Singapore is a small island nation with limited land and water resources. Pressure on these resources is increasing as the population and economy grow. However, it is not just an economic or environmental challenge but also a moral and ethical responsibility to protect and conserve resources for future generations. In this blog post, we will look at the duty of the current generation of Singaporeans to manage resources wisely, the challenges Singapore faces in terms of resource scarcity, and the strategies being implemented to ensure sustainable resource management for the next generation.
Background on Singapore’s Resource Scarcity
Singapore’s resource problems stem from its small land area and limited natural resources. As one of the most densely populated countries in the world, Singapore is under constant pressure to make the most of its limited land and water resources.
One of the biggest challenges is the limited land available for development. Singapore has a total land area of only 721.5 square kilometres, and much of this land has already been developed for housing, industry and other uses. This means there is limited space for new development, making managing population growth and economic expansion challenging.
Another major challenge is water scarcity. Singapore depends on Malaysia and Indonesia for much of its water supply, and there are concerns about the long-term sustainability of these sources. In addition, Singapore’s limited land area means that water capture and storage capacity is limited.
Climate change also poses a significant threat to Singapore’s resources. Rising sea levels and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events could lead to flooding and water shortages.
Impact of Singapore’s rapidly aging population
Singapore’s population is aging rapidly, with nearly 1 in 5 citizens aged 65 and older. According to the annual Population In Brief report, the percentage of citizens 65 and older will reach 18.4% in 2022. This represents a significant increase from 11.1% in 2012 and 17.6% in 2021, and by 2030, nearly 1 in 4 citizens, or 23.8%, will be 65 and older. This demographic shift has significant implications for Singapore’s economy and society, as a more significant proportion of citizens will be retired and may require healthcare and other support services.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong highlighted the impact of Singapore’s rapidly aging population in his budget speech in February. He stated that health care will be the main factor in increasing government social spending in the coming years. As the population ages, demand for health and support services will increase, putting pressure on government finances. The government plans to invest more in health and support services to address this problem and improve the quality of life of the country’s elderly population. This underscores the importance of addressing the challenges of an aging population and finding sustainable solutions to ensure that Singapore’s healthcare system can meet the needs of its citizens well into the future.
Financial responsibility and intergenerational equity
Minister Lee acknowledged that Singapore’s limited resources force the government to make difficult choices between short-term and long-term priorities. He emphasized that meeting the needs and aspirations of today’s citizens must be balanced with preserving resources for future generations. He said that the government must carefully consider how it allocates resources to ensure sufficient resources for future generations to meet uncertain challenges that may arise. This means the government must invest strategically in sustainable development and infrastructure and encourage citizens to adopt more sustainable lifestyles.
Minister Lee also highlighted the importance of stewardship under the Singapore Social Pact, stressing that the current generation must avoid incurring unnecessary debt that could burden future generations. He explained that while it is essential to meet the current needs of citizens, it is also important to ensure that future generations can repay the debt incurred by the current generation. This means that the government must be financially responsible with its spending and prioritize long-term sustainability over short-term gains. Citizens also need to be aware of their financial decisions and the potential impact on future generations. By considering the long-term consequences of our actions, we can ensure that Singapore remains a prosperous country for generations to come.
The Risks of Failing to Act Responsibly in Resource Stewardship and Intergenerational Equity in Singapore
If we do not manage resources responsibly, it can have serious negative consequences for future generations. If resources are not managed sustainably, they will run out, and future generations will be left without the necessary resources to thrive. For example, let us assume that water resources must be managed appropriately. In this case, future generations could face water scarcity, leading to economic and social problems.
Similarly, land resources are not used responsibly. In this case, future generations may need more space for housing, industry, and other essential uses. Let us also assume that natural resources should be protected and preserved. In this case, future generations may need access to these resources’ biodiversity and ecosystem services.
In addition, the government and citizens are not taking steps to address the challenges of an aging population. In this case, future generations could face a heavy burden of health and long-term care costs. This could negatively impact the economy and make it difficult for future generations to afford the necessary services.
Many Singaporeans face daily challenges in meeting basic needs for themselves and their families, such as providing food and housing. Because of these pressing concerns, it becomes difficult for individuals to plan and think about the challenges and opportunities they will face in the next 30, 40, 50, or even 70 or 80 years. The speaker emphasized that employers need to be proactive on this issue so that people have the ability and resources to plan for the long term.