Climate Change | Arbitrage Magazine | Vol. 5, No. 4
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From the editor-at-large:
I’m originally from Singapore, the funny little island that bans chewing gum. Legend says that pranksters used to stick them on subway door sensors. The doors could not close. That caused delays when subway employees had to walk the entire train to find the offending door. And thus, the government banned it.
(Another legend says that the ban happened when it was discovered that Singaporean chewing gum was made from used condoms, but we shall not go there.)
Singapore is also famous for another thing: its blistering heat. It’s a place where you can sweat from simply thinking too much; where suits are pretty much unheard of; and where air conditioning is so prevalent, its abbreviation, “air-con,” is understandable in all four of its official languages.
Growing up there, I naturally feel that climate change and global warming are immense concerns.
Singapore’s temperature is about 32 degrees Celsius all year round. And it just keeps getting hotter. There are many days when I was young I thought I was going to melt. And by extension, I always found it ridiculous that some would actually deny that climate change is happening.
To the doubters: take a trip to a tropical country. You’ll be amazed at how quickly sweat can change your mind.
This issue is about climate change and the rising temperatures that currently afflict us. And I can say “us” in the very literal sense. Climate change not only affects everyone, it also affects every thing.
It affects sea levels and biodiversity. It affects agriculture and businesses. It permeates every aspect of our lives.
And it may be a slow process, but remember that it was the tortoise that won the fabled race. Temperatures only increase a fraction of a degree each year, but if unchecked, those fractions will become a furnace. Sea levels may rise just millimetres, but one day, those millimetres will form floods.
We may not feel the brunt of climate change, but our children will. And if they won’t, our children’s children will.
There’s a phrase well-known in Singapore: “eye power.” It is both a verb and a noun and refers to the act of watching others work, using one’s eyes instead of hands. (E.g.: “Eh, Johnny! Stop eye powering and help out!”)
Please, let us eye power no more. We don’t own the Earth; we merely take care of it for the next generation.