“I always remind myself, if not me, who? If not now, when?”
Cheryl is the community engagement manager at #Up2degrees, a place where messages are spread to raise awareness of the Earth’s climate. #Up2degrees focuses on the impact that air-conditioners have on the climate and subsequently on the ice sheets in Antarctica. If the ice in Antarctica melts completely, there will be a rise in sea levels by 60 meters. With Singapore being a mere 15 meters above sea level, such an occurrence would be a true danger to our country. That being said, they spread the message of turning your air-conditioners #up2degrees so that the planet won’t have to do it. With the push of a button on our remotes, we can collectively play a part to keep the ice sheets in Antarctica intact.
“Sometimes my peers would laugh, mock or judge my works, but we should not be afraid to care.”
According to Cheryl, her source of inspiration is nature itself. Growing up, Cheryl was a victim of bullying which affected her confidence. When she entered Nanyang Polytechnic, she stumbled across and joined the school’s Green Group, where she was exposed to a world of love and passion. Through her works, she started to realise that confidence comes from the recognition that everyone is special in their own way. Her strong desire to help the Earth came from its relatable situation. That is the situation of being voiceless and unheard. The Earth is subjected to neglect, disruption, and being unable to speak makes its suffering unheard to its inhabitants. That’s why Cheryl believes in stepping in to be a voice for the Earth who can’t speak.
Apart from being the community engager, Cheryl wears many hats and holds commitments at the School of Something and the Singapore Eco Film Festival. As a result, the challenge of time management and prioritisation arises. Often, she finds herself not being able to find the time to rest and reflect on her energy. There may even be days where Cheryl feels stagnant with her work and demoralised. To help alleviate this challenge, Cheryl meditates and practices yoga every night. She also reminds herself that she has the ability to make a choice. The choice of whether she wishes to be part of the problem or the solution.
Outreach programmes create a sense of excitement and passion for Cheryl especially when she witnesses the signs of interest in the audience. One of her favourite stories includes how #Up2degrees managed to make a change in the legislation for the BCA Green Mark award for Thermal comfort with the aid of the community and the government. It’s always a memorable experience to share stories on how people can collectively make a difference in the Earth’s climate and fate.
“At the end of the day, what matters most is what we feel about ourselves and whether or not we are working towards our values.”
When asked what doing good meant to Cheryl, she responded with her belief that it is about putting a smile on faces and helping others in need, be it people, animals or plants. She then followed with some words of encouragement for aspiring change-makers in our society. The simplest act someone can do to make a difference is to ask, empathise and communicate. Making a difference could be as simple as being curious about our surroundings, understanding the impact of our actions and putting ourselves in the shoes of people.
We can change the world together. Let’s start by turning our air-conditioners #Up2degrees.
Everyday Heroes is an online series that captures stories of youths creating impact and embracing possibilities to build a more positive community in Singapore. Most importantly, they help stand as positive reminders that doing good doesn’t have to look a certain way!
#EverydayHeroes #TheHiddenGood #sgyouthcares #nycsg