Upcoming Event: The Green Heart inside the Red Dot

Nominated Member of Parliament Faizah Jamal kicks off the evening by giving a short introduction on the background of the Cross Island Line through the Central Catchment Nature Reserve issue, making references to the Population White Paper Land Use Plan. She will also talk about the engagement between nature groups and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on this issue.

Tony O’Dempsey will be speaking about the importance of preserving our natural heritage through the Nature Reserves. He will be discussing what is so special about the Central Catchment Nature reserve and how it is more than just “green Space”. Tony will talk in detail about the various threats to our native habitats including the current issue of the Cross Island Line proposed by the LTA as part of its 2013 Master Plan.

Also we’ve heard how an arborist is a ‘protector’ of trees and many of them work for a particular government agency. What does Goh Mia Chun as an arborist do in his tree consultancy firm and what is his role in protecting trees? Find out more…

Date: 23 October 2013 (Wednesday)
Time: 6.30pm  onwards
Venue: The Hub, National Youth Council Academy, 113 Somerset Road
RSVP: Email us at greendrinkssingapore@gmail.com or register at https://www.facebook.com/events/436157453159421/?fref=ts

We hope you can join us!

About our speakers

Faizah Jamal

For more than 25 years, Faizah Jamal has been an advocate for the environment, which started with her forays into the Malaysian forests and the volcanoes in Indonesia as a member of the (then) Malayan Nature Society now known as the Nature Society Singapore.

Formerly a Corporate Lawyer with a law degree from NUS, Faizah had specialized in Intellectual Property Law with top law firms Drew & Napier and Haq & Selvam in Singapore.
Faizah is also a recipient of the European Community (now European Union) Post-graduate Scholarship for ASEAN nationals in Environment Studies in 1992, and has a Master’s degree in Environment Law from King’s College, University of London.

In 2003 Faizah gave up corporate law to pursue her passion for the environment and embarked on a second career as a full time Environment Educator, leading students towards an awareness of, and love for Nature.

Since 2008, Faizah is an Adjunct Lecturer with Republic Polytechnic, pioneering the Environment Education module , where she not only guides young people to be eco–literate, through skillful facilitation, she also encourages her students to reflect deeply on the intangible lessons from Nature in leading examined lives.

In Feb 2012 Faizah was appointed as a Nominated Member of Parliament, after her successful nomination by Nature Society Singapore specifically to represent environment concerns in Parliament.

Most notably, Faizah voted against the White Paper in Parliament in Feb 2013, charging that it is a document that thinks only ‘with the head, and not with the heart’. In particular, she had questioned the government’s plans to build an MRT line cutting through the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and had been vocal in expressing her views against it.

Tony O’Dempsey

Tony is a current council member of the Nature Society (Singapore) and former chair of its Vertebrate Study Group. He is also the author ofwww.florasingapura.com. Tony has been working as a volunteer on various conservation projects relating to the Nature Reserves for the past 20 years and is very familiar with the forest habitats of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. He is also the principle editor of the NSS Position paper on the Cross Island Line.


The Straits Times: Ride & (walk to the) park

On the weekend, The Straits Times wrote about how the opening of The Circle Line on October 8 will link up to several parks in Singapore. Green Drinks Singapore was asked to comment on this, see article below.

Ride & (walk to the) park

THE Circle Line, which will open fully on Oct 8, will connect Singaporeans to a dozen public parks.

Except for stations along its north-eastern arc, almost every other of the 29 stations dotting its 33.3km orbital route will offer access to a park.

The one with a park right at its doorstep is the Botanic Gardens station.

But other green havens, such as Bishan Park, Labrador Park and Kallang Riverside Park, are within reach too, with some requiring more walking than others.

The National Parks Board is eagerly tracking this development.

‘We welcome the new Circle Line as it presents an additional form of transport to reach our parks and gardens,’ said Mr Kong Yit San, assistant chief executive officer of its park management and lifestyle cluster.

‘With the new stations, we hope more visitors will come and discover our parks and gardens, and attend the many activities and events held there.’

Mr Kong told The Straits Times that a new gate at the Botanic Gardens has been built to lead visitors to the economic garden, which features plants with economic use. ‘Visitors will be greeted by a 1ha garden which will showcase climbing plants on trellises as well as various species of timber trees,’ he said.

‘The first phase of the construction for the Climber Collection will be completed and opened to the public in time for the opening of the MRT station, while the second phase is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year.’

A Marina Bay extension of the Circle Line that is scheduled to open next year will take passengers to Gardens by the Bay, a 54ha, $900 million green showcase in the heart of the new downtown area.

Also, by the first half of next year, nature lovers can look forward to the Labrador Nature and Coastal Walk, a $13.5 million project that will bring them up close to the sea, mangrove swamps and forested areas.

Exiting the Labrador Park station will take them to the start of the Berlayer Creek Mangrove Trail.

‘That’s fantastic. These parks will become more accessible to people, especially those who do not drive. Even those who drive might be encouraged to take the train to make use of these spaces,’ said Ms Olivia Choong, founder of environmental consultancy Green Drinks. ‘It makes everything so much more convenient for everyone.’

The Circle Line, estimated to cost between $8 billion and $10 billion, took 10 years to build. The first stretch of five stations from Marymount to Bartley opened in 2009, followed by a city stretch of 12 stations that went into service last year.

The line has six interchanges that will allow commuters to switch to other lines that criss-cross Singapore.

But in terms of accessibility, users say the Tai Seng station falls short of expectations. Ms Nic Ong, 29, a marketing executive, wished the station had been built with underpass access to serve the fast-growing industrial estate there. ‘We use pedestrian crossings to get to the station but an underground link would have been more convenient, especially when it rains.’

It is believed to be the only MRT station with such a limited access.

Image taken from EtienneSA