“Wrap your fish in pandan leaves!”
Oh boy, just the thought of uncles and aunties walking around in a supermarket, with fishes wrapped in pandan leaves, is hilarious!
Oh wait, is that pandan leaves wrapped around Dr Coleman’s head? HAHA ok, I better stop fooling around.
Anyways, so at last, I finally had the opportunity to interview Dr. Coleman, who is a wildlife biologist and a lecturer at NUS. Dr. Coleman specialises in urban ecology and her research interests include the study of bats and birds of prey and conservation.
Dr. Coleman came to Singapore in 2012, and in her opinion, the most critical environmental issue in Singapore is the need to balance between development and the preservation of habitats. Like many conservationists I know, Dr. Coleman is also very passionate about preserving biodiversity. I still vividly remember how Dr. Coleman teared up just before she ended her lecture on the global loss of biodiversity.
Seeing Dr. Coleman teared up over the decline of biodiversity had an impact on me. And honestly, I have been thinking about how this post should be written. Perhaps I should start by saying, biodiversity is everywhere, regardless of our location.
To many people, Singapore, with a total land area of 721.5km², is well-known for being the little red dot. But it’s amazing how this little red dot, is also home to 390 species of birds, and more than 2,100 native vascular plants species (National Parks Board, 2018).
However, sharing this knowledge may not help individuals to better appreciate the huge variety of fauna and flora in Singapore. And I wonder if the sharing of how biodiversity is essential in ensuring the stability of ecosystem functions, and that biodiversity loss may have unprecedented impacts on humanity (Cardinale, et al., 2012) will help to eliminate the ignorance in some of us.
But why should we conserve?
Putting aside the various economic, social and environmental reasons, perhaps we should ask ourselves if it’s morally right to be the reasons why animals and plants go extinct. Most of us know it isn’t.
Think about the pandas. Would you bear to let them go extinct? Many people wouldn’t for a myriad of reasons. And thankfully because humanity isn’t willing to let this cute animal disappear from the surface of the Earth, much conservation efforts have taken place and in 2016, we managed to help pandas rebound off the list of endangered animals (BBC News, 2016).
But I was just wondering if it’d be better for the pandas to have gone extinct, just so humanity would finally start repenting for our mistakes.
Personally, I don’t think it’s a question of whether the pandas will go extinct, but when it will happen. On the brighter side, perhaps when the pandas are extinct, mankind will finally understand the impacts our actions have on the planet. The sad part? Everything would be too late.
As humans, we hate to lose. Yet, ironically, we are the ones who brought this losing battle on ourselves because most of us choose to be ignorant about our actions.
P.S. For the full transcript, click here!
BBC News. (2016, September 4). Giant pandas rebound off endangered list. BBC News. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-37272718
Cardinale, B. J., Duffy, J. E., Gonzalez, A., Hooper, D. U., Perrings, C., Venail, P., . . . Larigauderie. (2012). Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity. Nature, 486(7401), 59-67. doi: 10.1038/nature11148
Data.gov.sg. (2018, January 24). Total Land Area of Singapore. Retrieved from https://data.gov.sg/dataset/total-land-area-of-singapore
National Parks Board. (2018, March 21). Biodiversity. Retrieved from https://www.nparks.gov.sg/biodiversity