On 24th March 2018, the Bachelor of Environmental Studies [BES] hosted the Symposium on Futures Sustainability at University Town in partnership with Rotary Club of Suntec City. BES Student Committee President Nicole Lim [BES Class of 2019] expands on the symposium’s origins, “SFS2018 was conceived with the motivation to connect with the wider environmental community and convey environmental knowledge to the public in an accessible way. Having the privilege to learn about the environment through BES, we have the responsibility to protect it through education and outreach such as SFS.”

Themed around Sustainable Blue Spaces, the dialogue brought together speakers from National Parks Board, Nature Society (Singapore), Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and WateROAM Singapore to discuss the complexities behind preserving blue spaces in Singapore and beyond so as to meet society’s increasing demand for water. In conjunction with 2018 being the International Year of the Reef, the Symposium also showcased the work of active blue groups outside NUS like Our Singapore Reefs, Intertidal Watch and Waterways Watch Society, as they highlighted volunteering opportunities within Singapore’s coastal and inland waters. Student facilitators from the BES programme and NUS Environmental Law Students Association lastly presented their undergraduate research and perspectives through roundtable sessions, educating public audience members on the importance of marine biodiversity as well as legal issues pertaining to land use and reclamation in coastal waters. Project Director Chow Tak Wei [BES Class of 2018] remarks, “With this yearly event, we stand alongside our University’s commitment towards environmental sustainability, and believe that affirmative action can be taken within NUS as a central location to impart knowledge to the public audience.”

Overall the symposium was a timely opportunity for audience members to reflect and find new ways to love the water around us. As one participant Tan Yingxin, 23 comments, “The various speakers at the seminar provided me an insight into a broad range of issues ranging from coral conservation efforts in Singapore, to the problems surrounding urban water access. Beyond making me more aware, it inspired me to further reduce my use of water and disposables, leading by example to encourage others to do so as well.”

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