We are Youth for Ecology (ecoYOUth) a community of youth who care about Singapore’s future and its environment. We aim to take ownership by building a platform for youth from all walks of life to voice and exchange their perspectives with reason and conviction.
We view ecology holistically, as encompassing not only our natural ecology – in terms of the trees, vines, bushes, fungi, insects, worms, birds, and larger animals of all shapes and sizes that live alongside us – but also human interactions with the environment and with each other.
Our core purpose is to foster greater personal engagement and reflection among youth regarding local environmental issues, by being a safe and independent platform for discussion, and through that, also act as their voice to the public.
EcoYOUth is an organisation formed in January 2013, independent of any existing NGO, government-run body or political party.
We want to conduct focus groups (“Dialogues”) with the Youth (13 to 25) residing in Singapore. Through these dialogue sessions, we would like to provoke in our participants more thinking about the natural environment and in the future of Singapore as well as to gather opinions on what everyone perceives/ considers to be important in the long run.
Key sentiments identified in these dialogues will guide our research that shall involve reliable and existing fields of knowledge like sustainability, conservation, and development. The results of these dialogues and research efforts will go towards a publication that will be made available from this website and copies of it will be forwarded to the Parliament and media outlets.
- Youth engagement: To empower youth to progress from knowing about our environment and society, towards thinking, developing perspectives, and expressing views.
- Environmental consciousness: To be a credible platform for debate on local environmental issues, characterised by compassion, respect, and clear thought.
- National relevance: To encourage a sense of ownership over our future as individuals, Singaporeans and world citizens.
Increased Public Discourse
With the release of the Population White Paper and the Land Use Plan, we observed many bringing up their concerns over dinner conversations, in school cafeterias, and all over the Internet. Clearly, anyone who wishes to stick around in Singapore in the long run would have spent some time mulling over the Paper and its implications. The question is out there: What do you want for Singapore in 2030?
The Environmental Crisis
Several of us read the White Paper on our phones while traveling. As regular commuters, we were concerned with peak hour congestion, and thus we began caring about the environmental impact of the White Paper’s proposals. Taking a closer look at the MRT maps for 2030, we wondered if there were satisfactory explanations for the proposed CRL route cutting through the Central Catchment Reserve and fragmenting the forest. This led us further into issues about Singapore’s natural environment. Reading about environmental and sustainability sectors growing overseas we think: What about Singapore, what can we do?
The Youth Voice
There are not many credible platforms open to teenagers to express their views and be taken seriously. Many of us are frustrated by a seeming domination of politicised perspectives on traditional and alternative media, or put off by the technical and policy-oriented focus of many public discussions. Traditional media label youth as apathetic, uncaring about Singapore, or unable to express sensible, informed views. While there are some who fulfil the stereotype, there is a growing number of young people who care, and want to give sincere and informed opinion – and we think it is time they are encouraged to explore the subject matter further.
We thus stand at the confluence of three waves of social phenomena – increased public discourse, the environmental crisis, and the feeling among youth that we are unable to speak for ourselves. With these in mind, and a dose of hope, we want to speak for the Singapore we want to live in.