“Let’s make use of natural heritage to cut down huge ecological footprint,” by Hugh Tan and L.M. Chou and Darren Yeo and Peter Ng. The Straits Times [In Review – Tech & Science], 26 May 2007
No matter how small the habitats, protecting them is better then having them eliminated
WE HAVE become aware of how important the natural heritage is to the environment and to human society. People in this region rely heavily on natural resources – providing them with food and material.
But in urban Singapore, just how useful is our natural heritage? What can we expect from the isolated pockets of nature and how do we justify conservation when the demand for land is so acute?
We do not depend on the natural habitat for food, or material for construction or other purposes. Fishing is carried out but on a limited scale.
As a nation with limited land and sea, we depend very much on imported food and material. Singapore is environmentally unsustainable.
Our ecological footprint is large, estimated at 7.2ha per person. This is the area of land needed to generate the amount of food and material needed by each person here. Our demand is much higher than the global average, which is estimated at 1.7ha per person.
The demand for energy is high as we seek to keep cool indoors. What we have available is equivalent to only 0.1ha per person.
If environmental sustainability is a long way down the road for Singapore, does this mean that we should not worry about protecting the natural environment?