#TogetherForWildlife for Animal Conservation in Southeast Asia

Wish to support conservation efforts around Southeast Asia? Wildlife Reserves Singapore will take your pledge, convert it to money and then channel it to boost animal advocacy and field conservation groups at the local and regional level. Changes on the ground, or better still, progress (we hope) is measured and reported.

ASEAN Focus for Climate Action Forum 2018

Conference to Drive Investment in Clean and Green Growth

SINGAPORE, 26 January 2018. Climate Action Forum 2018 will draw attention to key climate challenges facing ASEAN, the need to implement policies and the sense of urgency required to drive investment in green and clean growth in the region.

“A two-day workshop is being planned in May followed by a conference in July to coincide with Singapore International Water Week,” said Ken Hickson in a phone interview with Gaia Discovery. Hickson is the Chairman of Sustain Ability Showcase Asia (SASA), an organiser of the forum along with another home-grown enterprise, Green in Future

Climate Action Forum highlights the latest on climate science, as well as the climate nexus of water, energy and food security, and the investment opportunities linked to climate change mitigation.

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The event will involve the People, Private and Public (3P) sectors locally and in ASEAN, as well as financial institutions, youth and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).  He added that these events will complement Singapore's Year of Climate Action.

Professor Jeff Obbard: "Climate change needs urgent action"

Professor Jeff Obbard: "Climate change needs urgent action"

The Chairman of the Organising Committee is Professor Jeff Obbard, an environmental scientist, ecologist and engineer, who previously served as Director for the Sustainable Development and Water Alliance at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Professor Obbard expects the Climate Action Forum to stress the sense of urgency needed to deal with the impacts of climate change which are already making their presence felt in ASEAN and other tropical regions.

"There is a need for greater awareness in ASEAN of what needs to be done to deal with the greater frequency of extreme weather events linked to climate change and how the public and private sectors can work together to build climate resilience in countries, cities and communities".

Climate Action Forum complements the line up of activities in the Singapore’s Year of Climate Action.

For more information on the Climate Action Forum 2018 and to register interest, please go to: www.climateactionforum.com









Songkran Festival's Water Blessings

Songkran Festival's Water Blessings

Songkran, Thailand from 13 - 19th April 2018 is a nationwide traditional festival to celebrate the Buddhist New Year. A three-day public holiday across Thailand, it sees most businesses close so migrant workers can go back to their hometowns to spend time with their families – and pour water over relatives to clean away the accumulated negative spirits of the last year.

Tasmania’s Bob Brown Foundation stages Tarkine BioBlitz

One of the last true wilderness places on earth - the Tarlkine, Tasmania - will see a festival of science in nature from 23-26 November, open to all who are interested in wild places and their environment.

November 15, Smithton, Tasmania. The Tarkine BioBlitz is a festival of science in nature, to be held in one of the world’s last truly wild places, the Trakine (takayna in local language). The BioBlitz aims to bring a wide variety of interested people together to discover and record as many living things as possible over several days around Smithton.

The Tarkine, in northwest Tasmania, is one of the most unspoilt temperate wildernesses left in the world. Courtesy of Tarkine.org

The Tarkine, in northwest Tasmania, is one of the most unspoilt temperate wildernesses left in the world. Courtesy of Tarkine.org

Designed to be both practical yet enjoyable, the event aims to help anybody who has an interest in the planet, the environment and nature to explore, learn and contribute to their knowledge of biodiversity. Organised by the Bob Brown Foundation and held over three days from 23-26 November 2017, BioBlitz surveys in the field will be held from Friday morning to Sunday lunch time and will seek to provide fun, educational and meaningful experiences to the community, naturalists and scientists alike.

Bob Brown founded the Green Movement in Australia, and successfully protected the Franklin River. Courtesy Bob Brown Foundation.

Bob Brown founded the Green Movement in Australia, and successfully protected the Franklin River. Courtesy Bob Brown Foundation.

It will bring together volunteer scientists, experts, naturalists and members of the public for a weekend of biodiversity surveys and discovery in a truly remarkable place. The Tarkine is one of the largest tracts of cool temperate rainforest in the world, and the biggest in the whole continent of Australia. It covers some 476,000 hectares of undeveloped, raw, and awe-inspiring wilderness in the northwest of Tasmania and is home to a range of utterly amazing  ancient flora and fauna found nowhere else on earth. Huge mountains, thriving groves of thousand year old trees and Jurassic Park-like rainforests as well as austere, forbidding coastlines make it a privilege to visit the Tarkine.

This year’s BioBlitz will conduct field surveys at sites across a variety of Tarkine ecosystems. The main goals of the event are to survey the biological diversity of the area and share knowledge about the strength and ecology of the region. A central base camp near Smithton on the northwest coast will provide facilities to share discoveries, identify and collate specimens, database records and, of course, rest and relax after time spent in the field. Attendees will travel out to sites each day in mini buses and car-pooling as required and organised by BioBlitz staff. Visitors can join the BioBlitz for all three days or just one day.

The base camp will be at the Riverbend Youth Centre, approximately 6km south of Smithton. Accommodation at the base camp is dormitories with shared bathroom and toilet facilities. There is also room for tents and campervans for camping.

Each day will see groups travel out to explore and discover Tarkine coast, forest and plains locations before  regrouping at Riverbend to collate results, share food, discoveries and the day’s stories. The organisers, the Bob Brown Foundation, see science as a central component to campaign for long lasting and secure protection of the Tarkine, including improving our understanding of the biodiversity of the region.

The event follows the recent proposal of a new walk to start south-west of Burnie on the north Tasmanian coast. The proposed walk will head south through the Tarkine and highlight its eucalyptus forests, button grass moorlands, mountains (especially Mount Bertha and the Norfolk Range) and the rugged north-west coastline before finishing with a cruise along the Pieman River to former logging and prospector town Corinna. The walk is seen as a 10-day experience or as two five-day walks.

Plans for the project were released in June 2017, with the objective of creating a full 100-kilometre walk route. “From a tourism aspect, the proposal sounds fantastic,” said local Tourism Association president Clint Walker. “It’s the type of development, a highly desirable attraction, that north-west Tasmania needs,” he said.

Singapore Writers Festival Features Multilingual Works


The Singapore Writers Festival takes place from 3 to 12 November 2017 at various venues in central Singapore (such as The Arts House, National Gallery Singapore, Victoria Theatre and more. Make sure you download the programme - see below). 

This year it chose the Tamil concept of ‘Aram’ on ‘living a good life’. Dr. Lee Tzu Peng has also been chosen as Literary Pioneer.

The festival started in 1986 as a biennial festival. Now held yearly, the festival is a much anticipated event on the cultural calendar, presenting the world’s major literary talents to Singaporeans while shining a spotlight on home grown and Southeast Asian creative talents.

Attend Annaliza Bakri's launch of anthology titled Sikit Sikit Lama-Lama Jadi Bukit on 11 November 5 pm at The Arts House Gallery ll.

Attend Annaliza Bakri's launch of anthology titled Sikit Sikit Lama-Lama Jadi Bukit on 11 November 5 pm at The Arts House Gallery ll.

Over the years, the Festival has become an exciting meeting point of writers, academics and thinkers in a choice spread of panel discussions, workshops, lectures and performances in 10 days. It has hosted literati the likes of Nobel Prize winner Gao Xingjian, Whitbread Book Awards First Novel winner Tash Aw, British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Nebula winner Neil Gaiman and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham.

The Singapore Writers Festival is one of the few multi-lingual literary festivals in the world, celebrating the written and spoken word in Singapore’s official languages – English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil. This year, the Festival will be housed in the Civic District amongst historic buildings such as The Arts House, The National Gallery and the Asian Civilisations Museum.

"In line with our theme too, we believe SWF is for everyone, and that’s why we have enhanced our inclusive programming with more sign-language interpreters and note-takers for Deaf attendees. We have also reached out to children with mild disabilities and children from underserved communities with customised programmes," said Yeow Kai Chai, Festival Director.

"We open this year’s Festival with the Aram Conference, a series of panel discussions to engage audiences in exploring the meanings and nuances of the word from various viewpoints -- Aram in the 21st-century world and in multicultural Singapore, Aram in our spiritual lives, and Aram through the eyes of the youth. In particular, the key panel, Aram: An Intercultural Dialogue brings together Singaporean intellectuals from across different cultural backgrounds. Join us as we cross and push the boundaries, and create a uniquely Singaporean conversation about our common moral life," said Kwok Kian Woon, Chairman of the SWF Steering Committee (2017-2018).

"Multilingual and intercultural programming is a significant part of SWF as a means of promoting dialogue and interaction across cultures. This year’s highlights include Transcendent, a collaboration between Indian performing arts group, Bhaskar’s Arts Academy and Malay performing arts company, Sri Warisan on the concept of consciousness and beauty. And, if you’re a fan of rock music, don’t miss Lyrical Roots: The Poetry of Music , featuring two young poprock bands, as they perform in English and Tamil. Reflecting the cultural richness and diversity of ASEAN, we have invited writers from all 10 member states. They will regale us with their profound insights into the writings that speak to the unfolding human drama in Southeast Asia.

"There is much to experience in SWF 2017, and so much to learn. So, I ask you to take your time, participate in the discussions, soak in the atmosphere and discover what Aram means   to you," said Kwok.

Tickets to Singapore Writers Festival 2017

Festival Pass: $25.

Separately ticketed events: $10-$60

Festival Passes and tickets to SWF Stage events, SWF Class workshops and masterclasses and the SWF tours can be purchased at www.sistic.com.sg. Tickets to SWF3 can be purchased at   www.peatix.com.

For all other ticketing details, please refer to the programme write ups on the SWF website.

Download the Singapore Writers Festival 2017 programmes here (first part) and here (second part).

Responsible Tourism Talks at ITB Asia

Responsible Tourism Talks at ITB Asia

Keep up to date with the latest in responsible tourism, whether you're a business operator, developer, policy maker, entrepreneur or marketer. There are three days of talks focused on responsible tourism and sustainability practices at ITB Asia 2017's Responsible Tourism Hub from 25 to 27 October 2017. Gaia Discovery lists all talks, speakers and their synopses here for readers' convenience.

Kedah Cycle and Run for Water 2017

Invitations are out to join the Kedah Cycle for Water event to be held on 11 November 2017 at the Keriang Hill Resort in Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia. Participants can either run 7km or cycle 40km as part of a fundraiser to raise awareness about the conservation of one of our most valuable resources: freshwater. Freshwater is a resource under threat; just 3 percent of the planet’s water is freshwater, and only about 1 percent is readily available for human use.

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The double-whammy of global population growth and climate change means we must be innovative and committed when it comes to water management and conservation. Money raised will help to protect freshwater ecosystems and improve water access, efficiency, and allocation for people and the environment. Participants in the Cycle and Run for Water event will receive a 100% organic cotton T-shirt and a medal made from recycled remnant wood. Entry costs a paltry RM45, which will be used to fund WWF-Malaysia’s efforts to conserve our freshwater and protect our water catchment forests.


Urgent Run, Singapore

As part of the World Toilet Association’s (WTA) awareness and fund-raising efforts, it is marking the United Nations’ World Toilet Day with the Singapore Urgent Run. It will take place on Saturday 28 October 2017, starting from Casuarina Grove, East Coast Park, Singapore. Aimed at raising awareness of global sanitation issues, it is pushing the theme of "Where does our poo go?"

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Calling for urgent action to end the sanitation crisis, the organisers underline the fact that for billions of people around the world today, safe sanitation systems are either non-existent or ineffective. Uncontained human waste spreads killer diseases, meaning progress in health and child survival is seriously undermined.

The event is part of a global call for sanitation to be recognised as a basic human right. Money raised will go towards: Advocacy; raising awareness of the global sanitation crisis and making positive change. Sanitation solutions; empowering communities and creating sustainable marketplace opportunities.

And lastly: Capacity-building; educating urban and rural communities on best sanitation practices for toilet behaviour, design and technology. As they say, it’s time to give a crap! Entrants to the 5km fun run get a T-Shirt, Bib, Finisher Medal and lots of goodies in the Race Pack. There’s even a Crappy Dress and a SaniSelfie (#urgentrunsg) competition! 

Official website: http://urgentrun.com

Ubud Writer’s Festival 2017, Bali

The Indonesian island of Bali is again hosting its Ubud Writer’s Festival on October 25-29 in the central mountains, about one hour north of Denpasar Airport. With more than 150 authors, artists and writers from 31 countries, the Festival is marking its 14th year.

It has signed up published and authoritative writers from countries as diverse as Iran, Canada, South Korea, the Philippines and Pakistan to help deliver a five-day program of impassioned live performances, workshops, literary lunches, and powerful stories, ideas and solutions.

What: Ubud Writer's Festival 2017

Where: Bali

When: 25-29 October 2017

Website:  http://www.ubudwritersfestival.com

Marina Mahathir will be at the Ubud Writer's Festival 2017

Marina Mahathir will be at the Ubud Writer's Festival 2017

The lineup includes the leading UK crime writer Ian Rankin, Canada’s literary star, Madeleine Thien, feminist icon Nh. Dini, and Malaysian minority rights activist and author, Marina Mahathir. Also attending will be Chinese author Jung Chang, whose family autobiography Wild Swans sold over ten million copies after being banned in his home country, and Tasmanian Saroo Brierley, whose memoir was adapted into the blockbuster film Lion.

The Festival will also stage special sessions where expert industry practitioners pass on ideas and practical advice to newstart writers. Advice sessions include Online Writing, hosted by Australian Brigid Delaney who has written for the DailyTelegraph in London as well as Guardian Australia.

The Festival not only helps promote Ubud as an arts and cultural centre, it also showcases Indonesian writers on an international stage and helps young Indonesians to reach their potential through associated educational programs and literature.

Proceeds from ticket sales go towards funding for free workshops for local children and high school students and teachers, and to subsidise attendances of local residents who could not otherwise afford to attend.

Bloomin' Tulips Festival, Tasmania

The Bloomin' Tulips Festival at Wynyard on the northern coast of Tasmania is being held on 14 October 2017. The annual celebration of everything that is colourful, beautiful and charming about this astonishingly fertile region will open on Saturday, then follow up with a series of related events for the following three weeks.


Visitors can walk through Table Cape, the largest cultivated tulip fields in the southern hemisphere, and also enjoy a superb floral showcase, art exhibition, and refreshments.

Bulbs, flowers and potted colour are also for sale at the Table Cape tulip farm for keen flower-watchers.

Less horticultural visitors can take part in a full day of free entertainment, kids activities and rides, as well as a multitude of food and beverage stalls, all set in the beautiful Gutteridge Gardens on the banks of the Inglis River.

To round off the day, the event will finish up with a bang - a fireworks display at 9pm. Just over an hour’s flight from Melbourne – or a drive from nearby Launceston - Wynyard is well worth a visit to some of Australia’s most unspoilt natural regions; it is only about an hour from the stunning Cradle Mountain National Park.


Contact info@bloomintulips.com.au for details

Sustainable Wonderfruit Festival, Thailand

The Wonderfruit Festival is happening again on December 14-17, at Siam Country Club Pattaya, Chon Buri. Billed as a festival of music, fireworks, fun and adventure, Wonderfruit works on what it calls a “fundamental ethos of sustainability and community.”

Apart from a lengthy lineup of international bands and musicians, it pledges to encourage, develop and innovate creative solutions for sustainable living - while bringing together a global community to celebrate all those things. Day and night music on offer is from Roots Manuva, Crew Love Takeover, Matt Sasari, Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band, Songhoy Blues, Hernandez Brothers, Be Svendsen and many more.


The festival emphasises its sustainable credentials by emphasising that all drinking water comes from re-filling stations filtered from natural lakes; most structures are built from recycled bamboo; plates and cutlery used are biodegradable and recyclable; and bar crockery is made from bio-mat, so it breaks down harmlessly.

As if that wasn’t enough, concert-goers at the last Wonderfruit event sponsored over 1000 mangrove trees in the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park in Myanmar, and helped make the festival carbon positive by investing in the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve in Indonesia.

Contact http://www.wonderfruitfestival.com for more details and advance tickets.

Conscious Festival's Singapore Green Warriors

Want to see who is making a sustainable change in Asia’s most dynamic city-state? The creators of the Green Is the New Black (GITNB) festival is staging an exhibition celebrating local heroes of the sustainable lifestyle called the Green Warriors Exhibition.

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The GITNB festival, dedicated to living consciously in Asia, have selected a collection of portraits that feature 30 prominent local eco-activists who it has chosen based on their commitment to embody conscious living, who have pushed limits in their respective industries, or who they judge to be truly representing business as a force for good of the environment.

Park Royal on Pickering

Park Royal on Pickering

The photographs were shot by photographers Flavien Prioreau and Zoe Kovacs. Rade Padit is also featured for his work in advancing and promoting sustainable fashion, and climate change activist Sandra Marichal, founder of Up2Degrees, is on the list for her work helping tackle climate change in Singapore.

The exhibition opens on Saturday 30 September 2017 at the Parkroyal on Pickering, at an invite only event, in association with the Conscious Festival. Contact GITNB for details and tickets.