Free mentorship for green aspirants

Feng Zengkun The Straits Times AsiaOne 23 Dec 14;
Four of Singapore's best-known environmentalists have teamed up to pass on the baton.

They have designed a free programme to mentor up to 10 Singaporeans aged 19 to 35 who want to help the country's environment. The four activists include former Nominated MP Faizah Jamal, who used her time in the House to argue passionately for more attention to be paid to "green" issues such as marine life, parks and trees.

The other three are Mr Eugene Tay, who recently won the National Environment Agency's EcoFriend award; Ms Ria Tan, who runs website WildSingapore; and Ms Olivia Choong, who co-founded Green Drinks Singapore, a non- profit society that organises monthly meetings on environment issues.

Mr Tay, who is founder and director of consultancy firm Green Future Solutions, said he came up with the idea to mentor young people as "they tend to stop volunteering for the environment once they start working or have other commitments".

"I hope the programme can act as a support system and help them for the long term," he said.

The programme will start next month and last until July.

Each month, one or more of the environmentalists will chair one weekend session of up to three hours on specific topics.

Ms Faizah, for instance, will lead a session on Singapore's environmental laws and urban planning, and teach participants how they can engage the Government more effectively.

Ms Choong will speak on how people can shape better campaigns, including through social media.

Mr Tay said other sessions that focus on climate change, waste, energy, biodiversity, conservation and green products are meant to give a holistic view. "Some of them may be interested in a particular topic, such as climate change, but they may not be aware of other, interconnected issues."

After the programme ends, the participants are expected to develop and implement a green project. They also have to outline the project in their applications.

Nature Society president Shawn Lum said the programme would provide practical advice and invaluable contacts.

"Sometimes, people want to contribute, but they don't know how to start, or they give up when they hit a dead end. This mentorship can help with that."

The deadline for applications is Jan 4.

To learn more about the programme and to apply, go to