'Green-washing' people's minds

Drumming up awareness on green issues is one way to tackle environmental challenges.

By spreading the green message through education, habits that damage the environment, like the indiscriminate use of plastic bags, can be changed.

This is what some 30 people at Tuesday's young leaders dialogue at the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development are urging.

"People are the biggest constituents in any city. If there is a fundamental change in mindset, sustainability will filter through," said Miss Sheen Ashraf, 25.

The junior analyst, who gave a presentation on sustainable cities, said this approach would complement existing laws.

Her observations on the compatibility between policies and mindset change as environmental solutions were reflected in three other presentations on energy, agriculture and forestry and sustainable consumption at the youth forum.

In her presentation, Miss Jiehui Kia, 26, pointed to the Energy Conservation Act that promotes energy efficiency.

Under the Act, which took effect in April, large energy users such as waste management firms must appoint an energy manager, monitor and report energy use and submit energy- efficiency improvement plans.

"We have to take a step back and ask if people even know what the source of energy is in Singapore," said the adviser at Forum for the Future, an environmental non-profit group.

Held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, the youth dialogue was organised by five groups including The Straits Times, online publication Eco-Business and Singapore-based media firm Global Initiatives.

Participants were university and polytechnic students and young professionals. It was the first time that a youth discussion was held at the RBF, now in its second year.


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