This is more than just homework..

Create awareness yet many unaware
September 26, 2010, 9:54 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Many Singaporeans not aware of World Car—Free Day initiative

Just like for everyone else, Wednesday was just another typical school day for me. It was only until I open my internet browser and the report on World Car-Free Day on the default xinmsn browser caught my attention. The perpetually jam-packed Clementi road proved the indifference of people to such a day.

Wednesday marked the World Car-Free Day. A day where Singaporeans are encouraged to cycle, walk, or take public transport instead of driving their own car. Although this initiative is theoretically successful, but in reality, the results are disappointing. The awareness they tried to create was responded by indifference and ignorance. Only a handful of people are unaware and do their part to save this depleting planet. Such a person was Jennifer Oh who chose a 1 hour cycling journey compared to a 20 minutes drive to her workplace. Although it was no doubt admirable of such enthusiast to cycle to work,  it is however only 1 out of 365 days that she cycles to work and, when measured, it saves less than one out of a million gallons of petrol.

This draws me to argue that shouldn’t such an awareness be a whole year round and not just a one day attempt? In fact, it should be a lifestyle and natural instinct to save Mother Nature and not be forced upon us. But at this day and age, it is nearly impossible for people to give two hoots about Mother Nature. With rising consumerism and other nonsense, saving the environment is the last thing one everyone’s mind. I’m sure many would not mind paying a few cents more for supermarkets to provide plastic bags for our groceries as long as it convenient for us.

To me, there is not way we can revert back to the days where there was abundance of crude oil and what seems like a never ending flow of natural resources. However, there is still a need to reinforce the need to use such scarce resources wisely and sparingly. We cannot stop people from driving their cars in which they spent tens of thousands on and take public transport. Instead, to further encourage such an initiative, it should not stop at publicizing but to take a step further to incorporate miscellaneous companies for  more active participation on such a day. For example, imagine a whole company of let’s say,  500 employees cycling to work and the impact it would make to all other working adults in Shenton Way. In this way, it is no longer an attempt to create awareness but a statement for the whole of Singapore to follow.


5 Comments so far
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I agree with you on how creating an awareness to save Mother Nature soon became a statement one has to follow. I guess these days, we humans have to abide by our own priorities and what may seem important to the rest may not be important to us at all? Moreover the world is advancing in a fast pace, and only a handful of use would do what we can to save the earth, whilst the rest would just be practical. I admit I am one of those who prioritize convenience on top of everything else…

Comment by espallkaur

Agreeing to the fact that people should be more aware of the damage we are doing to the environment. Taking this one-day event as an example, it does invite people to do something to protect the environment. However, for now, it will not be effective. Like you said, ignorance in your second paragraph. People are aware but they are ignorant about it. We are living in a modern society, efficiency is what we talk about. Everything we do must be completed in the fastest time as well as giving the most benefit out of it. So take traveling by vehicles as an example. A personal vehicle shortens the time taken for a person to travel to work. Hence, this gives the person more sleep time. So he or she would just choose the easiest way out of driving to work. Though most people know that the huge quantity of cars on the road can lead to the destruction to our environment from all the toxic gas released, but convenience is what people want. So weighing the benefits of protecting the environment and convenience, an average person will just choose convenience because it benefits him or her. Conclusion is that protecting the environment would be the last thing on an average person’s mind. Therefore, even if people did had the intention to participate in any event which helps save mother nature such as this world car-free day, only a handful of people will actually do it. others will just carry on with what is convenient for them. Awareness is created but ignorance takes over the human mind. And in the end, nothing is done to save the environment.

Comment by timo

The way I see it, it is not feasible to get the the population of the world to take measures to protect the environment. It would be like teaching a child a skill and then later telling them to unlearn it.
We, as capitalists, have evolved into self-serving creatures. We never will do anything unless there is a huge benefit for ourselves.

Comment by Dinesh s/o Sivapragsam

“So?” I believe that this would be the response you would get from most people on that fateful Wednesday if you ever attempt to casually mention World Car-Free day loudly in a crowded area.

While it is sad that in this day and age, where Information Technology is at its peak, and information dissemination is both effective and efficient; many people stubbornly refused to heed the advice given by the many gurus of the environment. Why should they do so? Pollution, damage to the environment, the end of the world; these things seemed so intangible and impossible, and when when you compare them to the problems they are dealing with at the present moment, they just do not seem so important anymore. Human beings are mostly shortsighted creatures; they only care about the present and maybe the next few months in advance. However, asking them to consider the future in which their grandson’s grandson has already came into the world, and most will turn away uninterested.

In today’s world, the old adage “time is money” holds true. To many people, every second counts. We are always rushing to get to some destination. Meal-on-the-move, fast food, drive throughs; these are concepts designed for us because we can no longer just take the time to stop, and sit down to have a proper meal. We have long forgotten how to slow down and smell the flowers along the road side. With this scenario acting out right now, who will bother to participate in such initiatives which will cause them to lose precious time?

However, the point that companies’ help should be recruited in this initiative by getting them to implement policies, to so-called ‘force’ their employees into saving the world has merit. Most would argue that companies are profit making organisations, and the idea of wasting time and resources would appeal even less to them; however it should be noted that companies are beginning to realise that they have social obligations to the society as a whole, and profit maximisation no longer remain as the sole purpose of a business organisation. Hence, I feel that the idea has merit, and the chances of companies being accepting of such an intiative are quite high.

I feel that the main obstacle that such initiatives are facing right now, is not so much that people are unaware, but more of the fact that people just could not bring themselves to realise that these intangible and far off possibilities are far more pressing than earning as much as they can right now. To get people to embrace such environment saving initiatives, first they must be convinced that the end of the world, the destruction of Mother Nature is not just something that appears in movie plots, but something as real as the money in their wallets.

Comment by Boon

In this day and age, we have advanced in technology in such tremendous speed ever since the industrial age. The benefits and the convinenece that technology has given to us has clouded the price that we have to pay. It is like a teenager with no concept of finance has been given a credit card, and she is on a swiping frenzy. One day the tab has to close, and when the bill comes, it will be too late to declare bankrupt. Today, in our fast paced -society, even though we are all aware of the damages and the current situation of our environment, we choose to turn the other face and ignore the reality of these problems. It is not integrated into our culture yet to tackle environmental messes in a initiative way. Our generation is enjoying the fruits, and is just not cleaning up after himself. Drastic measures must be made, but that will usually happen only when drastic consequences shows up.

Comment by Adam

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