Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tree Planting at NUS

These 15 sea almond trees (ketapang) planted today are meant to offset the carbon emission from the eco concert on Saturday, 30 June 2007 held at the Sommerset Youth Skate Park. This is possibly the first zero-carbon event in Singapore.

For more photos, see my flickr set.

Read full article here

Saturday, June 16, 2007

"Channel 5 to broadcast Live Earth in July!"

As mentioned in the earlier post, Live Earth on 07.07.07 will be broadcast live in the event Earth fest, held in conjunction with Earth Fest.

At the same time, you can also catch the FULL 24 hours of concert on Channel 5. This is rather amazing because on that Saturday, any time you tune in on Channel 5 after 7pm till the next day, you will see the big stars featured on Live Earth!

Channel 5 to broadcast Live Earth in July!
May 18, 2007
Channel 5 Press Release

It's been billed as "concerts for a climate in crisis". Featuring the likes of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Madonna, Kayne West, Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi and the reunited Smashing Pumpkins, don't miss this unprecedented 24-hour mega-event which will take place on all 7 continents. Sweet.

MediaCorp TV Channel 5 will be broadcasting Live Earth on Saturday, 7th July 2007 starting at 7pm!

Billed as "concerts for a climate in crisis", this groundbreaking event will be staged across seven countries worldwide. To date, MediaCorp TV Channel 5 is the only free-to-air broadcaster in the world who will be airing the full 24-hr event.

With concerts on all 7 continents (Shanghai, Sydney, Johannesburg, London, Brazil, Japan and the United States), the mega-event promises a rollicking show with worldwide-renowned entertainers, athletes, scientists, government leaders and CEOs helping to engage their constituencies with SOS.

Channel 5 also plans to air environmental awareness messages and programmes in the week surrounding the Live Earth telecast. Watch out for more updates in the months to come!

What is Live Earth?
A monumental music event that aims to bring together more than 2 billion people on 7/7/07 to raise awareness about global warming. With 24 hours of music across 7 continents and performances by more than 150 of the world's top musicians, Live Earth will engage, connect, and inspire individuals, corporations and governments to take action to solve the climate crisis.

International artistes who have confirmed their performances include:
Sheryl Crow
Alicia Keys
Kayne West
Faith Hill
The Smashing Pumpkins
Kelly Clarkson
Black Eyed Peas
Bon Jovi
Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Beastie Boys
Jack Johnson
John Mayer
Foo Fighters
Damien Rice
Roger Waters
Kylie Minogue
James Blunt
Snow Patrol
Lenny Kravitz
Jennifer Lopez
Snoop Dogg
The Police
Duran Duran
Eskimo Joe... & a whole lot more!

Live Earth happens on 07-07-07 at 7pm on Channel 5!

However, it does make me wonder if Earthfest is on anymore. This monkey will update everybody as soon as I can find out more.

Read full article here

Friday, June 15, 2007

LiveEarth and Earthfest 07.07.07

On 7th of July 2007, or 07.07.07, a mega event will be happening all over the globe. A rock concert of a global scale will be happening in 9 cities around the world with one cause in mind: giving a voice to the combating the climate crises that we all face.

Live Earth will use the global reach of music to engage people on a mass scale to combat our climate crisis.
In the 9 cities, rock concerts will be performed live by big names like Red Hot Chilli Pepper, SnoopDogg, Dave Matthew Band, etc. On top of that there will be live satellite broadcast free around the world.

As a partner to the event, Singapore is organizing its earth-fest 07.07.07 to coincide with Live Earth and we will too be broadcasting 'live' the live earth concerts right here at the area near Merlion Park. What more it is going to be a 24 hours event from the morning of 7th July all the way till the morning of 8th July!

Live Earth is a 24-hour, 7-continent series of 9 concerts taking place on 7/7/07 that will bring together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis.

Live Earth will reach this worldwide audience through an unprecedented global media architecture covering all media platforms - TV, radio, Internet and wireless channels.

It would probably come as no surprise that the people behind Live Earth, SOS is headed by Al Gore and Kevin Wall, an emmy-award winning producer!

Stay tuned to this space for more information. Meanwhile, check out Live Earth website for its daily "climate crisis solutions" green tips from the "Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook". Below is an example.

You can also sign up for live updates from the LiveEarth twitter feed. Get Live Earth tips sent direct to your cellphones via sms updates from Twitter. Add Liveearth070707 as your friend on twitter today!

Read full article here

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Last bit of nakedness on sentosa

It's been exactly a week since the last day of the Naked Hermit Crab walk series ended on 7 June 2007. While this post does come a bit late in terms of its newsbreaking quality which citizen journalism is supposed to be known for, I suppose this will serve as an editorial and feature equivalent.

The last day was a particularly exciting one. As I was not guiding that day, I had the leisure, and pleasure, to wield my camera and snap to my delight. While I was happily documenting the day's event and organisms encountered, I was also the hunter/seeker for the group but honestly I think I serve my purpose on earth as a guide as I simply don't have any catching or spotting abilities. Well I did catch a juvenile damselfish, relative of the anemone clownfish, and caught 2 other fish fry and some sea lice but that's another story to be told later. But if I were ever to survive in the wild, I think my hunting skills lack sorely. Yet while hai-ren and I lament about our poor catching skills, we wonder why people with ill intent are usually so much "luckier" as sometimes we cannot even spot the organisms lurking around. I can only conclude that time, experience and the ugly lure of money make people do all kinds of things.

Hairen looking for fish and athropods as hunter/seeker for the day

But before you misunderstand, the role of a hunter/seeker amongst the naked hermit crab has nothing to do with a hunter or, god forbid, a poacher. Their job is to seek out the shores for animals to bring back safely in open containers, without giving them too much stress although this is unavoidable, to show visitors on the beach without them having to trample all over the inter-tidal areas looking for them. Centralizing the animals in one area would also allow everybody to view the specimens to their own time and pace without worrying the animals will swim away. Besides, it's always hard to have every one in the group see a goby or other small animals in the water before it tries to swim or burrow away from sight. Sometimes the organisms are so tiny that it helps to bring it up to eye level.

Can you spot the goby? It's not easy without some help!

Why am I talking in depth about this? Well a few days ago I thought to write about the day's events and as I was looking at the photo of hairen trawling the shores for finds, I suddenly realized that had the photo been seen out of context, it would be almost incriminating. If you, like me, feel that poaching should be strongly clamped down on, then yes, it is important to see the distinction of our roles.

Sights are marked out. See only, no touch!

However, when I saw a granny amongst our participants go down near a rock during the walk and instead of admiring the sight, started to take out a pair of prongs and knock away at the shellfish and snails to collect them in a big bag within her hands, I felt this strong urge to scream my horror. It made me reflect that had I brought my parents who often did this as a kid, how do you tell them that the shore is now a museum - see only, no touch - when decades ago, this was their market, fresh for the picking where the only cost is your labour?

Inculcating respect in kids in a wholly different way

How many children did I tell not to pick the shells where growing up, parents and kids stroll beaches for the sole purpose of "shell collecting" because it was the activity to do? How much can one or two shell hurt you ask. Well one shell collector too many seek out live animals to find the biggest and most beautiful shells to sell on the market. Shells are also homes to animals and eventually break down and become part of the coral sand, a source of sand nourishment for our constantly and naturally eroding beaches. In fact, Seacology recently published a list of "10 things to do to save our world's islands" and listed not taking shells home as one of the ways to save our beaches!

That aside, it's was a wonderful day with many photographic rewards. In fact, early in the day we spotted a dark layer of smog settling over the industrial estate of jurong island and the west of Singapore. I am happy to say that the post I wrote on the topic got me tomorrowed! In fact, Jen Lee called me the other day asking more. Those interested will be happy to know I'm digging more into the topic.

The clouds were simply spectacular that day

Despite being not very good at catching swimming crabs, it was still a day full of wildlife encounters from the regulars like the water monitor lizard we met at the seawall to the collared kingfisher that posed for me patiently. Terrestrial animals aside, we also saw eel fish, damselfish, mosaic crab, red egg crab and many a hairy crab. Of course we always meet the hermit crabs, thankfully usually shelled and clothed.

Sessile organisms were a plenty too! The usual soft corals, hard corals and everybody's spongebob multishape-pants. No sea cucumber that day but many others were encountered the previous 2 days. It was also the first time the terrestrial monkey learnt that mushroom corals can actually be picked up and removed from the water without killing it! Usually corals produce calcium carbonate that form the structure of the reef by making itself an extension of the reef. However, mushroom corals are not sessile and instead it becomes detached from its "stalk" when it matures so that others can grow from the same stalk!

Mushroom coral

We were also lucky to have Angie and Vilma from NSS, tree experts who shared with us and confirmed out suspicions as to the identity of the sea teak, a rare coastal tree seen in abundance at Sentosa! There was of course also the raffles pitcher plant with its distinct patterns. Not forgetting the variety of other plants found growing from our cliffs. What more, after much appeal from Joe Lai and other nature lovers, Resort World @ sentosa decided to save and transplant almost 200 stands of trees in its coastal forest in a last minute bid to conserve the forest and make peace with the fervent feedback and request from public. It remains unclear to the monkey if the right trees were actually saved but is it supposed to be a consolation that the trees cut down to make way for the IR would now be turned into furniture on the island?!

Pitcher plants

I did however find that some people have the misconception that if trees are found, the soil is less likely to erode. Pardon me if I am wrong but if a tree is found on a steep slope, it serves to hold loose soils together so as to prevent rainwater and runoff from washing the loose topsoil away. However, if you have trees growing on edge of cliffs or even on the cliff itself, the roots of the plant tend to grow into fractures and line of weaknesses that further loosen and widen the faultline, causing the cliff to be weakened and eventually the material will break off from the cliff. Yes, this is what we call biotic erosion agents. Some plant roots produces chemicals that react with the rocks to erode them. So it is both good for your slopes and bad for your cliffs! :)

Erosion is not necessarily a bad thing though. Without erosion, we won't have the sand or soil that would eventually deposit on our slopes or shores!

Look how clear the water is! That's eroded particles and coral rubble (soon to be eroded) we are stepping on! :) But it helps that no reclamation nearby to muddy the water up but will this change soon once reclamation begins nearby?

For more photos of the day's event, see my flickr set.

If you are keen to see Naked Hermit Crabs in action on Sentosa, here's your chance:

Date: 19 Jun 07
Time: Starts 7.30am
Duration of walk: Family Trail=1.5 hours, Adventure Trail=2.5 hours.
Cost: $5 per person (does not include Sentosa entrance fees and charges)
Exact details on meeting point will be provided to those who register for the walks.
For more information, see Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs.

Read full article here

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Day 2 of Naked Hermit Crabs @ Sentosa

Everyday I find it almost impossible to believe that this magnificent piece of coast line and intertidal haven is on Sentosa, the island known more for its fake beaches, bikini-clad babes and volleyball hunks.

Second day into our Nature's IR series on Sentosa, and second day of monkeying around with families. I've decided that much of our children's education through the television helps to relate them to animals of our shores - spongebob squarepants and of course finding nemo are references that keep the spirits high.

It really heartens the spirit to see so many inquisitive and interested young'uns who would be, cliche as this sounds, the hope of our future. Maybe it's because we have very enlightened parents who would take the initiative to bring them out in the first place so perhaps we are converting the converted. But having the children with us would ensure that they start young and hopefully we are producing a new generation of aware adults in the future. While some of the parents may just be as much a novice as their children, having been urbanites and not experienced the shore in the "flesh", i feel heartened that they are just as eager as their children to learn and improve.

My favourite quote of the day would be from the daddy in green. When his daughter called out in excitement for her daddy to hurry over and see the latest find, he replied,

"wait! daddy is [walking slowly and] trying not to kill anything!"

That really made my day. Thank you Team Egg crab! Yesterday we were hairy crabs and saw many of the crabs we were named after and today, being team egg crab, we met many egg crabs instead! Of course Duck, my co-guide of the day just informed me that he mistakenly identified this mosaic crab on the right as the red egg crab. Ah well, it's ok duck, you are most forgiven. I think often I learn more in a day of guiding than at any other times. It really forces one to learn on the spot and be on our toes. But I am always grateful that the participants are very forgiving creatures as if aware of the fact that we are there just as much to learn as they are. It's a sharing after all. I don't think I was ashamed to say no when one of the teenagers asked if we could cite the genera and species of corals we spotted.

Still, nothing beats touching and feeling the plants and animals for the first time. The excitement in their eyes when they held a sea cucumber for the first time. Watching it try to scare us off by peeing right in front of us for the first time. Whether young or old, it's such a wonderous experience, right under that wide expanse of sand sea and the broad blue sky.

For more photos, see my flickr set.
For photos of the adventure trail, friend and participant, evie, has uploaded her photos here.

Read full article here

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

NakedHermitCrabs at Sentosa Day 1

It looks just like any of our wonderful inter-tidal shores but what makes this beach more of a hidden treasure of Singapore is that it's right at our doorstep on Sentosa!

Many people think of Sentosa as a man-made island with artificial beaches but even our most manicured faces hide many wonderful surprises. And it is this little known face of Sentosa that the naked hermit crabs and friends got to know very well today.

Head Hermit Crab, Ron, describing animatedly about Gobies to the enrapt families at the tidal pool

The tide was wonderful and the kids all had fun with their moms and dads, exploring the different shells and scales of animals on this rocky shore, coral rubble and seagrass meadow.

Satisfied members of Team Hairy Crab at the end of the walk

At the end of the walk, we also got every family to share and write, or draw, what they felt about Nature's IR at Sentosa and all that they have seen that day. The kids really put their hearts into it and we all learn something new and see something new that morning.

For more photos of the morning's walk, see my flickr set.

There is still two more days of walk to go but meanwhile, other nakedhermitcrabs have shared their photos as well:

  • God's Wonderful Creation: Naked Hermit Crabs at Sentosa
  • Urban Forest: Naked @ Sentosa
  • Where Discovery Begins: Sentosa Walk with Naked Hermit Crabs on 6 June 2007

    Read full article here