盒去打包食物,“他对环保的意识让我非常欣慰。”

李慧丽(左)和儿子黄纬喆一起到大自然里活动,除了认识到保护环境的重要性,也促进亲子关系。(受访者提供)
李慧丽(左)和儿子黄纬喆一起到大自然里活动,除了认识到保护环境的重要性,也促进亲子关系。(受访者提供)

问黄纬喆乌敏岛的活动哪个环节让他印象最深刻,他回答:“我最喜欢种树,因为可以玩泥巴!”但黄纬喆说,同龄的朋友未必喜欢到大自然去。“有些人怕肮脏,一些则不喜欢被蚊子叮,或担心中暑。”但黄纬喆认为,能够和家人一起沉浸在大自然里不仅可以放松身心,还能够促进亲子关系。他鼓励家长在疫情过后多带孩子到大自然里走走,从小培养孩子对大自然的喜爱。

黄纬喆参与Cicada Tree Eco-Place的活动,到乌敏岛种树投入大自然里。(受访者提供)
黄纬喆参与Cicada Tree Eco-Place的活动,到乌敏岛种树投入大自然里。(受访者提供)

另一名家庭主妇拉迪亚(Radiah Rizal,36岁)则于2018年首次带三名女儿参与“Love our MacRitchie Forest”大自然徒步活动。她感叹:“以前住在甘榜,周围都是花草树木。但从前的绿意已被今天的组屋取代。”她认为,小孩子参与Cicada Tree Eco-Place举办的活动后能更明白保护环境的重要性。“我的女儿最近制作了一些海报送给学校的朋友,希望帮助同学认识本地的自然遗产,积极保护环境。”

拉迪亚(右一)认为,人类对环境的破坏是个棘手的问题,她鼓励家长多带孩子到绿意中认识大自然。(受访者提供)
拉迪亚(右一)认为,人类对环境的破坏是个棘手的问题,她鼓励家长多带孩子到绿意中认识大自然。(受访者提供)

当越来越多的新加坡人心系环境课题,愿意为保护本地的生物多样化和环境出一分力——这或许是让Cicada Tree Eco-Place团队最感欣慰的事。赵琴音指出,地球正面临全新世灭绝事(Holocene Extinction),“如果人们不再下意识地保护环境,本地一些濒临绝种的动植物,如印度尼西亚叶猴(Raffles’ Banded Langur)有天可能从世上消失。”

在我国濒临绝种的印度尼西亚叶猴。(档案照)
在我国濒临绝种的印度尼西亚叶猴。(档案照)

赵琴音希望,国人在欢庆新加坡55岁生日之际,别忘了本地的野生动植物也是新加坡的一分子,是我国重要的自然遗产。“但愿45年后,当我们庆祝新加坡100岁生日时,我国的自然生态会比今天丰富。

Source: Zaobao

[Nature & Culture] On the Trail of Haw Par Villa and Malayan Tiger Heritage

by Teresa Teo Guttensohn
with contributions from Journeys Pte Ltd

29 July is Global Tiger Day. This article is dedicated to the Malayan Tiger, now extinct in Singapore. It honours the last 200 wild Malayan Tigers fighting for survival in the jungles of Malaysia. Can we save this living emblem of Singapore and Malaysia before it’s too late?

“In this new world: a presentation of “regarding” by Madeleine Lee”, featuring “Boschbrand” (Forest Fire), 1849, Oil on canvas, Raden Saleh (b.1811 – d.1880, Indonesia). Collection of National Gallery, Singapore. The performance responded to Saleh’s monumental painting – a dramatic representation of tigers and wild animals chased by flames to the edge of a precipice set in Java. PHOTO: 2019, Teresa Teo Guttensohn
Raden Saleh’s 171-year-old artwork seems prescient as the haze crisis from burning fires caused by land clearing on oil palm plantations have plagued the region and killed countless wildlife in recent decades. PHOTO: 2019, Teresa Teo Guttensohn

A Powerful Asian Symbol

Throughout history and across many cultures, no animal has inspired as much awe as the largest wild cat on the planet, the majestic Tiger (Panthera tigris).

In Asian art and mythology, this impressive feline is a powerful symbolic animal that is feared, admired and glorified. Unsurprisingly, the endangered tiger is regarded as exotic, charismatic and the most popular animal in the world.

Reclining tiger, Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period (475-221 B.C.). Originally a lid ornament on a very large vessel, this tiger demonstrates a vivid naturalism that reflects the influence of ‘animal style’ art created by nomadic cultures of the northern steppes. Description by Metropolitan Museum of Art. PHOTO: 2020, Bronze replica from the private collection of Teresa Teo Guttensohn

Winners of the Endangered Species Kids Poster Design Contest

Dear eco-warriors, thank you for your beautiful designs in the inaugural Endangered Species Kids Poster Design Contest.

At Cicada Tree Eco-Place, we believe that nature and culture are intertwined and people must play an active role in conserving the natural world.

Thank you for loving nature and please continue sharing this passion and knowledge with as many friends – together, we can make a difference!

Our team truly enjoyed viewing your creations, and we applaud all your efforts! After careful deliberation, we are happy to announce the winners:

Age 9-11yrs Category

Top 3 winners will receive a one-year free family membership at Nature Society (Singapore) worth $75 and a book prize. We will get in touch shortly on how you will receive your prize!

Raffles Banded Langur by
Han Jia Qian, 11, Keming Primary School
“I chose this vulnerable animal as it is rare and unique to Singapore. Their homes were destroyed to make space for houses and MRTs. We should build more rope bridges to help them cross our roads. “
Sunda Slow Loris by
Juliette Eve Phang, 11, Hong Wen School
“I hope this heartwarming image will appeal to people
and let them know that anyone and everyone can play a
part in saving this beautiful animal so it does not join
the list of extinct animals and disappear forever.”
Red Giant Flying Squirrel and White-Bellied Woodpecker by
Aryn Tan, 11, Henry Park Primary School
“I drew an excavator cutting down trees to show how
their homes are being destroyed by human beings.”

Age 6-8yrs Category

Top 3 winners will receive a $50 book voucher and a book prize. We will get in touch shortly on how you will receive your prize!

Singapore Durian, Singapore Kopsia, Kerinting , Bulbophylium by
Aashvi Muraka, 6, Montessori for Children
“Aashvi often hugs trees, saying they are lonely
as they stand alone throughout the night and day.
We wanted to emphasise that without plants,
there is no life and without life there is no ‘us’.”
White-Bellied Woodpecker by
Amaira Sharma, 8, Invictus International School
“This woodpecker pecks on dead trees.
I think it is very clever as it should be home
to many kinds of tasty delicious bugs.
Every living thing deserves a chance no
matter how big or small it is.”
Singapore Dendrobium, Monitor Lizard Fern, Singapore Freshwater Crab, Singapore Black Caecilian, White-Bellied Woodpecker, Raffles Banded Langur by
Jayna Tan Zi Ning, 8 CHIJ Toa Payoh Primary School
“We need to protect endangered animals and plants because it is important for humans.
A well-balanced ecosystem purifies the environment, giving us clean air to breathe,
a healthy water system to support diverse marine life and arable land
for agricultural production. When ecosystems fail, our own health is at risk.”

Commendable

To thank you for participating and encourage more young eco-warriors, these commendable entries will be awarded a book prize as well. We will get in touch shortly on how you will receive your prize!

Keep up the good work and continue learning about the natural world and Singapore’s precious native wildlife!

View the entries below (click to enlarge):

Hard Talk with Educator & Vegan Activist, Dr George Jacobs, on COVID-19 Aftermath

Interview by Teresa Teo Guttensohn

We hear from Dr George Jacobs, on his takeaways from the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic challenges and its aftermath.

This is the final segment of a three-part interview series on COVID-19.

Q: What is your take on life in the time of COVID-19?
GJ: I way underestimated COVID-19. I thought it would be gone fairly quickly like SARS, or not very impactful like a worse-than-average version of the annual flu. Wow – was I wrong! And, it seems like COVID-19 actually is rather minor as to the death rate compared to the viruses that may be coming next. Scary.

Here’s a 1min 10sec video I made about that fear:

Q: What did you experience during the lock-down?
GJ: In some weird ways, the lock-down was a kind of warped wish come true. Things that greenies like me have been urging, such as less air travel and other uses of fossil fuels, were happening, not because people decided to act against the threat posed by global warming, but because we were all locked down.

Q: What about work for you during the circuit breaker and now that the lock-down is somewhat relaxed?
GJ: For about seven years, I had a job at James Cook University Singapore, where Dr Denise Dillon (your previous interviewee) teaches. However, last year, I left that job to devote myself to a social enterprise and to volunteer work, while making money from freelance teaching. COVID-19 has been very bad for the social enterprise, which already had its share of troubles, and the freelance teaching almost completely dried up. Fortunately, there were lots of opportunities for satisfying volunteer work.

Q: How do you survive?
As a senior citizen, I’m subsidized by my payments from CPF and from its U.S. equivalent (I’m a Singaporean, but I lived most of the first half of my life in the U.S.). Being stuck at home gave me lots of time to write papers, books, social media posts, Forum page letters, etc. I’m looking forward to continuing to work mostly from home.

Q: Could you give us some examples of your volunteer work?
GJ: Gladly. I worked with academics in Malaysia and at JCUS on a study that documented that the media gives much more attention to COVID-19 than it does to ongoing causes of death, which kill and otherwise affect more people: lack of access to clean water, sanitation, and sufficient food.

Also, my doctorate is in Education, and among my special interests is encouraging students to do cooperative learning: learning with peers, instead of only learning alone or with teachers. I wrote some papers talking about how to do cooperative learning even when doing online learning.

Q: You’re known for your advocacy of plant-based diets. What’s happening with that during the pandemic?
GJ: Vegans have long had our Big 3 reasons: animal-based foods are bad for human health; are key destroyers of the environment and provokers of climate weirding; exact horrendous suffering on non-human animals.

Now, we can make it a Big 4, as many pandemics – Spanish Flu of 1918, AIDS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, SARS – are zoonotic diseases that go from other animals to humans. The contact that leads to that transmission often takes place because humans destroy the animals’ homes and incarcerate the animals for our food.

Also, there is evidence that we are more likely to survive pandemics if we have a strong immune system, and plant-based diets can help. That idea was the genesis behind this video, that I helped make early in the pandemic:

Q: Something else we missed because of the pandemic are the CAT Walks at Taman Negara in Malaysia to protect tigers. Are you looking forward to those starting again?
GJ: For sure. I did a CAT Walk each of the past three years and am hoping against hope that we’ll be able to do another one later this year. In the meantime, I’ve donated money, an article about the Malayan tiger was published https://periodicos.unb.br/index.php/erbel/article/view/29896, and I made a video in TikTok style:

Q: Any future plans?
GJ: More of the same, but I’m hoping to get some more steady teaching work, maybe online teaching. Also, I’m helping organise a program called ’10 Weeks to Vegan’, a guided programme for people who want to try vegan diets. It’s already in 10+ countries, and we’re working to Singaporean-ise it:

Also, I’m trying hard to stay physically and mentally healthy as I approach 70 years of age. I never realised it could be so challenging.

In some weird ways, the lock-down was a kind of warped wish come true. Things that greenies like me have been urging, such as less air travel and other uses of fossil fuels, were happening, not because people decided to act against the threat posed by global warming, but because we were all locked down.

Dr GeorGe jacobs

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