EIAs: Enigmas In Action?

This month, we look at the subject of EIA – Environmental Impact Assessment, a very current topic, especially so because of the Cross Island MRT Line (CRL) and its impact on the Central Catchment Nature Reserve of MacRitchie. We have three speakers – Natalia Huang of Ecology Matters, who will speak of the EIA process, and Tony O’Dempsey of Nature Society (Singapore), who will detail the engagement process and share significant issues in the course of completing the EIA report for the CRL, and Lahiru Wijedasa, who will provide his insights on the methods outlined in the EIA report, focusing on some potential effects on the trees in MacRitchie.

Natalia’s Talk:
EIAs: Enigmas In Action?: Stories from an EIA wildlife consultant in Singapore

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is crucial in minimising impacts of human development on the environment. EIAs are carried out across the world using a variety of methods and at varying standards. In Singapore, the EIA process has previously been criticised for lack of transparency, leaving outsiders largely unaware of how studies are conducted, the results, and development decisions made thereafter. However, the EIA industry is improving in Singapore, with greater numbers of projects requiring ecological studies to determine impacts of developments on the flora and fauna.

Tony’s Talk:
Tony O’Dempsey was involved along with other conservation experts in the working group discussions with LTA over the past years since the announcement of the CRL project. He will provide insight into the process of engagement and significant issues dealt with culminating in the completion and recent publication of the EIA report. He will round off his talk with a review of lessons learnt, and how we can improve the process of public consultation for future projects.

Lahiru’s Talk:
Lahiru was involved in overseeing the developments of tree-friendly construction within the Singapore Botanic Gardens. For instance the boardwalks in the Singapore Gardens Jungle and the Healing Gardens – both projects involved tree-friendly construction techniques around large, rare, historic and heritage trees. He will provide his insights on the methods outlined in the EIA report with a focus on some of the potential effects they may have on the trees in MacRitchie.

Date: 25 February 2016 (Thurs)
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Venue: SingJazz Club, 101 Jalan Sultan, #02-00, The Sultan.
Admission: Free (contributions to society accepted)
RSVP: Via Facebook or email greendrinkssingapore@gmail.com

See you there!

About our speakers
Natalia Huang runs Ecology Matters Pte Ltd, a wildlife consultancy which has been conducting EIAs in Singapore for the past two years. She is a zoologist and ecologist interested in biodiversity conservation. She has previously worked in the EIA industry in Western Australia, in environmental departments of governments and in environmental NGOs. In this session, Natalia will share her experience of the EIA process in Singapore, with particular reference to fauna studies, and hopefully make EIAs in Singapore less of an enigma.

Tony is a current council member of the Nature Society (Singapore) and former chair of its Vertebrate Study Group. 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 and was on the CRL working group committee working with LTA on EIA matters.

Lahiru Wijedasa is an ecologist, botanist and arborist now doing his PhD research at NUS. He was formerly the Senior Arborist of the Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) for 8 years. He was in charge of maintenance of the health of the trees in the gardens including the maintenance of the heritage trees in the gardens and the 5 hectare gardens jungle. He has experience in construction of gardens within SBG with a particular emphasis on preservation of trees from construction damage.

[Photo courtesy of Leong Kwok Peng]
Advertisements

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.