Even if you never have the chance to see or touch the ocean, the ocean touches you with every breath you take, every drop of water you drink, every bite you consume. Everyone, everywhere is inextricably connected to and utterly dependent upon the existence of the sea. ― Sylvia A. Earle
Service. Change. Amends. There are currently around 60 service clubs at SAS, with essentially every single SAS high schooler currently involved in repairing humanity for the better. It can be said without a doubt that service has played an important part in the lives of busy SAS high schoolers.
Juggling a busy schedule between studying for tests, participating in sports, preparing for the SATs, and more, these high schoolers still make time to be active members in these clubs. By just being an SAS student, a wide variety of choices of service clubs will be open to you.
Yet, despite these choices, there was still something missing…What covers two-thirds of our planet? What makes up over 50 percent of our bodies? What do we drink every day?
The answer is simple: Water. SAS did not have a service club that primarily focused on the conservation of oceans (one of the biggest conservation movements), not until now.
For billions on this planet, a healthy clean ocean means jobs, food, and protection. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that fisheries and aquaculture support the lives of 10 to 12 percent of the world’s population. More than 90 percent of those employed by fisheries work in small-scale operations in developing countries. Additionally, we consume products from the ocean daily. As a species and inhabitants of planet Earth, it’s imperative to make sure that we take care and preserve our oceans.
That is exactly what one of the newest service-oriented clubs at SAS plans to do. We’re about talking about Blue Planet Initiative (BPI), a club unlike all the other clubs here at SAS.
Founder and president of BPI, John Tsao, did something that hadn’t been done at SAS before—creating a club focused primarily on the marine conservation efforts. In an interview, he said “the premise for Blue Planet Initiative [was] to engage the student population at SAS, inspiring them to engage in marine conservation actions, and through that, influence the community.”
Tsao founded the club based on two principal motives. First, because of the considerable distance separating ocean and land, conservation efforts are extremely difficult in some aspects. BPI hopes to help the global movement by providing another pair of hands. This is in large contrast to other types of conversation movements such as wildlife conservation where impacting something as close to our backyards can prove to be useful.
The other reason for the founding of the club can be attributed to the focus of environmental activism with regards to terrestrial and marine habitats lacking clarity. BPI hopes to help clear this ambiguity regarding marine conservation.
And while BPI is unique in terms of other clubs at this school, it’s still of great importance that it has a close, interconnected relationship with other conservation efforts at SAS. In order to make sure club goals don’t overlap, Tsao has made sure that BPI’s goal is clear and distinguished in terms of defining reforms and solutions in order for it to be effective.
The unique thing about BPI is that it places a bigger emphasis on action-based and out-of-school approaches towards service. As Tsao said, “It allows our members to truly practice the skills of critical thinking and planning, exposing them to the problem firsthand. Our concept focuses on the inclusiveness of all parties and awareness advocacy”.
As any other service club, Blue Planet Initiative participates in different activities in order to reach their goals. This school year, the club will be undertaking the following activities:
Plastic Campaign SAS/Singapore—A plastic reduction movement at SAS to cut down plastic or non/partially biodegradable wastes. BPI is working on a campaign to end plastic bags as well as other plastic products among retailers.
- Blue Planet Music Festival—A partnership with Zouk Singapore in creating an annual music festival championing climate actions. BPI believes in uniting people on a singular issue through the power of music.
- Oceans Youth Gala—A social networking event for champions of the environment in collaboration with Resorts World Sentosa S.E.A Aquarium. Alongside that, there will be a professional panel featuring renowned documentarians, scientists, environmentalists and corporate world leaders, providing a platform for exchange of thoughts and ideas.
- Misool Baseftin Committee—A joint project with Global Issues Network SAS, Misool Foundation, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Dorsal Effect to end the fin trade in Singapore through investigation and awareness campaigns.
- Ocean Whispers—A book and an art gallery that features detailed drawn images of the biodiversity under the sea.
- Climate and Oceans March Singapore—The first-ever climate march in Singapore alongside the Earth Hour event in partnership with WWF and 350.org.
John Tsao hopes that Blue Planet Initiative will integrate well with the SAS family of service clubs, gain recognition locally (and internationally), as well as play an integral role in Singapore's sustainability. He wants BPI to break boundaries, and change perspectives as youth work towards this noble cause. This is a club with a strong and clear goal, and passion to change marine life for the better.
BPI's impact will be subjected to and defined by the faith and courage of the members and their leaders. Only then, can their aspirations be accomplished.
It is important to recognize that great historical schools stand on the shoulders of giants. The work we have been able to accomplish recently is only possible because of the equally impressive work of leaders and faculty over many generations before us.
Your thoughts can take you away from being present. As a result, you are not able to connect with others or build strong relationships. Middle school counselor Mark Swarstad shares how one can be present while in conversations.
At Singapore American School, relationships matter. Over the years, we have made great strides putting systems in place to care for every single student on campus.