"WHEN she was a child, she wanted to be like Captain Planet, a cartoon super hero who fights to save the planet from environmental problems. Of course, she doesn't have his super powers, but uses her talents to make an impact on Mother Earth. Ms Tan Peng Ting, 24, will attend the first Eco-Minds Youth Forum on sustainable development in Manila at the end of this month.
This is not the first time she's representing Singapore in such a programme. Last November, she was chosen as a Bayer Young Environmental Envoy for her contributions in promoting the preservation of Pulau Ubin.
She had set up an online information archive containing personal stories, history and articles about Ubin. She also helped organise Pedal Ubin, a unique guided-tour of the island on bicycle.
Together with three other Singaporeans, she won a week-long trip to Germany last November, with all expenses paid by Bayer.
Her older sister, Ms Tan Peng Ling, 32, recalled how Ms Tan loved Captain Planet when she was in Primary Five. She said: 'I got her an activity book and mask because I knew she wanted to be Captain Planet when she grew up.' The younger Ms Tan still has the mask.
This year, she impressed the judges again with other environmental programmes. The third-year Geography undergraduate from NUS set up a local 'whistle-blower' group with a difference. The two-month-old group is called Toddycats Engage and they are open to the 100-plus volunteers with the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.
They meet once a month to give feedback and to voice concerns over issues like trees being cut down during estate upgradings and air-conditioning being excessively cold.
Said Ms Tan Peng Ting: 'We write letters on the spot. It's an avenue for people to express themselves. We hope to build a civil society by giving feedback regularly.
'We don't just point out the bad, we applaud the good. When people are affirmed, they are more willing to listen to future feedback.'
ECO-MINDS Forum is a joint youth environmental education programme of the United Nations Environment Program and Bayer.
Delegates from nine Asia Pacific countries, selected from fields such as natural sciences, engineering and commerce will team up to discuss problems caused by development."
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