Singapore Sling

Sitting at my computer in Singapore, I am supposed to be writing an assessment report on adaptation in Africa. But instead I am musing about the sustainability of this city state. Socially and infrastructurally dynamic, this city is moving fast. Imagine the embodied energy of all the concrete and steel that has gone into the growing skyscraper forest. Consumerism rules on Orchard Street. But then there is the marvellous Singapore ArtScience museum, dedicated to the creativity that lies at the heart of both pursuits. Shaped like a lotus, the roof is designed to capture light and water, and Moshie Safadie’s building includes a waterfall of rain water harvested off the roof, which falls down through the centre of the building and then is recycled for use in the restrooms. And then again, as you can see, there is that bizarre structure behind the museum – is it someone’s idea of an oversized concrete Singapore Sling? No, that’s the Marina Bay Sands resort and casino, with its outrageous cantilevered SkyPark, longer than the Eiffel Tower laid on its side. Despite the evident consumption, Singapore contributes less than 0.2% of global emissions, and has implemented a remarkable shift in power generation, in less than a decade, from fuel oil to natural gas. As a low-lying island, the city is vulnerable to flooding and loss of coastal land from sea level rise. The National Climate Change Secretariat is promoting action on a number of fronts for sustainable development and to manage climate risks. With all the adverts in the Straits Times for new property developments, this is going to be a balancing act. I finish my musings with some Yi Pin Tofu at 7 Sensations – stewed in a clay pot, with gingko nuts and vegetables. It’s nearly time for a Singapore Sling – the liquid one, that is.

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