Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/224111
Title: SUSTAINABILITY IN SINGAPORE : AN ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT PERSPECTIVE
Authors: XIN JING JING
Keywords: Environmental Management
Master
Study report
Paul Barter
2010/2011 EnvM
Ecolabeling
Ecological footprints,
Schemes
Sustainable consumption,
Sustainability,
Issue Date: 7-Oct-2011
Citation: XIN JING JING (2011-10-07). SUSTAINABILITY IN SINGAPORE : AN ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT PERSPECTIVE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Singapore has long been regarded as the model of sustainable development and yet its consumption practices are considered as fairly ‘unsustainable’ within the international community. The Living Planet Report 2010 published by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) ranked Singapore among the top consumer nations (21 out of 241 countries) in terms of its (per capita) consumption Ecological Footprint. This paper therefore aims to study the reasons underlying the disjoint between the two sets of reality, as well as the relevance and usefulness of Ecological Footprint accounts to small city-states like Singapore in pursuing sustainability goals. Drawing on the two key concepts of sustainability and sustainable consumption, this paper contends that consumption is central to the sustainability debate and explains why we cannot meaningfully evaluate a country’s sustainability performance without a scrutiny of its consumption patterns. In this regard, Ecological Footprints play a vital role in informing the public, policy makers and administrators about the current level of resource consumption by a specific country. The disparity between Singapore’s sustainability achievements and its disproportionately large consumption footprint can be explained by the ideological divergence between the ‘weak sustainability’ and modernization approach that is prevalent in Singapore’s environmental management framework, as opposed to the ‘strong sustainability’ approach rooted in the concept of Ecological Footprint. Hitherto, environmental policies in Singapore have been dominated by an emphasis on the ‘brown’ agenda (i.e. public health and cleanliness, pollution control) and the reliance on green technologies to foster greater resource use efficiency. This paper argues that this developmental perspective does little to help reverse the unsustainable consumption patterns. This paper also concludes that Singapore’s current development trajectory, which relies heavily on imports for most of its resources, food and energy, is inherently unsustainable in that sustainability within the country’s territory is achieved at the expense of other countries. More will have to be done to fine-tune the current focus of Singapore’s sustainability agenda to keep its ecological footprint in check and encourage its citizen-consumers to adopt more ecologically rational practices and a more sustainable consumption lifestyle.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/224111
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