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Day 9: 2016 Singapore Study Tour

The daily chronicle of the 2016 POLIS Study Tour to Singapore, “Inside Singapore: History, Politics, Identity”.

Day 9 – ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS

A recap of the principles of citizenship and how they tied into our field trips and lecture sessions got our morning started as we moved onto today’s theme, the environment. We discussed Singapore’s beautiful concept of a ‘city in a garden’ and whether the country’s environmental policies actually go further than aesthetics.

Following our morning classroom discussion, Sofiah Jamil joined us and delivered an interesting talk on the country’s attitude to the environment. Sofiah provided various insights into Singapore’s anthropocentric approach to creating a ‘Garden City’, which she contrastingly labelled a ‘sterile, concrete island’. She highlighted that economic motive remains prominent in the government’s construction of a green city as well as mentioning multiple areas that may need improvement. Overall, Sofiah provided us with a clearer picture of the relationship between Singapore and its natural environment.

This afternoon we headed out of the city to visit the Kampung Kampus – a community urban farming project of the Ground Up Initiative (GUI), started by Mr Tay Lai Hock, with a vision of connecting people to community by reconnecting them to nature. GUI engages with school kids through their education programs and has many volunteers supporting the work of building resilient stewards through their philosophy of the 6 Rs: rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle. In an almost sterile, techno-saturated city like Singapore, where only the quick and connected survive, GUI is swimming against the tide, inviting others to join in their quiet environmental revolution.

Overall, today we not only developed a greater understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of environmental governance in Singapore but also of some of the initiatives that have been developed by local citizens to ensure sustainable development for the future.

Thanks to the Media Team for providing this entry: Mikaela Groom, Michael Migali, Hollie Seacombe, and Karen Seeley.

Photo credit: Benito Cao, Kampung Kampus

Kampung Kampus 2

Kampung Kampus 1

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