Thursday, April 19, 2007

Al Gore is in Singapore

The hero of climate change, the star of An Inconvenient Truth, is actually in Singapore this very minute!

He is here along with six other heros of our environment to receive the UNEP Champion of the Earth award. Unfortunately, from what the monkey understood, it's press invited only, in addition to relevant individuals. Of heros and champions, it'll be more exciting and locally involving if UNEP could actually arrange a public lecture by these champions to spread some enlightened vibes around singapore. Afterall, such a major environmental wave swept through Singapore yesterday with outcry of synthetic deprivation, a motivational talk is in order. In fact, my family called me up to "seek my expert knowledge" to understand what one should do with their garbage if they no longer take free plastic bags from NTUC to line their bins.

I wonder if the organizer, Singapore Tourism Board, saw past the greens for the trees.

Update @ 20 April 2007:
Eugene commented that Al Gore did not personally come to Singapore but was represented by actress Daryl Hannah. Apologies for not being updated as I have read about the UNEP champions almost 2 months ago. Oh well, maybe somebody should invite him specially to Singapore next time.

Name and shame, says green champ
Arti Mulchand
20 April 2007
Straits Times

That is how she tackled stubborn polluters in the Philippines

FORMER Filipino environment and natural resources secretary Elisea Gillera Gozun has a method for handling persistent polluters - name and shame them.

'In Asia, shame is something companies and people respond to... We don't want to be put to shame,' said Mrs Gozun, one of seven Champions of the Earth 2007 honoured last night.

She received the award for her environmental efforts in the Philippines, including introducing a pollution charges scheme and establishing a public disclosure system for companies.

She gave an example of a textile firm in Manila which made headlines for dumping untreated water into a river.

The owners 'woke up' and cleaned up only when their children refused to go to school out of sheer embarrassment, said Mrs Gozun, who leads seven non-governmental organisations in the Philippines.

Last night's other winners were honoured for achievements in fields ranging from chemical safety and sustainable waste management to the greening of sporting events.

They include the International Olympic Committee and its president Jacques Rogge.

Another winner, Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva, has fought for the protection of the Amazon rainforest and championed conservation while taking into account the concerns of those who depend on resources.

Also on this year's honour roll is former US vice-president Al Gore, who continues to make the environment a 'pillar of his public service'.

He was represented at last night's ceremony at the Shangri-La Hotel by actress Daryl Hannah - herself an environmental champion and a bioenergy advocate.

A statement from Mr Gore said: 'It has taken too long for global leaders, especially in the United States, to wake up to this fact and respond, but I have hope...

'I have every confidence that when the nations of the world come together for the common good, we will regain our moral authority not only to tackle the climate crisis, but also to address the other major environmental threats we face today.'

United Nations Environment Programme executive director Achim Steiner said that celebrating the champions provides an 'antidote to what is otherwise a fairly bleak picture that we... share with the world in 2007'.

He was pointing to the dire report for the planet issued by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change earlier this year, the third part of which will be released in Bangkok on May 4.

The first part of the assessment report blamed human activity for the earth getting 'incontrovertibly' warm.

The second instalment last month envisaged more frequent and severe flooding, water shortages and pressure on coastlines.

Climate change and issues surrounding energy took centre stage also at the Global Business Summit for the Environment (B4E) here yesterday.

Mr Steiner urged the business leaders attending the meeting to 'bring the environmental and sustainability dimension into the marketplace' and get involved in the fight against climate change.

Also on the agenda, the rising trend of putting money into greener investments and financial products, and the risks and opportunities facing businesses in a carbon constrained environment.

On the sidelines of the event, another Champion of the Earth, Algerian Minister for Land Planning and Environment Cherif Rahmani, who was honoured for his work on desertification, called on Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim.

The Algerian minister noted the potential for Singapore to share its experience in town planning and water management.

'Champions of the Earth' honoured in eco-friendly event
20 April 2007
Straits Times

BUSINESS leaders, environmentalists, entertainers and government leaders - they all turned up to honour the Champions of the Earth at an awards ceremony last night.

The awards, given out to seven people this year, recognise those who champion environmental causes and effect policy changes.

This was the fourth instalment of the annual awards, presented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The event opened with West African singer Angelique Kidjo cajoling some 700 guests to sing along to her song Afirika, which speaks of blessings for Mother Earth.

It was a pointer to the environmental theme which permeated the celebrations, graced by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and his wife.

Guests tucked into organic and sustainably farmed food at the Shangri-La Hotel's Island Ballroom, which was transformed into a lush tropical rainforest with plants and coloured energy-efficient bulbs.

Even the trophies given to the winners were made from recycled metal.

The former secretary of the Philippines' Department of Environment and Natural Resources Elisea Gillera Gozun, and Algerian Minister for Land Planning and Environment Cherif Rahmani were here to accept their awards.

The other winners, who sent their representatives, are:

Former US vice-president Al Gore;

Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva;

International Olympic Council president Jacques Rogge;

Swedish Ministry of Environment Ambassador Viveka Bohn; and

Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan.

UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said environmental challenges have brought economies, societies, businesses and governments together into a 'world conversation that is long overdue'.

1 comment:

Eugene said...

Is Al Gore in town? Thought he's represented by Daryl Hannah (Elle in Kill Bill) to receive his award...