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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.

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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

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

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.

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Copyright Bill Watterson

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.

The Great Global Warming Swindle? 3 May , 2007

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge.
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The Great Global Warming Swindle is a documentary produced by UK’s Channel 4, which casts doubts that global warming is man-made. The documentary was mentioned in Mr Andy Ho’s article in The Straits Times that was covered in my earlier post. You can watch the documentary below.

Several people have commented on the documentary, I would recommend reading comments by RealClimate and George Monbiot. There are also substantial information at Wikipedia for reference. Watch the documentary, read the comments and references, and then judge for yourself. Who is being swindled?

Read Apr 07 26 April , 2007

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

A Thousand Barrels a Second: The Coming Oil Break Point and the Challenges Facing an Energy Dependent World by Peter Tertzakian

Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash by Elizabeth Royte

Future Energy: How the New Oil Industry Will Change People, Politics and Portfolios by Bill Paul

Dancing with the Tiger: Learning Sustainability Step by Natural Step by Brian Nattrass and Mary Altomare

TED Talks 17 April , 2007

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge.
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TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an annual conference that brings together the best thinkers and ideas. The talks given at TED are available online and showcase some of the best speakers and their ideas. The following are some speakers who are green visionaries and also my personal heroes. Watch the videos of the talks, enjoy and be inspired.

William McDonough: The wisdom of designing Cradle to Cradle

Jane Goodall: What separates us from the apes?

Janine Benyus: 12 sustainable design ideas from nature

Alex Steffen: Inspired ideas for a sustainable future

E.O. Wilson: TED Prize wish – Help build the Encyclopedia of Life

Al Gore: 15 ways to avert a climate crisis

Read Mar 07 27 March , 2007

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

The End of the Wild by Stephen M. Meyer

Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America by Giles Slade

Trash by John Knechtel

Half Gone: Oil, Gas, Hot Air and the Global Energy Crisis by Jeremy Leggett

Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century by Alex Steffen

What’s Inside Your Laptop? 23 March , 2007

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge, 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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Read this interesting article, “What’s Inside Your Laptop?“, by PC Magazine. It explores the world inside the laptop, including the toxic chemicals and the different countries involved in making parts of the laptop.

One concern is the release of the toxic chemicals when the laptops are not disposed properly or when laptops are exported illegally to developing countries and manually “recycled”.

Another concern is the transportation involved in shipping different parts of the laptop across countries. Globalisation has enabled the shipment of parts from any country that can produced them at the lowest costs. The shipment of parts across countries just to make one laptop may cause more carbon dioxide emssions, as it is reported that emissions from shipping are twice that of airlines.

Climate Change and Singapore 22 March , 2007

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge, 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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Bob Sargent, President of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), gave a seminar at NTU’s Environmental Engineering Research Centre this afternoon. His seminar is on “Water Resources in a Changing Climate – What are the implications of climate change for Singapore’s water infrastructure?”.

In his seminar, he summarised the findings from the recent IPCC report and the Stern Review report. He also gave a summary of what might happen to the region around Singapore in the 21st century, including reduced total rainfall, increased variability of rainfall and sea level rise of about 50 cm. He concluded with the consequences on Singapore’s water infrastructure, including the need to cater for variable rainfall, greater provision for storm runoff, and some low level reservoirs threatened by sea level rise.

In the Q&A session, he asked the audience what Singapore is doing to mitigate climate change but there was no response (although some PUB officers were present in the audience). Is Singapore doing something?

Read the National Climate Change Strategy consultation paper for Singapore’s plans to tackle climate change. Below are four suggestions that I submitted during the consultation process:

1) Using reduction in absolute CO2 emissions as a target instead of carbon intensity
A reduction in carbon intensity does not necessary mean a reduction in the amount of CO2 emissions. The problem of climate change is one of absolute concentration of CO2 and each country must reduce its CO2 emissions. Singapore’s per capita emission is one of the highest in Asia and is similar to some developed countries. Most developed countries (Annex 1 countries) under the Kyoto Protocol are required to reduce absolute emissions by about 5% below 1990 levels. Likewise, we should set a target of reducing our absolute CO2 emissions by 5%. I’m not aware of other countries that use carbon intensity as a national target.

2) Setting up of decentralised power stations using renewable source
The current centralised power generation and distribution of electricity is not that efficient as electricity need to be transferred at long distances to users. Decentralised power stations at selected locations could be set up using renewable sources to generate electricity. These power stations would serve localised users and increase energy efficiency due to shorter electricity transfer.

3) Ramping up the use of alternative energy
More alterantive sources of energy such as solar, wind, tidal and biomass should be researched and developed. The intention is not to completely replace oil and natural gas but to reduce our dependence on energy imports. We have our 4 national taps (from water import, reservoirs, Newater and desalination), similarly, we should aim for our 4 national switches (oil, natural gas, and 2 other sources). The cost of alternative energy might be higher now but we should also take into account the future price of oil given the security and climate change concerns. Besides considering the cost of doing something, we should also consider the cost of not doing it.

4) More emphasis on reducing energy consumption and wastage in buildings
There are 2 approaches to reduce energy usage and wastage in a building. One is by changing the System, eg. conducting energy audit, switching to energy efficient equipment, using motion sensors, etc. The other is by changing the Culture, eg. switching off lights when leaving the office, switching off computers and printers when not in use or when leaving the office, etc. Both the System and Culture must be done together to achieve a reduction in energy usage.

Some of my wishes have already been answered as the government recently announced plans to focus on clean energy research and also consider legislating Green Mark requirements on buildings. I hope that the government can also consider using reduction in absolute CO2 emissions as a target instead of carbon intensity.

E-Waste 13 March , 2007

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge, 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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ban.jpg                                                        © Basel Action Network 2006

According to Today, the recent IT Show broke records with 718,000 visitors and sales of $48 million. We are buying more electronic products, whether we need them or not. Consumers nowadays are caught in a cycle where we try to keep up with the latest electronic gadgets. As companies come up with new products with more functions or upgrades, we change our electronic gadgets faster than we change clothes. Do we need the new gadgets in the first place? Are we buying the products because we actually need it or because the product advertisement says we should have it? It would be wise to consider the idea of sufficiency before buying. Sufficiency is about what needs to be done; enough and not too much.

As we buy more electrical and electronic products, it also mean that more such products are discarded. This is becoming a global waste problem, also known as the e-waste problem. E-waste contain toxic chemicals that will pollute the environment if not disposed properly. The export of e-waste from developed countries to developing countries on the pretext of recycling also poses environmental and health problems. Learn more about the e-waste problem from Greenpeace and Basel Action Network (BAN). The following video is a trailer of the documentary, The Digital Dump: Exporting Re-Use and Abuse to Africa, filmed by BAN.

Recently, a United Nations initiative, StEP – Solving the E-Waste Problem, was launched to develop a sustainable approach to e-waste. There are 5 task forces that focuses on policies, design for end-of-life, reuse and recycling infrastructure, and capacity building. The international initiative involves UN organisations, governments, universities and research institutes, and also industry players such as Cisco, Dell, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft.

Next time, think twice before buying another electronic product. Do you need it?

Read Feb 07 27 February , 2007

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

I Count: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Climate Bliss by Stop Climate Chaos

How We Can Save the Planet by Mayer Hillman

Five Regions of the Future: Preparing Your Business for Tomorrow’s Technology Revolution by Joel Barker and Scott Erickson

An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It by Al Gore

The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization by  Thomas Homer-Dixon

design: e2 25 February , 2007

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge.
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design: e2 (the economies of being environmentally conscious) is a six-part series narrated by Brad Pitt, that explores green design and how we can live greener with the future in mind. Podcasts and details of the series are found at the companion website.

The first episode, The Green Apple, was shown yesterday at 9:30pm on Channel NewsAsia with repeats on Sunday. It talks about how sustainable design can be implemented in buildings and architecture. Watch the short video podcast below for an idea of what was shown in the episode.

One of Two Possibilities 13 February , 2007

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge.
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This Calvin and Hobbes comic strip is one of my favourite. In just a few words, it points out what we are facing. Do we become smarter and take action to solve environmental problems in time? Or do we continue our ‘business as usual’ way and face the consequences?

These questions are especially true regarding climate change. The Kyoto Protocol is useless in tackling climate change and a post-Kyoto treaty is urgently needed. We have to be smarter and realise that the Kyoto Protocol is ineffective in reducing carbon dioxide emissions such that runaway global warming is prevented. Maybe British PM, Tony Blair, is able to push for the post-Kyoto treaty before he steps down. Like Hobbes, I’m holding my breath…

Read Jan 07 29 January , 2007

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

The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth by Edward O. Wilson

Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning by George Monbiot

The Natural Step for Business: Wealth, Ecology and the Evolutionary Corporation by Brian Nattrass and Mary Altomare

500 Ways to Change the World by Global Ideas Bank

Black Market: Inside the Endangered Species Trade in Asia by Ben Davies

Read Dec 06 29 December , 2006

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

High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health by Elizabeth Grossman

Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage by Daniel C. Esty and Andrew S. Winston

Meditations of Henry David Thoreau: A Light in the Woods by Chris Highland

Sustainable by Design: Explorations in Theory and Practice by Stuart Walker

Massive Change by Bruce Mau, Jennifer Leonard and the Institute Without Boundaries

The Ecology of Learning: Sustainability, Lifelong Learning, and Everyday Life by John Blewitt

Shape and Structure, from Engineering to Nature by Adrian Bejan

Practical Approaches to Climate Change 17 December , 2006

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge.
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Jeffrey Sachs gave a lecture at the Columbia University titled “Practical Approaches to Climate Change“. It’s about 2 hours long and the first hour focuses on the problem of climate change. The second hour is on the practical approaches, which include agreeing on a target global carbon dioxide concentration at 500ppm by 2050; setting a world price on carbon emissions; standards for power plants, major industries and automobiles.

Green Mark 15 December , 2006

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge.
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The government is encouraging developers to build more green buildings and it is taking the lead. From next year, all new public buildings must have the Green Mark certification. This is a good move towards reducing the environmental impacts of buildings.

Besides having an energy efficient building, developers should also consider sufficiency and effectiveness in their design and building process. Sufficiency is about what needs to be done; enough and not too much. Effectiveness is about doing the right things and efficiency is about doing things right.

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S$70m set aside to encourage developers to ‘go green’

By Julia Ng, Channel NewsAsia 

SINGAPORE : S$70 million will be set aside for research and incentives for developers to build more environmentally-friendly buildings over the next five years.And the government will take the lead.From April 1 next year, all new public buildings and those under retrofitting must have the Green Mark certification.All these initiatives are part of the government’s Green Building Masterplan.

Click here to read the full article