Ringing in the New Year!

Source: Robert Miguel
Source: Robert Miguel

Whether in reverence of revelry, I’m sure that many of you are planning to usher in the New Year with joy! As you gear up for the countdown parties at Marina Bay, Sentosa or in the heartlands, take a time-out to take stock of the past. And as you do that, remember also the many who will struggle to smile this year-end – because of a host of reasons including… climate change.

*Cringe!* Yes, I said it. The C words. The words that most of us avoid all year-round let alone on New Year’s eve! This baby’s one boomerang that just keeps coming back. No matter how irreverently we toss it around our headspace.

Climate Change is a battle. For many, it’s one they’re caught up in unwillingly – and losing, sadly. For others, its effects are (for now) out of sight – out of mind. But it’ll be wise to note that our buffers are fast wearing thin and it’ll be not long before all of us bear the brunt of indifference as climate change hits the home stretch.

In Singapore, there’s been unsettling news of the discovery of the wreckage and bodies of AirAsia flight QZ8501. The flight reportedly struggled to circumnavigate large thunderclouds, crashed into the sea and its wreckage and bodies are now being salvaged under duress in bad weather. Even as AirAsia’s CEO puts this event down to ‘unique weather’, the BBC reckons it is very unusual for accidents to be caused by pilots failing to deal with bad weather at high altitudes.

Closer still, nearly 250,000 people have left their homes in Malaysia after a battering of heavy rain and flash floods – the likes of which haven’t been experienced in a decade. Parts of Thailand (five provinces in total) are currently under water while the Philippines is reeling from tropical storm Jangmi which only just hit.

Thankfully, my colleague – Timothy and I were spared the floods in JB when we visited the area to go-kart over the weekend.
I’m not convinced we can continue attributing all these events to ‘a string of bad luck’ for these countries (especially Malaysia). The ripple effects of climate change will continue to impact with greater intensity, the security of food, energy and infrastructure (all of which Singapore is near-completely reliant on other countries).

We have to fight this. There’s no way out – sink or swim. And we’ll have to tackle every aspect of it. The increase in heat-trapping emissions. The rising temperatures. Global warming. You get the picture.

I know. It’s New Year’s eve. Will cut you some slack. Kick back, enjoy. But come 2015, we’ll all hafta put on our climate change game face.

As you prepare to party, have a look at a stop-motion animation on climate change by two TJC students who recently interned in our department at Science Centre Singapore.  It’ll give you some ideas on combating climate change.

Happy New Year in advance hey and… take the train to that countdown party, will ya!

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