1. An important start was made last Saturday with the launch of Earth Hour in Singapore. Almost 300 students from Montfort, Damai and Peicai Schools visiting some 10,000 households to explain the meaning of Earth Hour. Although not many families participated, word will spread. Earth Hour has become a global movement. Last year, it was an event in Sydney. This year, people in over a hundred countries participated. I hope Singaporeans will also do so in large numbers.
2. The challenge of global warming cannot be solved by governments alone. Without popular understanding and support, the hard decisions that have to be taken will be avoided or postponed. Global warming is a fact. How much that warming is caused by human beings is unclear. But we better err on the side of safety and cut down on the emission of greenhouse gases especially carbon dioxide. Energy conservation has to be a way of life. Protecting the environment needs to become a part of our survival instinct. It is good that the Earth Hour movement in Singapore is being spearheaded by the young. 'Earth Hour at the Heartlands' was organised by youths from the Singapore Environmental Challenge Organisation, Montfort Service Learning Club, Northeast CDC and Punggol Community Club Youth Executive Committee.
3. I was carried by the enthusiasm of the students who participated. At 8pm, we broke our light sticks, collected our food and watched the Simpsons Movie in darkness. This movement may turn viral. If it does, the work of the UN to broker a grand bargain among the nations of the world reducing carbon emissions will be made much easier. I left Punggol CC feeling greatly inspired.
SPEECH BY GEORGE YEO, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, ON THE OCCASION OF EARTH HOUR IN THE HEARTLANDS AT PUNGGOL COMMUNITY CLUB ON 29 MARCH 2008 AT 7.45 PM
1 I am delighted to join all of you here this evening for the “Earth Hour In The Heartlands”. It is a key event for the Earth Hour Singapore Grassroots Movement. We are part of a global initiative to promote energy conservation that was started in Sydney last year.
2 Led by the Singapore Environment Challenge Organisation, with Montfort Service Learning Club, North East CDC and Punggol CC YEC as partners, this event has been organised by youth volunteers aged 16 to 23 who are passionately concerned with the protection of our environment.
3 Global Warming is a huge challenge which the nations of the world have to grapple with together. As citizens of Planet Earth, each and everyone of us have the responsibility to make the right choices in our daily lives. Let the solution begin with us. Don't waste energy. Don't pollute our environment. Look after one another.
4 Earlier today, about 200 students visited some 10,000 households to spread the word about Global Warming and how every household can make a difference. They invited residents to turn off the lights tonight for Earth Hour and, if they could, to join us here with their family members.
5 Together with 128 countries in all the continents, we gather here tonight to celebrate Earth Hour by switching off lights for an hour between 8 pm to 9 pm local time. This is a symbolic act to express our personal commitment to a global cause. To help the hour pass faster, we are screening “The Simpsons Movie”.
6 I thank you all for participating and wish you an enjoyable meaningful evening. Remember, everyone has to do his part.
Do also read my posts on Beyond SG