Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli spoke at the COP21 climate talks in Paris on Monday (7 December).
He pledged Singapore’s commitment to play a part in the global fight against climate change.
In the past few months, Singapore and its neighbouring countries experienced a prolonged period of dry weather and severe haze pollution.
Yes, the dry weather period did not help to ease the haze which was brought about by the flagrant slash-and-burn practices by errant companies in Indonesia.
Minister Masagos noted that the emissions by the fires over the period was more than the total annual Carbon Dioxide emissions of Germany.
“Such peat land fires produce not only Greenhouse Gas emissions but also smoke, resulting in haze pollution. This haze pollution has had serious social, economic and health impacts in countries across Southeast Asia,” he added.
But what is all these talk about climate change really about? The baseline is really just to ensure that our future generations have a safer, cleaner and comfortable environment to live, work and play in.
But perhaps the group of people who will feel the most impact of climate change are workers.
They spend great amounts of time travelling from home to their workplaces and back. Some work outdoors and under the heat of the sun.
Since 1974, the average daily temperature has increased 1.1 degrees celsius. The number of hotter days have increased as well.
If nothing is done to slow down or stop climate change, it would mean that many workers would suffer the effects of it.
(Taken from: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)
As the voice for workers, the labour movement advocates for a better work environment for workers through a Workplace Safety and Health Secretariat led by its Assistant Secretary General Yeo Guat Kwang.
But the work of such advocacy of safe and better work environment should not be just the work of the union.
All companies should adopt not just safe work practices, but also environmentally-conscious work practices. These practices should help to contribute to lesser carbon emissions.
If the talk of climate change is to maintain a better world for future generations, then it should also extend to workers and a environmentally-conscious workplace.