Fireside Chat, Fireside Chat

Fireside Chat: Our Conservation Story with Dr Andie Ang, Nor Lastrina and Kathy Xu

BFF fireside chats are small-group sessions specially organised for BFF-ers to get to know an experienced member of the biodiversity scene in a small-group setting. In our first digital Fireside Chat, the BFF team was honoured to invite three experienced members active in the environmental scene in Singapore. These three ladies have contributed their efforts in their respective organisations and interest groups, from fighting climate change to saving biodiversity both locally and abroad.

Our guests for the online fireside chat are Dr Andie Ang, the President of Jane Goodall Institute Singapore (JGIS), Ms Nor Lastrina Hamid, the co-founder of Singapore Youth for Climate Action (SYCA) and Ms Kathy Xu, founder of The Dorsal Effect.

These three ladies hail from different backgrounds – Andie is a primatologist and who is passionate about the Raffles Banded Langur, a native monkey found in Singapore’s forests. During the session, Andie shared about the synergies with other organisations in the Raffles Banded Langur Working Group, set up to conserve these langurs.

Nor Lastrina, well-known in the climate change circles as an active community organiser, shared about her inner desire to see change and her calling towards the environment which resonates with SYCA‘s vision to meaningfully engage more youths in climate action or environment-related volunteerism.

Kathy Xu shared about her career as a shark advocate, running an ecotourism business, The Dorsal Effect, that promotes shark conservation and sustainable livelihoods for shark fishermen through alternative means generated by ecotourism and educational awareness, in order to promote healthier marine ecosystems.

Fireside Chat speakers and attendees

After learning about the backgrounds of each speaker, the discussion eased into the event which led to the crossing of their paths. Last November, the SG Green Groups Town Hall was organised to put forward nominees for a greater representation of voices for the environment in the Singapore Parliament. Andie, Nor Lastrina and Kathy shared their personal experiences and how it was a crucial period of time for them and the community in terms of making environmental progress in Singapore.

The conversation also touched on the SG Green Plan, as well as whether conflict occurs between the different stakeholders in Singapore, and the efficacy of various engagement platforms meant to reach middle grounds. We ended off the session hearing about the motivations that keep the speakers going, such as the conversations with people who come together to do things, and being able to contribute their strengths for a good cause.

Overall, the session gave us interesting insights, thanks to the thought-provoking questions asked by the attendees. The session was moderated by Ms Tan Yin Ling, BFF alumni and facilitator, and Mr N Sivasothi, advisor to BFF. We would like to thank our three speakers, moderators and our audience who joined us on the Friday evening.