Thursday, June 30, 2011

Timberland Earthkeepers and the Horqin Desert

This post was submitted as an entry in the Timberland Earthkeepers blogging contest with Nuffnang Singapore

UPDATE: I WON! Check out this post for more details.

"Sureg amgalan sun shim arvin boltugai"
(Let the herd be peaceful and milk be in abundance)

- Mongolian greeting

As a person who is very passionate about wildlife, conservation and the environment, reading the news can be a terribly depressing daily affair. The multitude of issues which plague our planet and threaten the future of our wild places and even our own civilisation are too numerous to list here, but at least, once in a while, there are glimmers of hope and inspiration, stories of efforts that illustrate the will to make a difference, and to do one's part, no matter how small it may seem, to help make the world a better place.

Where it comes to narratives about environmental destruction and protection, large multinational corporations are often depicted as the bad guys, wreaking havoc in a limitless hunger for profit, no matter the ecological or social costs. Yet this is a myth that ignores and overlooks the good that many companies do, often under the banner of corporate social responsibility. Skeptics may claim that it's usually just greenwashing or mere token efforts that in no way override the environmental damage that is wrought in the name of the almighty dollar, but I like to be optimistic and believe that business entities involved in environmental efforts do have the ability to make a powerful impact.

One would think that companies which specialise in manufacturing products for outdoor use should be especially interested and involved in such activities; after all, their business relies on consumers choosing to explore the so-called great outdoors, whether it's hiking, mountain climbing, or camping in the woods. This in turn relies on there being some semblance of wilderness or nature area that people find worth visiting in the first place. Timberland, with its Earthkeepers, and the subject of this blog post, is one such example.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bishan Park canal clear and doesn't stink now, thanks to STOMP tip-off

Bishan Park canal clear and doesn't stink now, thanks to STOMP tip-off

Nature-related Blogs in the Singapore Blog Awards

The Singapore Blog Awards are back, and I thought I would like to help publicise a few blogs that are currently in the running for various categories. While there isn't any category that best suits a nature or environment blog (a flaw in these awards, considering the large number of people who write good blogs about nature in Singapore), some of the finalists do have recent posts about the environment, and it would be good to show these bloggers our support.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The King and I: King Cobras in Singapore

Wild King Cobra
(Photo by gerry morgan)

Singapore is home to many species of snake, from tiny burrowing blind snakes less than 20 centimetres long, feeding on soft-bodied invertebrates in the soil, to gigantic pythons more than 5 metres in length, lurking in our drains and sewers in pursuit of rats and even stray cats. While most of our snakes are quite harmless, our forests have their fair share of kraits, coral snakes and pit vipers, with venomous bites that are a genuine cause for concern. The equatorial spitting cobra (Naja sumatrana) is perhaps the most dangerous of our venomous snakes, since it is commonly encountered living near people. Yet these serpents, for all their deadly beauty, pale in comparison to a snake so feared and so iconic that it has become a symbol of the Asian rainforests, a true superstar among the snakes - the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah).