Bright and early on the March 25, many gathered at the Jurong Spring Community Club for the Earth Hour Symposium as well as the night carnival (supported by National Youth Council), which followed after. From 9:45am to 3pm, there were talks by various speakers, all passionate individuals who believe in playing their part to help the environment and living sustainably.
Our first speaker was Ms. Lastrina, who shared with us her enriching experience and takeaways from attending the UN Climate Change Conference. Inspiring individuals, youths in particular to contribute in greening Singapore one step at a time. Following which, Ms. Karen Lee, from Interface Singapore Pte. Ltd., a social enterprise that embodies sustainability in business opened our eyes to the possibility of profit driven companies coexisting with nature. Next, we had Mr. Emmanuel Tay from Sembcorp Tay Paper Recycling Pte. Ltd. who implored youths to use technology to aid waste and recycling efforts.
In between the talks, there was a scrumptious halal-vegetarian lunch, where participants of the event were encouraged to adapt #ditchdadisposables. There were no disposable cutlery or plates and instead, participants used reusable containers to get their food.
The talk continued with more speakers, including Mr. Tiew Chew Meng PBM from South West CDC, Ms. Esther An from City Developments Ltd., Dr Shawn Lum (President of Nature Society Singapore) and the Guest of Honor, Mr Desmond Lee (Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development). Various perspectives were given throughout this session on how everyone can do their part in preserving the world’s sustainability, as explained by Mr. Tiew from the community organizations and groups’ side as well as Ms. An from the corporates’ point of view. Questions from the audience, also spurred discussion among the speakers. At the end of the session, Mr Lee thanked everyone who attended the symposium and proceeded to visit the event booths.
From 1pm onwards, there were other exhibitions and workshops for interested participants to join, such as natural soap making, plant propagation and upcycle workshop. At the event area, the public could freely enjoy terrarium making and plank art workshop at zero cost! All the workshops were fun and interesting, and each had a meaningful message behind it. The plank art workshop for example, invited the participants to paint on a plank, drawings that were related to the Earth. Taking the time to paint allowed the participants to really think about what they are painting and how they can make Earth a better place to live. Children and elderlies alike paint their hearts out; we ran out of blank planks before the sky even got dark!
Other than the workshops, there were also booths from various organizations such as World Wildlife Fund Singapore (WWF), National Environmental Agency (NEA) and the National Parks Board (Nparks). These booths are part of the night carnival which began at 3pm. Participants could walk around the various booths, learning more about what the organizations do for the environment as well as how to live their lives more sustainably and at the same time enjoy some simple games to earn stamps in exchange for a goodie bag.
During the night event, various performances are presented by student groups from NTU. All the youthful dances lit up the event and set up just the right atmosphere for the highlight of the event, the Lights Out!
At 8:30pm, the lights in the stage area and around it were all switched off as Earth Hour approached. Serving as the light in the dark, Project Eartha made its debut in the middle of the audience area. Project Eartha is a globe figure assembled by the united hearts and minds of the Earthlink Earth Hour team and Jurong Spring CC YEC members by using disposable bottles and is lit up using dynamo energy generated from a bicycle! Project Eartha’s objective is none other than to serve as a proof that sincere collective efforts could conjure a little spark in the midst of darkness and make a difference.
With only the little light from the stage floor, we enjoyed more dances and singing performances! The most amazing moment of the night is when the audience (including the distinguished guests) all stood up, put their hands in the air, and sang along two songs from the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, Heal the World and We Are the World. Our voices echoed throughout the area to affirm our determination to make the world a better place together!
After half an hour (instead of a full hour for safety purposes), the lights were turned back on. The final section of the event which the audience has been waiting for eagerly, the lucky draw, was then started! The top 3 winners were decided by a game of trivia facts about Earth Hour, like when Earth Hour was first celebrated in Singapore (2009).
With that, Earth Hour 2017 ends. By organizing this event, Earthlink NTU hopes to instill the fire of environmentalism within the hearts of all participants. A change, as small as it may be, will grow up to be a big wave which will bring about more people joining the cause. If we don’t start treating the world better, there may not be any chance left in the future.
“Heal the world, make it a better place. For you, and for me, and the entire human race.”