Bedok View Secondary School

(Source: The Straits Times, February 4, 2012)

This “grow your own crops” initiative was spearheaded by Bedok View Secondary School, with the help from NParks. A rooftop garden was installed where students can grow their own crops. The crops will then be sold and proceeds from sale will be used to provide needy students with food vouchers.


Importance and relevance of this green practice

Since most students live in a HDB flat with limited area for gardening and vegetation, this project spearheaded by Bedok View Secondary School allows students to immerse themselves in the gardening and vegetation culture. Being exposed to such practices early will likely to get these students more interested in green practices later on.

The students will also learn how crops are harvested and the types of chemicals farmers may use for harvesting. With this new knowledge, this will heighten their wariness of the types of chemicals and fertilisers that go into their vegetable dishes. The students can then play a pivot role influencing their families’ consumerism pattern. In the long run, this is likely to dissuade farmers from using harmful chemical that will affect ecological diversity.

Since the students have to be physically involved in the harvesting, this green practice also brings health benefits to the students. As seen, this practice can benefit both the environment and the students.

Environmental Vegetarianism (EV)

There is an old adage that goes ‘things that are self-grown taste sweeter’. Well, this is just a figurative of speech of course. But this could have a huge environmental impact. Since the harvesting of the crops requires the hard work and patience of the students, they are more likely to cherish their vegetable. This may then increase their tendency towards vegetarianism. So how does becoming a vegetarian contributes to environmentalism?

Well the answer lies in Environmental Vegetarianism (EV). The whole idea of EV is that harvesting animals for food is more environmentally unsustainable compared to organic farming. Harvesting animal products are generally more environmentally unfriendly, and also contribute significantly to greenhouse gases and eventually global warming. There are three main reasons for this.

First, producing 1 calorie from an animal protein will require 11 times more fossil fuel, which will also produce 11 times as much carbon dioxide (main contributor of greenhouse gases). Second, reports have suggested that excrement produced by animals also lead to higher methane emission. Methane traps heat in our atmosphere 20 times more than carbon dioxide (Mohr, 2005). Third, it is found that meat and dairy factories produce up to 65% of nitrous oxide in the world. Nitrous oxide is estimated to be 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to global warming (PETA, 2012).

Besides, going vegetarian will also decrease the probability of animal extinction. The world has already witnessed that animals can indeed be eaten to extinction. One example is Pangolin, considered a delicacy in China, Africa and Indonesia. So over-consumed, that IUCN has already listed two species of Pangolin as endangered (IUCN, 2012). Another highly endangered animals at the brink of extinction due to overfishing is the Mediterranean bluefin tuna (WWF, 2009)