Thursday, March 12, 2009

I signed the No Whaleshark petition, have you?

Today I signed a "no whaleshark in Singapore" petition that is supported by many major organizations locally and internationally such as PETA, Sea Shepherds, ACRES, Cicada Tree Eco-Place and the Green Volunteers.

The good thing about this petition is that once I put my name down to the form, it will email the pre-written letter (which you can also edit to customize) to the 1) Minister of National Development, 2) the Singapore Tourism Board and 3) Resorts World at Sentosa.

Shortly after I click sign, I got an automated reply from Resorts World with the following:

Corporate Social Responsibility "" to "" 5:23pm

Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

We will be compiling your comments and addressing the points raised. Do visit our website ( for updates.

We look forward to welcoming you at the Marine Life Park.

The Marine Life Park Team
All I can say is, I will not be visiting the Marine Life Park.

And that is precisely why I signed the petition isn't it? How could they be asking me to visit the marine life park? I will not use my consumer dollars to support the captivity of large marine mammals. It's interesting that the whaleshark petition website quotes Jacques Cousteau. When I was in US, I was the news intern for Jacques' son, Jean Michael Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society who actually led the campaign to free the star of Free Willy, Keiko. Since then, I have never visited a single "marine life park" or "sea world".

Whale flute sighted in the wild. Photo taken in 2005.

Definitely not after I had the pleasure of going on a whale kayaking trip and seeing these large animals free in the wild. A whale shark is not a whale but there is no difference. Besides, first a whale shark, next a whale? No animal of that size should be kept in a tank. No fish tank would ever be big enough to replace the ocean. This is not a gold fish we can flush down the toilet bowl after it dies. Are we willing to take responsibility for that?

Have you signed the petition yet?

Read full article here

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Horseshoe Crab Survey needs your help!

The NSS Horseshoe Crab survey team is hoping to engage the help of nature guides and volunteers who visits our shores and mangroves regularly. Have you seen horseshoe crabs on our shores, beaches and mangroves? If yes, please help the NSS HSC team by filling in their survey questionaire.

You can either print out the questionnaire and post to: Nature Society (Singapore), 510 Geylang Road #02-05 The Sunflower, S 389466, Attention: HSC P&D Survey, or save the questionnaire as a word document and e-mail the completed questionnaire to: by Wed. 18 March.

"In conjunction with Nature Society (Singapore) Horseshoe Crab Population & Distribution Survey today, 8 March, besides our teams searching the shores and surveying professional and recreational fisherman, we would like to survey our local network of Guides/Nature lovers regarding the 2 types of Horseshoe Crabs found on our shores.

Attached is a Questionnaire and photos of the 2 types of Horseshoe Crabs [above].

We would be very greatful for your help in spending a few minutes of your time to answer a few questions.

Our thanks to all respondents, in advance, for the help."

Read full article here

Volunteers needed to promote Earth Hour at IT Fair

Earth Hour was started in Sydney in 2006. 'One Hour, No Power' was the original tagline. For one hour, the Sydney Opera House turned off its lights to show its commitment and spread awareness for climate change. It was an event to reduce their carbon footprint, in bid to reduce global warming. Today, it is no longer a Sydney event, but a global movement. This year 2009, Singapore has made a stand and will be officially committed to Earth Hour. Even the DPM's office made a pledge to do so! This year, it will be lights out Esplanade!

In Singapore, Earth Hour is organized and managed by the Singapore office of WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and recently they were informed that they would be able to promote Earth Hour at the upcoming IT Fair at Suntec this week. Knowing the turn out at these IT fairs, this will reach out to a huge number of people. Thus they are urgently looking for volunteers. Below is the email request from them.

Dear Volunteers,

I have received last minute information that we WWF can promote Earth Hour during the IT fair at Suntec this Thursday till Sunday (12-15th March).

We will be sharing a booth with SingTel (an Earth Hour sponsor!), to promote e-billing as well as Earth Hour! It will be a wonderful opportunity to meet people and raise awareness of Earth Hour as, we all know the crowd during the IT fair will be humongous!

I understand that it is extremely last minute, but if you are able to make it and would like to volunteer, please let me know.

12th (Thurs): 12pm - 4:30pm / 4:30pm - 9pm
13th (Friday): 12pm - 4:30pm / 4:30pm - 9pm
14th (Saturday): 12pm - 4:30pm / 4:30pm - 9pm
15th (Sunday): 12pm - 4:30pm / 4:30pm - 9pm

As usual, please let me know which time slots you are available. If you are able to volunteer for the whole day, you're more than welcomed!

Thank you very much once again for all your support. 17 days to Earth Hour!
Warmest regards,
If you are not free this weekend, they are also looking for volunteers for the following:

* roadshows/exhibition (21st to 27th March)
o to coordinate with WWF Singapore
o you need not commit everyday - even a single shift or two (two shifts a day) will be great.

* on site for CBD area on 28th March.
o to coordinate the 'Black-out' of the buildings

* on ground at Esplanade Park on 28th March.
o to faciliate and manage the crowd and event at the park.

To help out with these activities, contact Tan Sijie Ivan (
There will be a training session this Sat, 14th March, 2pm at Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens with WWF (Map attached). It will be a simple training session lasting no longer than 2 hours.

Read full article here

Monday, March 09, 2009

Who cut off my crown?

One could not help but wonder the intention behind the almost complete trim. Short of actually cutting down the tree, the arborist has done a good job of eliminating all the plant's photosynthesis capacity. Is this death?

Interestingly, the many resident epiphytes have been left intact. I wonder if this reveal a certain understanding of how important these plants are, not just in terms of providing shade for humans but also home for other plants and animals.

Still it's a sad and curious sight to see these extreme trimmings. I am often reminded by Angie of NSS who laments these extreme "haircuts" by the arborists employed in Singapore. Was there an infestation in this tree? Is it half dead? Was it about to fall and hurt someone?

These big trees can sometime also serve as homes for predatory raptors. For one, there is a couple of owls that lives in the area that have been observed to stand watch on these big raintrees on campus. I wonder where will they go now if all the raintrees are decapitated.

Read full article here