Saturday, February 28, 2009

One World One Moment

The MSc librarian and PhD biologist music duo is back with a new album! The band known as StarfishStories has a new album for the new year titled One World One Moment.

The entire album is free for download, licensed under the creative commons license! Nothing less to be expected from the social media friendly rambling librarian. After their first album that was inspired by our wonderful marine life, the duo is back with a second album. This time, they have developed more complex musicality with many more guitar solos, displaying their skills. Definitely enjoyed listening to this album very much! Great soothing songs, free for download at the StarfishStories band blog ( The blog also offers behind the scenes insights, great for other musicians to exchange experiences as well.

The band also has a facebook group - join now to show your support for our local talent.

Read full article here

Help needed for Horseshoe Crab Population & Distribution Survey

The Nature Society (Singapore) Horseshoe Crab Rescue team is looking for help for a Population & Distribution Survey on 8 March 2009 from 2 pm to 6.30 pm. If interested, please contact Dr Hsu Chia Chi.

This island-wide survey aims to establish an estimate of the population and distribution of the two species of Horseshoe Crabs (HSCs) found in Singapore, namely the Mangrove Horseshoe Crab (Carcinscorpius rotundicauda) and Coastal Horseshoe Crab (Tachypleus gigas).

Sectors & Teams
Singapore will be divided into four sectors namely: 1. North-West, 2. North-East, 3. South-East and 4. South-West. Each sector will have a Sector Leader. Survey areas within each sector have been identified and each will have an Area Leader. Depending on the size of the survey area, one or more teams might be assigned. Each survey team comprises four to six volunteers led by a Qualified HSC R&Rer (Team Leader), with an assigned recorder while participants become searchers-cum-measurers.

Survey Areas
The areas we will like to conduct HSC P&D Survey are:

1. Mandai mudflats
2. Lim Chu Kang Jetty- mudflat east of jetty.
3. Sarimbun- beach/mudflat near MOE Jln. Bahtera Adventure Centre.
4. Sembawang Park
5. Lower Seletar Reservoir Dam- mudflat eastern side of estuary.
6. Pasir Ris Park- mudflat east of S. Tampines.
7. Changi Point Ferry terminal- estuary.
8. S. Pandan- estuary beyond dam.

Please state your preference, if any, in your response.

Survey Methods & Search Techniques
Two methods will be employed 1) Transect search to depletion in areas where HSC density is expected to be high and/or 2) Exploratory search in all possible HSC habitats. Search technique is based on HSC sighting and the gentle probing (NOT ploughing) of substrate with gardening forks as well as the careful digging up of buried HSC. Area/Team Leaders will conduct on-site briefing on details such as the exact protocol, instructions and data recording.

Survey of Fishermen
In addition, there will be a survey-cum-conservation education of fishermen by younger members/primary school students. Using a survey-cum-conservation education questionnaire as well as photos of both HSC species, free and entrapped, they will approach local and recreational fishermen at boat mooring sites and popular fishing areas around Singapore.

Attire & Equipment
Recommended: Comfortable outdoor clothes (short or long sleeved tops; shorts or trousers), hat, sun block, old sports shoes/boots/booties that can get wet (NO exposed footwear such as sandals, crocs or slippers), drinking water, plastic bag (for collecting litter from survey sites), small gardening fork/rake (to probe for buried HSC) and 12-inch ruler.

Optional: Insect repellent, gloves or plastic bread wrappers to protect your hands, poncho (survey will be adjourned if there is bad weather), a change of clothes and extra foot wear (washing facilities may not be available at all sites), gardening cutters (to rescue Horseshoe Crabs entrapped in nets), binoculars, camera, note book and pen.

Meet at 2 pm at your assigned meeting point. You may have to walk some distance to your actual survey area. The search proper will be from 4 pm to 6 pm, with the lowest tide at 5 pm.

Read full article here

Friday, February 27, 2009

Job Vacancy for Director, NUS Office of Environmental Sustainability

Reporting to the Deputy President (Administration), the Director will lead the Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES) to relating to campus sustainability strategies and initiatives, with a view to broadening its role to include environmental performance auditing. The incumbent will be responsible in the following:

- Strategize the integration of sustainability in all aspects possible,
establish NUS sustainability goals and develop a campus sustainability
- Identification and facilitate adoption of applicable best practices in
campus development and operations.
- Establish communications strategies with campus stakeholders to
promote awareness of initiatives as well as to educate them.
- Lead, guide and monitor sustainability initiatives and performance to
achieve sustainability targets.
- Build partnerships and collaborate with other organizations and leading
universities with matters related to campus sustainability.
- Build partnerships and collaborate with other organizations and leading
universities with matters related to campus sustainability.
- Management reporting


* Bachelor’s Degree in architecture, urban or environmental planning, environmental science, environmental engineering or equivalent in an appropriate field, with an advanced degree preferred
* Minimum of 5 years experience in leadership position, implementing sustainability programs, or programs in a related field such as planning, environmental or environmental technology or resource management, facilities, or architecture.
* Good understanding of sustainability theories as well as local, national and global sustainability initiatives and best practices. Ability to apply theories and initiatives in practical setting.
* Good EQ, excellent oral and written communications skills

Download Application Form (.doc).
For application or enquiries

More information here

Read full article here

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Facebook and Beyond

On Day 3 of the National Sustainability Conference, I will be involved in the youth declaration as well as giving a short 10 minute presentation on environmental "cyber-advocacy" in Singapore. I've included the synopsis and slides here for those of you who will not be there on the day. Enjoy! Comments are most welcome. I do not profess to be entirely comprehensive. It's more a sharing of my own experience. I'm hardly an expert on the subject and there are definitely better ways to do this. Feel free to share your own experiences!

The popularization of the Internet has changed the face and form of environmental outreach and activism in Singapore. The compression of time and space has led to fast dissemination of information and the rapid rallying of grassroot support became increasingly effortless. In the last 5 years, with the rise of popular social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr, etc., it has further changed the dimension of environmental activism. Social media tools such as blogs and wikis allow for user-generated content which allow greater dissemination of information, reaching out to people who may otherwise not have the opportunity to do so. The current challenge is now to come up with more creative ways of using the social media platform, to maximize its network and potential. Just as traditional media practitioners have tried to come up with the latest attention grabbing ad campaign, social media practitioners are constantly thinking of ways to creatively and effectively reach out to a greater network, to gather support, fund raise, encourage action or simply to spread the word. This presentation hopes to highlight some of the environmental social media projects that have been done in Singapore and some of the lessons learnt through the process.


November Tan is a research scholar in the NUS Department of Geography as well as an active nature volunteer with various volunteer groups. She is the author of the Midnight Monkey Monitor blog ( which was listed as Blogger’s Blog of Note in 2007. A self-confessed social media addict, she spends her off days testing new social media platforms and cooking up new projects. She currently coordinates workshops for nature volunteers under the initiative known as The Leafmonkey Workshop.

Read full article here

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 2 of National Sustainability Conference

The day started off with the Ambassador Chew Tai Soo informing the audience of Singapore's official international position on climate change. A reuters reporter present was rather efficient and an article on the morning's speech is already published and picked up by Straits Times by 2pm!

If you were following my twitter updates, you'd have gotten a frenzy of live reporting (140 char at a time!). Hurray for social media *grin* But I must acknowledged my admiration for the traditional media efficiency too! But they were using online medium (posting on ST Online) for the purpose too. Interestingly, I was tipped off by @sgnews on twitter who picks up RSS feed from major news agencies in Singapore.

Below is a compilation of day 2 happenings as updated on twitter.

Ambassador chew tai soo who is the chief negotiator on climate change at copehagen this year is speaking now on singapore's position about 12 hours ago

The chief negotiator states that singapore has negligible impact on climate change, and alt energy disadvantged, can't move away from fossil He considers singapore a small island DEVELOPING state. An alternative energy disadvantaged country. Sigh 'we will contribute what we can' means you can't force them to do what they refuse to acknowledge, much less do One of the ways to offset our emission is apparently to have singapore 'covered in greenery' but gardening is not the same as forests! When asked why we present ourselves as a developing country, he says coz we are member of G77 developing states. 'matter of history' When do we move from 'history' to the present or the future? Where is the progress we speak of in our national pledge? The ambassador seems to hint at the audience in the room that they can't speak of reductions when they sit comf in brightly kit aircon room The gist of singapore's stand it seems is that the world needs to reduce emissions but it's other people's responsibility The director of climate change, mewr highlights clean energy as one of the strategy but what about the potential coal plant in sg? Energy efficiency seems like the key or only strategy in addressing climate change. How disappointing The deputy director of strategic policy appears to be merely reading off the standard pr propaganda. I feel like i'm at an info centre Are the mewr ppl not allowed to present anything apart from official content that i can just read from the website? Wildsingapore poster of semakau is used to highlight the success of the landfill in conserving biodiversity

Dr michael quah is really a good speaker, talking about electronic versus liquid diet. More dimension to alternative energies Dr quah talks about including food in the equation along with water and energy! I can't agree more! 'through internal discussion, they probably tink 6.5 million population is probably sustainable' orly? Upon monkey asking about news of coal power plant in singapore, mewr informed that the plan is off due to financial crisis But coal is still acceptable as a form of 'clean energy' in singapore! *grimace* Reuters is really efficient. Just 4 hours after the ambassador's speech this morn, they alr put up an article & straits times picked it up! Prof wong poh poh is talking about sea level rise in singapore. IPCC predicts a 59cm sea level rise but they didn't consider data after 2005. Since then, theres dramatic increase Singapores coastal areas were reclaimed and raised by 1.25m above the highest recorded tide of 3.9m. Sea level rise must consider tides too! How long term is our planning? IPCC is planning for 300 years. Prof natasha hamilton nicely sum up that sg cc strategy is aimed at making sg look good in the 'fiction of being a developing country' Sg reports that they emit 41522 kilo tonnes of co2 in 2006 but the usa dept of energy reports it as 141,100kilo tonnes 48% of singapore's emissions is from electricity generation. Air transport is one of the controversial footprint that's not addressed.

Read full article here

Friday, February 20, 2009

Live from Day 1 of National Sustainability Conference

Will be reporting from the National Sustainability Conference held at the NUSS Guild House from 20 to 22 Feb. I will be putting up my observations via twitter. Unfortunately I will not be able to provide indepth reports via the blog but will be reposting my twitter updates on this blog.

  • Interesting attendance at the national sustainability conference. Lily kong is giving the opening speech now about 3 hours ago
  • It's quite bizarre that there is a tea break after 30minute of welcome about 2 hours ago
  • Andrew Tan, the Ceo of nea is speaking now about the interconnectedness of the different global crises. They are 1 crises, not separate about 2 hours ago
  • The british high commissioner paul madden is speaking about climate change now. Shobie the dir of climate change is of cos here about 2 hours ago
  • Spoke with amy of wwf about earth hour singapore. This year a major singapore icon will be switching off during prime time! Awesome about 1 hour ago
  • How do we encourage businesses to be carbon neutral if our consumers are not interested or concerned if they are? about 1 hour ago
  • Prof jeff obbard is talking about the anthropocene and the 'other' (climate) credit crunch. about 1 hour ago
  • IPCC predicts 7.4% reduction in glacial cover but in reality it's 23% eek about 1 hour ago
  • The other credit crunch he's talking about turns out to be the global ecological footprint exceeding planet capacity and carbon budget about 1 hour ago
  • Einstein and the stern review gets quoted very often at this conference. 41 minutes ago
  • Jeff is talking about his research on using fast growing marine algae as a carbon neutral biofuel. Is this possible for mass production? 38 minutes ago
  • Dr geh is the first to the mic again during the q&a asking andrew Tan about the centre for livable cities 35 minutes ago
  • At every environmental conference, people must always ask why are we sitting in an aircon room freezing our butt off 29 minutes ago
  • There's a lady from india from the office of environmental education that asked all the questions i wanted to ask. 12 minutes ago
  • I'm glad Lena chan from nparks is highlighting the fact that all tis talk of sustainability is lacking mention of biod conservation 5 minutes ago
  • Stern review drew attention to climate change thru dollars. But no such report for biod? But both related! Why pit against each other? 2 minutes ago

Read full article here

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

National Sustainability Conference

The National University of Singapore (NUS) would be organizing the National Sustainability Conference on the 20-22 February 2009 which would be held in the NUS Kent Ridge Guild House.

This conference will discuss critical global sustainability crises in the Singaporean context and our response to these challenges. This conference would also achieve to be the first net zero carbon emissions conference in Singapore. The end-product of this conference would be a Singapore Youth Declaration on Sustainable Development.

In addition to chairing one of the subcommittees in the Youth Declaration, this leafmonkey will also be speaking on 22 Feb, the 3rd day of the conference. The topic will be on "Facebook and Beyond: Environmental Cyber-Advocacy in Singapore".

Around 250 renowned experts, academicians, administrations, business, civil society and youths are expected to participate in this 3-day conference.

Some of the highlights of our conference would be:

Copenhagen Global Deal on Climate Change, What it Means for Singapore
Ambassador Chew Tai Soo, Chief Negotiator on Climate Change for Singapore

The Promise of Technological Solutions to the Climate Crisis
Mr Lee Tzu Yang, Chairman, Shell Companies in Singapore

Singapore's Coastal Vulnerability to Climate Change Impacts
Associate Professor Wong Poh Poh, Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, NUS, and Coordinating Lead Author in IPCC Fourth Assessment Report

National Identity, Sustainability and Nature
Dr Geh Min, Past President, Nature Society, and winner of prestigious inaugural President's Award for Environment 2006

To register, please visit: Currently there are limited seats left, so please register soon to reserve your tickets.

Read full article here

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Virgin adventures at the great reef

Terembu Raya means the Great Reef in bahasa melayu and great it was! Not so much in land area but the coral diversity and life there is quite amazing. It's no seagrass wonderland like cyrene reef but around the perimeter where Eric and I were exploring, the corals, fish and other animals were just keeping us excited with every step we take! I admit I don't go out as often as many others but I've never seen so many different type of corals in one place before so it's an exciting time for me!

One of my favourite moments was definitely stalking this squid (amongst the many encountered). It tried its different strategy at me, from pretending to be invisible to becoming angry and wagging its "horns" at me! Its use of tentacles fascinates me. When it wants to speed away, it puts them together to form a torpedo like bodyshape but when it wants to intimidate, it keeps the tentacles together like horns and sometimes it forms a sucker like shape. It's so fascinating!

I've also seen things I've only seen before on photos like this sponge. Could this be the famous neptune's cup? I have no idea! Could somebody enlighten this ignorant monkey?

Giant corals like this are also rather common! In fact this one is about 1.5m across!

Tis also the first time I spotted a nudi all on my own! Eric says this is a T-bar nudibranch which is a hard nudibranch. Not sure what that means. Have to read up!

It was quite a hairy crab haven at Terumbu Raya as I probably saw at least a few dozen of them in just the small corner I covered. I even found this one which was dragging along a piece of seagrass back to its home to savour before I waylaid it for a moment. Luckily it didn't abandon its food for cover.

This fascinating lil snapping shrimp also held my attention for a while when I saw it actually cut off a piece of tape seagrass and proceeded to drag it back into its hole!

Eric also found this seahorse. In fact he found 2 but I didn't backtrack to find the yellow one he saw. It still amazes me that seahorses are actually fish with modified scales! Interesting that he didn't see any seahorse on semakau but here we were, stones throw from pulau semakau, divided only by a channel, facing the island, we found 2. hurray!

At the end of the day, you know its an adventure when you hesitate jumping off the lil dingy into the water despite assurance of "no problem" because you couldn't tell if your next step is land or 13m below on the reef crest! But a chair on board comes in handy. Doubles up as steps and anchor! Comes in a pretty shade of brown. While stock last!

More photos of the trip can be found on my flickr photos.

Read full article here