Singapore Climate Change Rally 2019

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(Picture) SG Climate Rally logo. Photo from Instagram
(Picture) SG Climate Rally logo. Photo from SG Climate Rally Instagram

The first-ever Singapore Climate Rally was organised at Hong Lim Park on 21 September 2019.[1] Dubbed ‘The Green Dot’, the 3-hour event was held in conjunction with the Global Week for Future and Climate Action (20 September - 27 September 2019).[2] The week-long movement encouraged communities in 150 countries worldwide to partake in strikes, rallies and demonstrations.[3]

Background[edit | edit source]

Organisers[edit | edit source]

(Picture) SG Climate Rally organisers and activists. Photo from The Straits Times
(Picture) SG Climate Rally organisers and activists. Photo from The Straits Times

The Singapore Climate Rally was organised by a group of youths (aged 19 to 24 years old) from the National University of Singapore (NUS). Lad Komal Bhupendra (19), an Environmental Studies undergraduate at NUS, was the lead organiser of the event. She approached a group of like-minded people to host an event for those who wished to express “bolder climate action”.[4]

Greta Thunberg’s ‘Friday for Future’[edit | edit source]

The Singapore Climate Rally was inspired by Greta Thunberg’s student movement, ‘Fridays for Future’. In 2018, the 15-year-old Swedish girl voluntarily missed school on Fridays to protest outside of the Swedish Parliament, asking for tighter environmental policies. Her actions inspired youth worldwide to do the same.[5] On 15 March 2019, 1.4 million people across 120 countries took part in the global climate strike.[6]


Due to the Public Order Act, Singaporeans were forced to take the strike online.[7] Ms Pamela Low and Ms Woo Qi Yun hosted the ‘Fridays for future SG’ event on Facebook.[8][9][10] On 15 March, they had asked participants to share their opinions of climate action in Singapore. Participants were also asked to tag their targeted organisation.


The Singapore Climate Rally was a follow-up from the online strike in March which did not gain much traction.[11] The rally’s organising team told The Straits Times that a physical rally could “send a stronger signal to authorities” in Singapore.[12]

Singapore Climate Rally’s Call to Action[edit | edit source]

Before the event, the rally’s organisers released a 15-page report titled “Our Call to Action”.[13] Based on the standards reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the organisers acknowledged the Singapore government’s current efforts but were critical of their commitment, especially in reducing carbon emissions.[14][15][16]


The Call to Action proposal pushed for there to be zero carbon emissions in Singapore by 2050.[17] The proposal asked the government to provide a formal report assessing the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on socio-economic factors in Singapore. According to the proposal, Singapore is “far from meeting the IPCC’s Targets”.[18] The Rally was a way for the organisers to bring attention to the specific policies that Singapore could improve on.[19]

Rally highlights[edit | edit source]

(Picture) Participants of the SG Climate Rally with banners and posters. Photo from SG Climate Rally Facebook

Speakers[edit | edit source]

There were a total of six speakers at the rally, each who gave their perspectives on climate change.

Name Profile Issue(s) covered Refs.
Lad Koma Bhupendra 19-year-old Environmental Studies undergraduate at NUS The importance of individual & collective action over institutional change. [20]
Professor Sivasothi N NUS lecturer Urban land use and long-term conservation of Singapore’s forests and fauna. [21]
Ellen Wu 17-year-old student environmentalist The importance of collective action & irresponsible consumption. [22]
Ho Xiang Tian Founder of LepakinSG The lack of institutionalised change from the Singapore government despite claims. [23]
Oliver Chua 11-year-old primary school student The influence of Singaporean youth on the mindsets of the older generation & for Singapore’s curriculum to have a compulsory subject on environmental awareness. [24]
Karen Sim Senior Sustainability Strategist Promoting active dialogue between people from all walks of life to push for institutionalised change. [25]

Die-in[edit | edit source]

(Picture) Die-in demonstration during the rally. Photo from SG Climate Rally Facebook
(Picture) Die-in demonstration during the rally. Photo from SG Climate Rally Facebook

A ‘Die-in’ is the act in which a group of people lay down in solidarity to emphasize the gravity of a situation.[26] It has been used as a method of peaceful protesting by activists worldwide. The gesture was used as early as 1970 in Boston to commemorate the first Earth Day.[27] At the 2019 Singapore Climate Rally, participants took turns to “fall dead”, mourning the lives and biodiversity lost to climate change.[28]

“Postcard to my MP” booth[edit | edit source]

Participants of the rally could write a postcard to their elected Member of Parliament (MP) in their respective Group Representation Constituency (GRC). The rally’s organisers wanted to give residents a chance to voice their concerns on climate change issues directly to their MP. The booth gathered over 400 postcards addressed to 80 MPs.[29]

Support from Members of Parliament[edit | edit source]

(Picture) Handwritten postcards by Mr. Desmond Lee's constituency residents during the rally. Photo from Facebook

Several Members of Parliament (MPs) have taken to their social media accounts to show their support of the cause. The following MPs were present at the Singapore Climate Rally.

Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC)[edit | edit source]

Mr Louis Ng is the MP for Nee Soon GRC and the founder of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES). On behalf of various MPs, Mr Ng gave thanks to the youth organisers for their efforts. In a Facebook post, Mr Ng shared other community-level initiatives that have been launched in constituencies islandwide.[30]


The initiatives include beach clean-ups, rooftop community farms, food waste recycling machines, eco-digesters and the installation of energy-efficient infrastructures.

Desmond Lee (Jurong GRC)[edit | edit source]

Mr Desmond Lee is an MP for Jurong GRC and the Minister for Social and Family Development. In a Facebook post, Mr Ng expressed that he looks forward to working with more community and industrial leaders in the future.[31] He noted that 95% of Singapore’s electricity is from natural gas instead of fossil fuels, thereby greatly reducing the country’s carbon emissions. Nonetheless, Mr Ng iterated that the government are looking to implement “tighter standards” to combat climate issues.[32]

Workers’ Party[edit | edit source]

The Workers’ Party issued a press release on 29 October 2019 stating their support of the concerns expressed at the rally.[33] They cited their ongoing debates in Parliament regarding various environmental issues like the Carbon Pricing Bill, the Resource Sustainability Bill and the Energy Conservation Act.[34] To reduce the Urban Heat Island effect, The Workers’ Party suggested improving current infrastructure and technology for drainage systems and better urban planning. The party also “actively welcomes” the public to engage them in discussions.[35]

Other correspondence[edit | edit source]

The Singapore Climate Rally’s organising team e-mailed other MPs out of which 5 replied to show their support and reassure the public that environmental initiatives have been implemented in their respective constituencies. The MPs are Mr Goh Chok Tong, Mr Ong Ye Kung, Mr Lim Wee Kiak, Mr Ong Teng Koon and Mr Christopher De Souza. Their responses were posted on SG Climate Change’s Facebook page.[36][37]

References/Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. Sg Climate Rally. Facebook. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from Facebook
  2. “Global Climate Strike - Sep,20-27”. Global Climate Strike. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from globalclimatestrike.net
  3. Low, Zoey. “Asia’s young climate activists on joining the worldwide campaign for government action on global warming”. South China Morning Post July 18, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2019. Retrieved from scmp.com
  4. “Young activists planning 'green dot' gathering on Sept 21”. The Straits Times. August 19, 2019.  Accessed November 1, 2019. Retrieved from Youtube
  5. "Teenagers plans worldwide strike on March 15 to highlight climate crisis.” The Straits Times. March 11, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2019. Retrieved from straitstimes.com
  6. Carrington, Damian. “School climate strike: 1.4 million people took part, say campaigners“. The Guardian. March 19, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from theguardian.com
  7. “Public Assemblies and Processions in Singapore: Police permits and the Public Order Act.” December 17, 2018. Accessed November 2, 2019. Retrieved from singaporelegaladvice.com
  8. Tingkat Heroes SG. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from Instagram
  9. The Weird and Wild. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from Instagram
  10. “Singapore Online Climate Movement (15 March 2019) - OUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE”. Fridays for Future SG -15 March. March 11, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2019. Retrieved from Facebook
  11. “Lessons from Singapore’s First Climate Change Strike (was it really a strike though?)” Seastainable. April 11, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2019. Retrieved from seastainable.co
  12. Tan, Ashley. “S’pore students holding non-confrontational ‘green dot’ climate action rally at Hong Lim Park on Sept 21, 2019”. Mothership. August 15, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from Mothership
  13. “Our Calls to Action”. SG Climate Rally. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from Google Drive
  14. “Global warming of 1.5 C”. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Accessed November 1, 2019.
  15. “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C approved by governments”. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. October 8, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2019.
  16. “Our Calls to Action”. SG Climate Rally. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from Google Drive
  17. “Our Calls to Action”. SG Climate Rally. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from Google Drive
  18. “Our Calls to Action”. SG Climate Rally. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from Google Drive
  19. Ho, Dion. “Calls to Action from The SG Climate Rally”. The Octant. October 13, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2019. Retrieved from theoctant.org
  20. “Speech at SG Climate Rally 2019 - Komal Lad”. SG Climate Rally. September 21, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2019. Retrieved from Facebook
  21. "Speech at SG Climate Rally 2019 - Sivasothi N.”. SG Climate Rally. September 21, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2019. Retrieved from Facebook
  22. "Speech at SG Climate Rally 2019 - Ellen Wu". SG Climate Rally. September 21, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2019. Retrieved from Facebook
  23. "Speech at SG Climate Rally 2019 - Ho Xiang Tian”. SG Climate Rally. September 21, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2019. Retrieved from Facebook
  24. "Speech at SG Climate Rally 2019 - Oliver Chua". SG Climate Rally. September 21, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2019. Retrieved from Facebook
  25. "Speech at SG Climate Rally 2019 - Karen Sim". SG Climate Rally. September 21, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2019. Retrieved from Facebook
  26. SG Climate Rally. September 11, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from Facebook
  27. Ross, Daniel. “The Die -IN: A Short History”. Active History. June 29. 2015. Accessed November 1, 2019. Retrieved from activehistory.ca
  28. “Participants stage a die-in during the first Singapore Climate Rally at Hong Lim Park on Saturday (Sept 21)”. The Straits Times. September 21, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from Facebook
  29. “One month post-rally: Has our message been received?” SG Climate Rally. October 20, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from Facebook
  30. Louis Ng kok Kwang. “Let’s fight climate change!”. Facebook. October 19, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2019.
  31. Desmond Lee. “Doing our part for climate change”. Facebook. October 18, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2019.
  32. Desmond Lee. “Doing our part for climate change”. Facebook. October 18, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2019.
  33. The Workers’ Party. “The Workers’ Party on Climate Change in Parliament”. October 29, 2019. Accessed 31 October 2019.
  34. The Workers’ Party. “The Workers’ Party on Climate Change in Parliament”. October 29, 2019. Accessed 31 October 2019.
  35. “Workers’ Party sets out stance on climate change, green issues.” Channel News Asia. October 29, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from channelnewsasia.com
  36. SG Climate Rally. October 20, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from Facebook
  37. SG Climate Rally. October 20, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2019. Retrieved from Facebook