Live Streaming and Environmental Advocacy: Green Initiatives in Singapore

The rise of the internet era has catapulted various new forms of media to the forefront; one of which is live streaming. Live streaming is defined as “real-time information transfer recorded and broadcast through the internet.” Often through the use of webcams or cameras connected to a computer via the internet, information can be broadcasted to a variety of different platforms such as blogs, social media sites, and video hosting sites. The use of live streaming spans a wide range of topics from entertainment to education. Due to its ease of use and relatively low cost, it is a viable medium for environmental advocacy. Live streaming could also serve as an educational tool; an example would be a primary or secondary school hiring a live streamer to take students on a virtual tour of a zoo along with commentary regarding the various animals, which could help to raise awareness of wildlife preservation.

Benefits of Live Streaming for Environmental Advocacy

The key lies in how live streaming can improve their reach and engagement level. A research was done with a group of scientists and conservationists delivering content in the form of a seminar to a target audience. In this case, the seminar content was recorded and cut into footage for a reality TV program and viewed by the target audience group and another group with similar demographics at a later time. The results show that the group that watched the TV program showed more interest in the topic compared to the group watching the seminar, resulting in a more positive understanding and attitude towards nature conservation. This research implies the importance of delivering content to the audience in the most comfortable and familiar way. Live streaming Singapore is a connection between a broadcaster and a viewer in real time, which is quite similar to a seminar where a speaker is explaining a topic and the audience can respond by asking questions. If the content being delivered is entertaining and easy to understand, there will be a more positive impact on the audience’s perception of the topic. By providing impactful content while being able to interact with the audience in real time, it can change the perception and attitude of the audience towards nature and wildlife, which can contribute positive benefits to nature. This was proven in a project done by Wildscreen known as ARKive Live! in partnership with ZSL London Zoo. High definition footage on wildlife and nature conservation was live-streamed to a group of audience members who had no prior knowledge of the topic. Interaction between the audience and the wildlife film producer showed positive signs, where the audience showed interest and empathy towards the endangered species featured in the video, and most of them expressed their willingness to contribute or participate in nature conservation activities.

Increased Reach and Engagement

All in all, the presence of the mapping tool has the potential to enrich the experience of all viewers looking to get more involved in advocacy-themed content.

The concept of the project can be very broad. From layman’s terms, it’s anything with a beginning and an end. This could range from something as simple as a user requesting a drawing to creating a tutorial, to, as aforementioned, evolving the tagged location of a stream series from a bare map to a lush tapestry of relayed on-screen segments.

Tagging portions of a wilderness survival tutorial to corresponding maps of different biomes and environments makes it an educational tool. The browser exploring to locate it or the map being inaccurate of the lesson’s content could be discouraging. An embedded video is a guarantee that they will be reached on delivering URL and can move on to create your maps a month later and still expect visits to those very same videos.

How about showing the process and completion of volunteer work in maintaining an area’s ecological health? Stream footage, tag the location, and watch it evolve on a map throughout numerous broadcasts. Set a weekly schedule and meet at that location each week to reveal a noticeable improvement. This will result in a more fulfilling experience for both the broadcaster and viewer, cherishing the entertained morale of environmental betterment.

Making talk of this map function, the goal is to achieve an approach that delivers full-on promises of cynically low takes, plundered from a banner advertisement. It’s worked on us, right? But let’s remove the cynicism. Creating an interactive mapping tool adds a layer of depth in content for your viewers. This means visually displaying and connecting elements of your stream to the location that inspired it.

Cost-Effective Communication

Businesses have more flexibility in choosing when to communicate with their audience when using live streaming Singapore technology. With the offline method, businesses would have to book a conference at the correct date and time, specific to the product or event to be released. Scheduling may also interfere with other events the company is participating in. This would force the business to have to reschedule the conference event and can result in wasted time and money.

Live streaming is by far less expensive than hosting an event or a conference. Some live streaming events are free to viewers, while some are paid. Companies can choose to have a set price for their live stream, or they can also provide different pricing options for viewers. Pricing out different demographic groups can be very useful for product releases or marketing events. Pay per view can also be set up where a user needs to pay to view the live stream. If budget is more of a concern, free live streams still can provide just as much success with viewership as a paid stream. Free streams can actually have far more viewers than a paid stream would have. Viewers also have a bigger chance of leaving the stream early with a paid stream. Overall, whether the paid or free stream, there will be high cost savings from live streaming a product release or marketing event. This method also works in line with most marketing budgets for companies.

Real-Time Interaction with Viewers

One of the most effective formats for changing attitudes and inciting action is the use of narratives. A study by Waddell and Sohal (1998) found that videos with a narrative plot were more effective in triggering different types of cognitive and affective learning responses compared to expository videos. Live streaming allows for the use of narratives to be employed in an interactive setting. For example, a streamer could take his viewers on a journey about the environmental issues facing a place and what is being done to solve them. He could then visit and interview locals within the stream. This would be far more engaging for the viewer and have a greater impact than him writing an article or blog after the fact. Further to this, different people have different preferred learning styles and interactivity allows for content to be tailored to individuals.

A simple model proposed by Rafaeli and Noy (2002) suggests that the more similar a medium is to conversation, the ‘warmer’ the interaction will be and the more positive attitudes and effects. This is because people are accustomed to talking to learn and resolve problems. Live streaming fits this model well and has been shown to lead to attitude change.

When compared to offline interactions, much of greater importance than the increased reach and cost effectiveness of live streaming is the ability to interact with viewers in real time. This is because it allows for a two-way interaction between broadcaster and viewer. Given that the main aim of environmental advocacy is to change people’s attitudes and behavior, this can be invaluable. Dedding (2004) states that educational communication is more likely to be persuasive if it is perceived as two-way. This was also detailed by two meta-analyses. The pooled correlation between perceived interactivity and change in learning was 0.37 and for perceived interactivity and effective learning it was 0.47.

Green Initiatives in Singapore

Energy efficiency measures are seen as the first and foremost approach to mitigate climate change, with the addition of low-energy buildings as an ongoing program. Demand-side management is also seen as another key initiative trialed in Singapore. One successful example already in place is the installation of smart LED street lighting. It was trialed as part of the larger smart grid initiative, with the intelligent streetlights consuming less energy and aiding power generation, which emits fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A 50% target ratio of energy-efficient industrial facilities and buildings by 2020 has also been set in the Singapore energy efficiency national partnership. This corresponds to an existing industrial energy efficiency improvement target of 1-2% per year in ten major energy-intensive industries (iron and steel, cement, refinery, petrochemical, chemicals, semiconductor, food, printing, and office).

In 2009, Singapore made a bold promise to slow the growth of its greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of peaking emissions around 2020, and then to reduce emissions to 7-11% below 2020 levels by 2030. To fulfill this, when energy consumption is expected to nearly double from 125TWh in 2015 to around 200TWh in 2050, to keep up with the expected population and rapid urbanization, green energy is seen to offer a potential solution to reconcile Singapore’s commitments to mitigate climate change without compromising economic growth and energy security.

Sustainable Energy Sources

Renewable Energy Credits The Energy Market Authority (EMA) has been tasked to develop Singapore’s renewable energy strategies and has since implemented a couple of initiatives. One such initiative would be the Electricity Import Pilot that was launched in 2008, which would allow renewable energy to be imported and sold in Singapore. Another initiative would be the introduction of renewable energy credits (RECs) in 2017. RECs are used to track and trade the renewable energy generated, as each REC reflects the attributes of the renewable energy generated. These credits would help to support the cost and deployment of renewable energy in Singapore, and this would lead to lower renewable energy costs in the future, which would be beneficial for Singapore when renewable energy becomes a viable competitive alternative.

Nuclear The government has considered using nuclear energy as a sustainable energy source for the future. At first thought, this would be a good alternative to our current fossil fuel dependence. Currently, SembCorp and Keppel are helping with the desalination effort. This is, of course, a long-term lifeline for our energy independence, but it is not a renewable resource and depending on the type of reactor, it can be a nuclear risk too high to take in a densely populated country like Singapore.

Introduction Singapore, although a small country, is highly urbanized. Because of this, Singapore has to depend on a huge amount of energy to meet the level of economic activities in the country. The country currently generates its energy by burning natural gas for electricity. It is anticipated that Singapore will become increasingly energy dependent as its energy consumption increases with the growth of Singapore’s economy. This may lead to an increased per-capita carbon emission. A sustainable energy source would be the way for Singapore to lessen environmental impact for future generations.

Waste Management and Recycling Programs

Waste is one of those things that we produce every day and can affect the environment at any level. So, considering that situation, Singapore has implemented some new ideas for recycling and reusing stuff. The initiative was taken by signing an agreement with the countries in 2001, called the Lighthouse Strategy (LHS). Its aim is to convert the problem of waste disposal into a resource. Malaysia and Indonesia used a 300-year-old method of disposing waste into the sea, which affected marine life and other things. This issue led Singapore to impose a “NO MORE NEW IDEAS” policy, stating that countries should solve their waste issues outside Singapore. Now, coming back to today, we can say that the Lighthouse Strategy was a success because Singapore no longer has to take waste from Malaysia and Indonesia. This, in turn, has led to an answer to the waste problem by gaining interests in recycling and waste-to-energy incineration technologies. In the past years, we have developed capabilities in various waste recycling technologies, from paper recycling to more advanced ones such as incineration, waste-to-energy, and landfill mining projects. The aim is to convert every form of waste into a resource, which will also lengthen the lifespan of Semakau Landfill. Currently, the main form of waste disposal is still incineration, with recycling being a relatively small part, collecting only low-end recyclables. Consumers at this stage are not willing to pay extra dollars for high-end recycling services, and similarly, companies are not willing to invest in providing these services. Typically, the investment costs for recycling equipment/machinery are high, and the returns from selling the recycled products are low and not economical. In the global context, it is not economical to recycle due to low oil prices. A shift in the way people think about the environment is very much required. This will lead to a change in policies and an increase in R&D in advanced recycling technologies and recycling products. This can be seen in Hewlett Packard’s efforts to increase the collection of used computer parts for recycling and environmental groups pushing for a change in government policies for recycling and incentives for using recycled products.

Conservation Efforts for Biodiversity

As Singapore is highly urbanised, development pressures will always be a challenge to our conservation efforts. However, it is essential to integrate conservation considerations into national level land use planning to ensure that there will be a balance between development and conservation in the long term. The designation of nature reserves and other forms of protected areas will help to ensure the long term preservation of our natural heritage. In the long run, conservation of biodiversity will be best achieved if it is mainstreamed into national, regional and local policies, and built into the plans and activities of businesses, individuals and non-governmental organisations.

Singapore’s biodiversity is increasingly threatened through the loss of natural habitats and the introduction of invasive species. In recognition of Singapore’s rich natural heritage and the need to conserve it for future generations, the Singapore government has set up various initiatives to conserve and enhance our natural heritage. The current conservation strategy for Singapore revolves around the conservation of representative areas of our natural heritage, retaining ecological resilience of the preserved areas, and where possible, restoring ecological systems and processes in degraded areas. A comprehensive inventory of plant and animal species is also being compiled to enhance the management of biodiversity. These initiatives serve to ensure that our natural heritage is safeguarded and available for future generations to enjoy and explore.

Eco-friendly Transportation Solutions

In addition to this, Singapore is also considering a green vehicle rebate to replace old vehicles with new environmentally friendly vehicles, or even e-scooters or electric bicycles, in order to promote the usage of environmentally friendly vehicles. This is important considering that old vehicles are the largest contributors to CO2 emissions. By replacing old vehicles with new electric vehicles, emissions can be significantly decreased. Plus, you can save the environment while saving money with the help of the rebate.

This system will employ dynamic pricing, whereby car rental will be expensive during peak periods and much cheaper during off-peak periods. There will also be a special area surcharge, where rental will be higher for selected locations. The high rental during peak periods and special area surcharge will discourage usage of shared vehicles in these areas. With cheaper rental during off-peak periods, customers will be incentivized to change their travel times to the off-peak period.

So, there will be a sharing network which implements a car sharing system with advanced technology that will reduce the usage of cars in Singapore. In this system, vehicles can be rented by the hour. We also plan to use electric cars that produce less pollution to the environment, as an extension to the clean vehicle rebate for electric vehicles implemented in Singapore.

Successful Examples of Live Streaming for Environmental Advocacy

Live streaming is also a method under consideration. An example can be a virtual tour of a new and sustainable infrastructure project in Singapore. A tour of this nature can be a little difficult to capture due to the fact that it is only intended for actual site visitors. By live streaming a virtual tour, it becomes accessible to anyone who is interested, be it students wanting to do a project/assignment or other countries that may want to undertake similar projects. This allows for widespread coverage of the target audience, making it more effective. Moreover, it only takes a person manning a camera or even automatic virtual tours and linking it to any streaming site. This would be a cost-effective and modern way of reaching out to people with minimal effort.

One example of successful live streaming for environmental advocacy can be found on the Climate Action SG website. Every now and then, interesting environmental events that provide a great opportunity for educating the public will be available for live streaming. Some of the events they have live-streamed include the Annual Environmental Challenge Award (AECA) and the Singapore Apex Corporate Sustainability Awards (CESA). Both events aim to encourage the private and public sectors to play a part in sustainability and climate-friendly practices, ultimately educating the public sector to adopt environmentally friendly practices. As these events may not be well advertised via pamphlets or advertisements, live streaming them makes them publicly available for concerned individuals to take note of and learn from.

Live Streaming of Environmental Events and Conferences

On an individual level, a group of students at Nanyang Technological University’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information undertook a webcast project entitled ‘Going Green in the Wee Kim Wee’. The objective was to raise awareness among their fellow university students about what they could do for environmental sustainability in their everyday lives. A series of webcast episodes was created and posted on various social media platforms, and a specific website was built for the project. Using an interactive and personable approach, the webcasts dealt with topics such as recycling, food waste, and energy conservation. Viewers were encouraged to give feedback on the episodes, and the project culminated in a public seminar and an online pledge to do something for the environment. An overall positive feedback suggested the project had succeeded in bringing greater awareness to the issue, and something concrete in the form of the pledge.

In the applicability and availability of live streaming technologies becomes more widespread across the world, an increasing number of environmental events and conferences are bringing their messages to cyberspace. This has great potential for increasing international awareness about environmental issues and sustainability. With support from Singapore’s National Library Board, the recent ‘First National Green Libraries Conference’ held its live broadcast of speeches and PowerPoint presentations, following up with discussion forums with the presenters. An evaluation was done at the end of the conference to see if the stated objectives were met. While the true effectiveness of these efforts is difficult to gauge, simply taking the first steps in marrying ICTs with environmental advocacy is an important move given the great potential these technologies offer.

Virtual Tours of Sustainable Infrastructure Projects

The Waterways Watch Society (WWS) regularly conducts workshops and activities on waterways and environmental conservation for the community. In an effort to engage a larger audience, the WWS collaborated with LDR to produce a series of live streaming on the environment and conservation. The live streams took viewers through various local waterways and explained the environmental issues plaguing those waterways. This was done in conjunction with a virtual tour using Google Earth. The WWS team shared many insights and anecdotes from their experiences at those locations. Viewers were often surprised on discovering the amount of wildlife and greenery that still exists in Singapore. At the same time, it was made known to the viewers that much of it is under threat due to modern development. The audience feedback was very positive and many were motivated to visit those locations to take a look for themselves.

Another brilliant way in which live streaming can engage citizens and stakeholders is by giving them an interactive tour of the projects. An example of live streaming the virtual tour of a project can be seen with the demonstration of the Punggol Waterway. In this case, the national water agency, PUB, partnered with Mediacorp and hosted a guided tour of the Punggol Waterway project. The live stream took viewers through the entire waterway and explained in detail the various eco-friendly features that are part of the project. At the same time, the audience had the chance to interact with the host by asking questions about the project. This provided viewers with very in-depth knowledge of the project and, at the same time, allowed the host to clear any doubts that the viewers had. Lastly, the interaction gave viewers a sense of involvement in the project, encouraging a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Educational Live Streams on Environmental Topics

Recycling Point Dot Com, a virtual recycling and landfill center servicing the needs of Singapore and Malaysia’s manufacturing and home community, is an initiative that has successfully held educational live streams to disseminate information on various environmental topics. An environmental expert is invited as a guest speaker, and has found that using live chat and answering questions on the specific topic after the presentation engages the audience more effectively and facilitates a clearer understanding of the information discussed. The video and presentation materials are usually made available for download after the session for easy reference.

During Singapore’s annual Clean and Green Week, members of the International Water Association (IWA) and PUB Singapore’s national water agency organized a live webinar and Q&A session discussing the Singapore water story. The public was invited to listen to the presentation and ask questions during the allocated Q&A time. The webinar was the first of its kind organized by the National Water Association and was aimed specifically at reaching out to the general public. This session was also a successful example of live streaming for environmental advocacy. By reaching out to the general public instead of targeting industry professionals, a wider audience was exposed to the various water sustainability issues and importance of water reuse.

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