SINGAPORE: Ms Marlina Yased, 45, a mother of five who lives in a two-room rental flat in Lengkok Bahru for 13 years has never considered herself much of an activist.
But after receiving rousing applause from more than 1,400 attendees after her speech at the SG Climate Rally this year, she understood how her voice can be "strong" and be used to deliver a "powerful message".
Addressing the crowd, Ms Marlina said: "As the climate crisis worsens, we must not give up. We must understand that we, the people also have the power to make change."
Ms Marlina was speaking at the first SG Climate Rally held at Hong Lim Park since the Covid-19 pandemic on Saturday (Sept 23) evening.
The other speakers were former Nominated Member of Parliament Geh Min, sustainability strategist and researcher Madhu Ardhanari, co-founder of LepakInSG Ho Xiang Tian and Nor Syazwan Abdul Majid, who founded Wan’s Ubin Journal.
Speakers at the rally, in line with the theme of inclusiveness, emphasised how the impact of the climate crisis is distributed unequally with lower-income residents disproportionately bearing the negative impacts of climate change.
For Ms Marlina, it is clear how climate change affects her daily life — the heat in her flat has become increasingly unbearable and air-conditioning units, even portable ones, are considered a “luxury” for her family.
The community worker said that the heat adds not only to her stress at work but poses financial stresses as higher temperatures lead to increased water consumption, risk of skin diseases and doctor’s visits.
Mr Syazwan, who runs the social platform Wan’s Ubin Journal, spoke about emphasising the importance of including indigenous voices and history in policy planning and education of climate change.
Drawing on his experience of learning his heritage as a descendant of the Ubin Orang Pulau from his mother, Mr Syazwan said: “The Orang Pulau were champions of sustainability. They understood what nature provided for them and the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature.”
Rally organiser Kristian-Marc James Paul said that advocating for climate justice means also being aware that climate change and the ways we tackle this issue is “fundamentally related” to other “bread and butter issues”.
Besides speeches, environmental groups such as Stude...