The International Day of Forests on 21 March is an annual celebration of the importance of forests since 2012. This year, PM Haze brought the celebration to Singapore for the first time and rallied the public to show their love for forests by having a meal at local eateries that use sustainable palm oil.
Connecting awareness to action
We may have taken our forests for granted for a long time without recognising its importance for supporting everything we love, our children, the wildlife, our freedom to play, as well as our neighbours. People in Singapore can help prevent the haze by encouraging businesses here to switch to sustainable palm oil. Fortunately, a handful of pioneering eateries and restaurants have started using sustainable palm oil since late 2017. Their effort gave people in Singapore a haze-free option. Notably some of these restaurants also help to educate their customers about the importance of sustainable palm oil by putting up our campaign posters. These restaurants include VeganBurg, Tongluk and Siloso Beach Resort. With the additional help of responsible businesses, the campaign increased awareness about sustainable palm oil among the public, which in turn will incentive more businesses to take action in the future.
Community support for the campaign
Singapore has a vibrant and vocal community that advocates for sustainability efforts. The campaign itself was a collaboration between Climate Conversations and PM. Haze, which enjoyed great support from local groups, such as ACRES, Second Guru, and Gone Adventurin, who shared our campaign through their social media platforms. The campaign also enjoyed support from local celebrities such as the Youtuber group Wah!Banana. We were heartened to observe that people got their colleagues together to support the International Day of Forests as a meaningful way of team bonding as well.
From consumer action to citizen action
With more awareness among the public and more businesses providing sustainable options, there’s no doubt that the momentum for the use of sustainable palm oil in Singapore has started. One of our volunteers suggests that we should tap on every opportunity, such as Earth Day, to keep the momentum and get more people to familiarise with the idea of sustainable consumption. Sustainable consumption is not only about making a good choice for ourselves but also about rewarding companies which are making efforts voluntarily.
However, we should not stop at being good consumers. The majority of businesses requires pressure from the public and even regulations to change their behaviours. We should therefore go on to advocate for good business practices and even good policies to safeguard our progress. To be effective, we need to get organised as a community and take citizen action. The power of individuals might be limited, but collectively we can make an impact to stop the deforestation and climate change.
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A collection of photos of people supporting eateries or restaurants that use sustainable palm oil can be found here.