Best of our wild blogs: 31 May 19

Three insights from the forest – Love MacRitchie x BFF walk (11 May 2019)
Love our MacRitchie Forest

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Otters spotted in Bukit Timah; group fled from Singapore River home due to Bishan otters

Goh Yan Han Straits Times 30 May 19;

SINGAPORE - A group of otters were spotted at a Bukit Timah bus stop on Thursday morning (May 30).

The group of six was also seen near Stevens MRT station on the same day, as well as near Adam Road Food Centre the evening before, according to posts by netizens to the OtterWatch Facebook page.

A Straits Times reader noticed the otters along Bukit Timah Road at around 7am when she was taking her children to school.

"They were chilling at the roadside at first, then they were trying to cross the road," said the 37-year-old, who wanted to be known only as Ms Lim.

"It was a bit scary. They tried a few times before managing to cross safely."

She added that it was an unexpected and unusual sight in the morning, and that the otters were "very cute".

Otter enthusiast Bernard Seah, 50, identified the group as the Zouk otters, which were so named when they were spotted near the former Zouk site in Jiak Kim Street in the second half of 2018.

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From sky farms to lab-grown shrimp, Singapore eyes food future

John Geddie, Edgar Su Reuters 30 May 19;

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore, the tiny Southeast Asian city-state, is an unlikely place for a farming revolution.

With tiered fish farms, vegetable plots atop office buildings and lab-grown shrimp, the island aims to beef up its own food production and rely less on imports to feed its 5.6 million people.

Singapore produces about 10% of its food but as climate change and population growth threatens global food supplies, it aims to raise that to 30% by 2030 under a plan known as ‘30-by-30’.

The challenge is space.

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Ending coal financing, and jump-starting sustainability

SIMON TAY and LAU XIN YI Business Times 31 May 19;

ALL major Singapore banks recently announced that they will stop financing new coal-fired power plants. This is significant in aligning Singapore as a financial hub with the position of many Western financial institutions. But it opens up more questions about next steps and how sustainability can be jump-started in our rapidly growing region.

Coal has been singled out as burning coal is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Western moves against this source of energy have had an impact. Last year, there was a 39 per cent worldwide drop in new coal-fired plant construction as compared to 2017.

Coal-fired plant construction in Asia is led by energy-hungry India and China, even as they also ramp up solar, wind and other renewables. Asean countries especially Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam are not far behind.

While many Western financial institutions shun coal, others do not hesitate. China is now a major financing source for coal plants, even outside the country. According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), Chinese institutions are financing or have committed to finance more than one-quarter of the 399 gigawatts of coal plants currently under development abroad.

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Stakeholders share ideas for a zero-waste Singapore

Vanessa Liu Straits Times 31 May 19;
Stakeholders joined forces yesterday to devise ways to boost low recycling rates, which are failing to keep up with the rising amounts of waste produced here.

Representatives of government agencies and environmental groups, as well as business owners, gathered for a panel discussion to find ways to make Singapore a zero-waste nation. The key points included defining manufacturers' role in waste management, as well as social behaviour and policymaking.

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