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This blog is closed. 27 September , 2007

Posted by eugene in Uncategorized.
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After much thought, I have decided to close this blog and concentrate on my business at Green Future Solutions and AsiaIsGreen. Do continue to check out news on the environment and learn what you can do for the environment at www.AsiaIsGreen.com. Thanks.

AsiaIsGreen and Green Future Solutions 7 September , 2007

Posted by eugene in 1 Respect Life & Renew Bond, 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge, 3 Practise 3 “Rs”, 4 Spread Message & Influence Others, 5 Support Local Initiatives & Groups, 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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AsiaIsGreen (AIG) is a brand new online green resource guide for Singapore and Asia, created by Green Future Solutions (GFS). GFS is a Singapore-registered business founded by Eugene Tay (that’s me) and provides consultancy services to help its customers:

  • Find practical ways of reducing the waste of energy, water and material
  • Develop business strategies for going green
  • Conduct small-scale environmental projects

We have been working on the website for the past two months and we think we are ready for its live testing. We are still new so do join us on this learning journey to create a green future at www.AsiaIsGreen.com.

We understand that Asia faces great challenges in protecting its environment as it develops economically. The people in Asia are beginning to be aware of their impacts on the environment and they wish for economic prosperity without harming the planet. Is it possible to see a future where Asia is green?

We do not hope that Asia is green and we have given up that hope because when hope dies, action begins. We have decided to take action to create a future where Asia is green and AIG is our small contribution towards that future. A green future for Asia is not a dream but a responsibility to Nature and our children.

AIG provides a wide range of resources for you to increase your awareness and understanding of the environment in Singapore and Asia, and to inspire you to take action. AIG is not only for Asians but for everyone around the world who wish to see a greener Asia. A green future for the world would be impossible without the participation of Asia.

We acknowledge that there are people in Asia who will not have access to AIG or who cannot afford the products and services shown in AIG. We do not pretend to have all the answers in AIG to create a green future for Asia. But we know that we have to take action now with whatever limited resources available. Learn more. Take action. Spread the message. Do what we can.

Check out AsiaIsGreen now.

The first aim of education 20 August , 2007

Posted by eugene in 1 Respect Life & Renew Bond.
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Singapore’s education system has improved over the years with the commitment from the government. One aspect that needs more emphasis is the respect for life.

After watching Prime Minister Lee’s National Day Rally speech, what stuck in my mind was not the increase in CPF interest rates, nor was it the Home Improvement Programme or Punggol 21-plus. The image that lingered in my mind was the part when PM Lee got emotional and was trying hard not to drop tears when speaking about education. More precisely, he was recalling an email by MP Seng Han Thong on Mayflower Primary School, their can-do and never-say-die spirit, the students who performed confidently on stage, and their proud parents and grandparents.

His voice was wavering but he said it with his heart, “Whichever school you go to, whatever home background you come from, we will help you develop your talents to the fullest.” To some Singaporeans, this might be insignificant or forgettable but to someone who has benefited from the education system, this promise from a leader is welcoming and reassuring. A leader who strongly believes in the power of education is a good leader.

With the commitment from the government, our education system will enable more young people to develop their talents. I must admit that the education system is not perfect but has improved over the years. Besides the emphasis on developing talents, there is something important that I think should be highlighted in our education system. It is based on what Norman Cousin said: “The first aim of education should not be to prepare young people for careers, but to enable them to develop a respect for life.”

Although the education system is focused on developing talents for young people to advance in their careers, more time should be spent on helping them develop a respect for life. Developing respect means recognising and remembering that all living things, including humans, nature and its biodiversity, have a right to live on this planet and a purpose in life. We should treat all living things as part of us and do no harm to them. Let us not forget that humans are only one species out of millions of species that live on this Earth. And understand that we all share this planet and respect for each other is the only way for survival. Without that respect for life, a person with talents will not hesitate to harm fellow humans or other biodiversity. A person who strongly believes in the respect for life is a good person.

Support Local 9 August , 2007

Posted by eugene in 5 Support Local Initiatives & Groups, 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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Most people are not aware of the environmental products and services available in Singapore. Sometimes when we advise people to go green, their reply was that it is hard to go green locally given the limited resources or products and services. I’m creating an online green resource guide to showcase information on green products and services. This would help more people to understand the green choices available in Singapore, and to buy and support local companies and products. SUPPORT LOCAL!

To sidetrack abit, just watched Royston Tan’s 881 yesterday. Really enjoyed the film, great acting by the Papaya Sisters and the music is excellent. Thinking of getting the film soundtrack… Must watch local films. SUPPORT LOCAL!


Updates 27 July , 2007

Posted by eugene in Uncategorized.
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I have not been blogging regularly as I’m planning to start my own business soon. More details later. Also realised that some comments are captured by the system as spam and deleted without my consent. I have not seen comments posted by readers since May as they are deleted as spam. So please forgive me for not responding to some of your comments. The system is so effective in classifying comments as spam that it reminds me of a Chinese saying: Ning ke sa chuo, bu ke fang guo.

Read Jul 07 27 July , 2007

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge.
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Some books that I read this month:

This Moment on Earth: Today’s New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future by John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben

With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change by Fred Pearce

Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage by Heather Rogers

After Live Earth, Give Up Hope 7 July , 2007

Posted by eugene in 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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My letter below was published in Today on 6 Jul 07. There were some changes made to the content by the editor.

Live Earth, which will be held tomorrow across seven continents, is the brainchild of Al Gore, an environmental activist and former United States Vice-President, and will involve performers, who aim to spread awareness of climate change.

As the world waits for this monumental 24-hour event, I wonder what will happen after Live Earth ends. Will more people be concerned about climate change and start taking action?

If there is only one message to remember after watching Live Earth, it is this: Give up hope.

Click here to read the full article

Investing in environmental companies (continued) 29 June , 2007

Posted by eugene in 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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More info about the zero certs:

  • The zero certs launched by ABN AMRO are actually call warrants without any leverage.
  • ABN AMRO do not charge management fees for the zero certs but the dividends paid by the companies in the index goes to them, that’s how they make money.
  • When the index reaches its maturity date after 3 years, the cash balance is settled and returned to the investor.
  • Details on the companies in the Climate Change & Environment Index are shown in the attached file.

Read Jun 07 29 June , 2007

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge.
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Some books that I read this month:

The Natural Heritage of Singapore by Hugh T.W. Tan, L.M. Chou, Darren C.J. Yeo and Peter K.L. Ng

Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline by Lisa Margonelli

Sustainable Living for Dummies by Michael Grosvenor

Schroders Global Climate Change Fund 20 June , 2007

Posted by eugene in 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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Schroders is launching the Schroders Global Climate Change Fund in the UK. The Fund invests in companies involved in the mitigation or adaptation of climate change. Not sure whether this fund will be available to local investors. There will be a seminar on investing in climate change and the fund on 17 Jul (6.30-8pm) at Aviva@Cecil. Register at the dollarDEX website.

Investing in environmental companies 15 June , 2007

Posted by eugene in 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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ABN Amro launched ten Zero Strike Participation Certificates last week, including ten emerging markets and two themed zero certs. One of the themed zero certs is the ABN AMRO Climate Change & Environment Price Return Index. The index tracks 30 environmental companies in the following sectors: Ethanol; Hydroelectric Power; Other Alternative Fuels; Platinum and Palladium Mining; Solar Power; Water; Waste Management; and Wind Power. Some companies in the index include big players such as Veolia Environment, Waste Management Inc, Vestas Wind Systems, Suntech Power, Allied Waste Industries, etc.

The environment themed zero cert gives local investors another investment choice besides investing in stocks of individual environmental companies or energy related unit trusts. My understanding of the new zero certs is limited. The zero certs are actually call warants that expire on a certain date and can be traded like stocks. The environment index zero certs expires on 28 Mar 2010. For more info, ABN AMRO will be holding a free seminar on the zero certs on 28 Jun at the SGX Centre. To register, check out ABN AMRO’s website.

There is no guarantee that environmental companies will do well but climate change and the environment will continue to be a hot issue over the next few years. More countries and companies will take action to improve their environmental performance and clean up their act. And this means business for environmental companies who help to clean up the land, water, air, and provide clean energy.

Six things we can do to protect the environment 6 June , 2007

Posted by eugene in 4 Spread Message & Influence Others, 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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My letter was published in today’s online ST Forum. The content is almost the same as what was written in my original letter. The one published by Today yesterday made more changes and have a funny title.


WORLD Environment Day is celebrated globally today with activities and events to remind us of our impact on the environment and also the things we can do to improve and protect the environment.

Everyone can do something for the environment. For a start, we could consider the six steps described below.

Click here to read the full article


The Green Spirit 5 June , 2007

Posted by eugene in 4 Spread Message & Influence Others, 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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My letter to Today was published on 5 Jun. It’s a summary of my ebook and I thought it would be good to share it with newspaper readers on World Environment Day.


World Environment Day is marked globally today, with activities to remind us of our impact on the environment and also what we can do to improve and protect it. Everyone can do something. For a start, we could consider these six steps:

One: Respect life and renew our bond with nature. Without respect for nature and its biodiversity, there will be no desire to protect them.

Click here to read the full article


Ignorance is Bliss? 4 June , 2007

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge.
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Can anyone be unaware of environmental problems in this digital age? Are we really ignorant or do we feign ignorance when we do not take action to change? Or maybe the truth is we don’t want to change? 

We take no action because we don’t know _____.

Now we know _____ but we don’t have time to do _____.

Now we have time but there are other things more important.

Now we completed the other things but it is too late to do _____.

We take no action because _____ is now gone.


Copyright Bill Watterson

Making Green Messages Stick 27 May , 2007

Posted by eugene in 4 Spread Message & Influence Others.
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The book, Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath is worth reading, especially for those who are interested in making environmental or green messages stick. How do we get more people to know more about the environment and take action? How do we get people interested and remember the messages that we advocate?

One interesting concept from the book is about the Curse of Knowledge. Quoting from the book, “This is the Curse of Knowledge. Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. Our knowledge has “cursed” us. And it becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others, because we can’t readily re-create our listeners’ state of mind.”

This is so true for environmentalists and greenies. Sometimes we can’t understand why people and companies don’t get our message; why they continue to engage in activities that harm the environment. We forget to put ourselves in their shoes and refuse to understand their state of mind and why they do what they do. We need to understand their mindset first and then formulate our messages to make it stick and spread.

To make ideas stick, the authors shared 6 principles:

1. Simplicity: What is the core idea?

2. Unexpectedness: How do we generate interest and curiosity?

3. Concreteness: How do we make it clear?

4. Credibility: How do we make people believe?

5. Emotions: How do we make them care?

6. Stories: How do we get them to take action?

Keep this 6 principles in mind when you create your next green message or campaign. Make it stick!

Read May 07 23 May , 2007

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge.
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Some books that I read this month:

The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken

Global Warming: The Complete Briefing by John Houghton

The Rough Guide to Climate Change by Robert Henson

Climate Change: A Guide For The Perplexed 18 May , 2007

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge.
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The latest issue of New Scientist has a special report on climate change. The report answers questions on 26 common myths and misconceptions, to help people who are confused about global warming and climate change. Worth checking it out. Ignorance is no longer bliss in this digital age.

Global Warming: Four Possible Scenarios 15 May , 2007

Posted by eugene in 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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My letter was published today in The Straits Times Forum in response to Warren Fernandez’s article. The content is adapted from my earlier post.


I REFER to the article, ‘Why I am not a climate change sceptic’ by Warren Fernandez (ST, May 12).

For sceptics, is it possible to not believe in global warming but still take action? What if we do not presume that global warming is happening? Can we look at different scenarios and choose what to do?

Let us imagine four simple scenarios.

Click here to read the full article


Voluntary Packaging Agreement 14 May , 2007

Posted by eugene in 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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An article was published in the Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao regarding the Voluntary Packaging Agreement. More than 10 food and beverage manufacturers will sign the Voluntary Packaging Agreement next month. They will promise to reduce the material used for their product packaging.

Mr Ong Seng Eng, Director of the Resource Conservation Department, National Environment Agency (NEA), said that to effectively reduce packaging waste, we cannot just depend on public education about the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), we must also work closely with those involved with the source of the packaging waste – the manufacturers, importers and retailers.

The amount of packaging waste such as paper cartons, boxes, plastic and glass bottles, drink cartons and cans, adds up to 35% of the total household waste. NEA together with the Packaging Council of Singapore (PCS) and the Singapore Environment Council formed a working committee last year to address this packaging waste problem.

The Chairman of PCS said that they are partnering with their counterparts in Japan, Australia and New Zealand to learn from their experiences in making packaging more environmentally friendly. He also revealed that manufacturers are worried about consumers’ acceptability of products with environmentally friendly packaging, and the cost of redesigning the new packaging. However, manufacturers acknowledge that consumers are more concerned about the environment,and improving their packaging becomes inevitable.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

The real culprit of global warming? Human activities 5 May , 2007

Posted by eugene in 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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My letter was published today in the Straits Times Online Forum. Thanks to the ST editor for keeping the content intact and not trimming down such a long letter.


I REFER to the article, ‘Who or what is the real culprit?’ (ST, May 1), by Dr Andy Ho.

Dr Ho discussed three main points to debunk man-made global warming. One, there is no scientific consensus. Two, there is contradictory evidence and other causes. Three, it is caused by the sun. He is entitled to his views but I will offer my views to explain why I disagree with him.

Click here to read the full article