'Heatwave, food crisis' in Orchard Road

'Heatwave, food crisis' in Orchard Road
Japanese tourists posing for a photo with the World Wide Fund for Nature mascot at the Climate Change Trail, which is located in front of Ion Orchard. WWF Singapore aims to have at least 30,000 people visit the trail.

EARTH Hour is no longer just about switching off lights. This year, there will also be a chance to experience a heatwave, and learn about the effects of a flood and food shortage.

This will be done through a Climate Change Trail created by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore, with booths illustrating the three extreme climate scenarios.

"These are scenarios which many people believe may not happen or are not likely to happen. But research has shown that they are very real," said WWF Singapore chief executive Elaine Tan.

Climate change is a subject that is difficult to grasp, she said. Acting on it is even tougher, hence the need to let visitors experience the effects first-hand.

People who walk into the booth that simulates a heatwave will be hit by temperatures of up to 42 deg C. They will also hear the buzzing of mosquitos in their ears, which is meant to illustrate a rise in dengue cases brought on by the dry weather, as there will be more stagnant water around.

The booth that features intense floods, as a result of rising sea levels and extreme rainfall, will have mist blown at visitors to mimic rain. There will also be a skit, set in a supermarket, to show the impact of a food shortage and how that can lead to skyrocketing prices.

WWF Singapore aims to have at least 30,000 people visit the trail, which is located in front of Ion Orchard. It will run from today to March 28, from 5pm to 8pm on weekdays and 2pm to 9pm on weekends.

Biologist Nicole Dorville, 26, said the skit will be an eye-opener. "People think of climate change as only a change in weather but they don't realise it affects our food supply too," she said.

The trail will be a prelude to Earth Hour, which will take place from 8.30pm on March 28, when participating organisations and households will turn off their non-essential lights for an hour.

One firm which has already pledged its support is CapitaLand, which will be switching off the facade lights and non-essential lighting of 200 properties across Asia and Europe throughout the night.

samboh@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Mar 13, 2015.
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