5 June 2020 – After learning about biodiversity through various activities and online engagements, it was time for the BFFers to take it one step further and get a ‘behind-the-scenes’ (BTS) look into the local conservation scene. On World Environment Day (5 June), we sat down for an exciting panel discussion featuring 3 leaders in conservation, facing off with 3 BFF alumna ‘Youth Interrogators’!
Due to unforeseen circumstances, Dr Shawn Lum, President of the Nature Society Singapore, stood in for Sivasothi in our panel.:
We had a great turnout of about 100 audience members consisting of BFF Challenge participants and alumni, NUS Environmental Biology Interest Group (NUS EVBig), LKCNHM Toddycats and more.
It was a jam-packed programme, starting with some fun Quickfire Questions (Yes/No) for our panel. We then heard from each panel member about their personal journeys and how they got involved in conservation. They then shared insights on how Singapore’s biodiversity scene has evolved, and the mechanisms behind policy planning and development projects. Finally, we zoomed out to consider the bigger picture – challenges in finding a balance between conservation and economic growth, and the impact of our actions in Singapore on an international scale.
Here’s what one of our BFFers, Steffi, thought about the event (Click here to read her entire reflection):
“One of my largest takeaways was this “mitigation mindset” that many unknowingly have. Many of us don’t hate Nature. We wouldn’t mind having it around, but because Singapore is just so small, so bopian (no choice), Nature has got to go to give way for development. The danger with this defeated mindset is that we’ll always give up Nature over development, our perceived only choice is to mitigate the damage. Such thinking doesn’t only to apply in Singapore, it can be said at any scale and context – the Amazon forest, the Great Barrier Reef, we can always find a constraint that opposes conservation. I think this struck me because it underpins how Nature needs to be a priority.”
It was no doubt an enjoyable and meaningful discussion for all, that reinforced how learning about biodiversity is really just the beginning. Conservation is a complex, multi-faceted issue that is intertwined with many others. Being able to advocate it effectively entails understanding multiple perspectives, and how biodiversity fits with other key aspects of society. As we applaud current conservation efforts and strive to reach greater heights, it is just as important to reflect, evaluate pre-existing assumptions, and keep on asking, “Why liddat?”.
We are grateful to our esteemed panel members for taking the time to join us, and for being so candid with sharing their perspectives and personal stories. We hope that conversations like these help guide our BFFers in their journey to becoming ambassadors for our biodiversity!