Climate Change

Climate change represents one of the biggest threats to the planet at several levels; social, environmental and economic. That climate change is occurring is clear from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea levels. Most of the warming that has occurred over the last 50 years is very likely to have been caused by human activities. The good news is that while many of the issues and impacts relating to climate change are global, there are many actions we can take as individuals (and as schools) to help make a difference.

While the Eco-Committee may have taken some actions towards reducing the school’s direct energy usage and carbon emissions as part of the Energy theme, schools tackling the Climate Change theme need to go further and address the school’s, staff’s, and students’ carbon footprint more holistically. For one, this may include looking into the forms of transport used by staff and students to get to school, since transport accounts for a large proportion of our greenhouse gas emissions. A further issue relating to transport is the growing concern about ‘food miles’. The longer the distance over which food is transported, the more energy is used and greenhouse gases produced. Singapore may not be able to fully depend on local produce as a way to reduce food miles, but we can certainly choose food from the region over those from places that are further away.

The carbon footprint of food and other agricultural products may also depend on the ways they are produced. For example, palm oil, contained in many types of processed food as well as household items, is known to contribute towards rapid deforestation. Thus, the eco-school can take actions to raise awareness about the impact of palm oil and the importance of choosing sustainable palm oil.

Overconsumption also leads to a large carbon footprint, since a large amount of energy is needed to produce the items we buy and use. Thus, promoting sustainable consumption is one way to tackle the climate change issue.
© Martin Harvey / WWF
© Martin Harvey / WWF