Friday, September 5, 2008


Any idea how much you are contributing to deforestation with all those printing of lecture notes, tutorials, readings etc? You might be surprised to hear that patches of forests the size of 300 football fields are disappearing from India every hour as we speak now. But besides being surprised, are you going to do anything about it? You are probably going to argue that not all the deforestation activities are due to our incredible high usage of paper and you are most probably right. Deforestation can be due to clearing of land for agriculture purposes, infrastructure expansion etc. While at our level we might not be able to do anything about that, we do have a choice in helping reduce the rate of deforestation, if not stop it. Due to time constraint (and word limit constraint), I will not go into all the consequences of deforestation which I believe most of us are pretty familiar with.

As a NUS Science Faculty student, I can easily use up as many as 40 pieces of paper a week and I am sure I am not the heaviest user around. So can you imagine how much paper are used by all the NUS students every year? Besides assignments and tutorials which I have to submit, I print everything else on scrap paper which only has one of its sides used. I am sure most of us have experienced packing our notes at the end of every semester. For me, I was always very amazed at how much stuff I have printed, although how much stuff I have studied never fails to shock me too. And I can confidently say that most of the notes that we have printed will never be touched again after we're through with those modules! So what do you do with all those paper? How many of us are aware that during our final exam period, there is always a recycling corner set up at the SRC for students to throw away their papers after they have taken the examinations? If you don't know, maybe it's time that you sit down and start exploring the different ways and channels you can help in making this world a better place to live in. We are, after all, citizens of the Earth!

Is this the kind of future you have in mind for our children?

Research Question: Are students from the Science Faculty of NUS aware of the rate of deforestation and the effects that their heavy paper usage habits have on it?

Purpose Statement: The main objective would be to find out the level of awareness among the students on their own paper usage habits and if there is a need to improve the situation. Another objective would be to research on the extent of deforestation caused by the various human activities and how that has affected the lives on Earth.

Reason for Attitudinal Survey: We have to understand the paper usage habits of the students and their perspectives before we can decide on the appropriate actions that we can take when approaching this issue. Ultimately we want to raise the general level of awareness of the students on the consequences of deforestation caused by human activities and what we can do to curb it.


Blogger Brad Blackstone said...

Dear Lyon,

Maybe I didn't explain this assignment enough.
Or am I missing something? You've given me a sort of context for a discussion of an interesting potential research topic, but you have not delineated any specifics! I want to see your research question, and possibly your problem statement. I also need to know something about the population you will be surveying and why that will be important.

For a reference, look at this blog post from a student in my other group:

It might be better for you to amend this.


September 6, 2008 at 2:52 AM

Blogger Lyon said...

Dear Brad,

I am really sorry about this. Actually the purpose statements etc have been written out but I thought I was supposed to leave this for discussion on Tuesday and so I did not post that. I have just added that in.


September 6, 2008 at 4:01 AM

Blogger Brad Blackstone said...

Thanks, Lyon. This is much improved, and you've presented what could be an excellent research topic.


September 6, 2008 at 10:56 PM

Blogger Hui Xuan said...

Hi Lyon,

I do agree that deforestation is a great issue. It is one of the major causes of global warming too.

I use a lot of paper too because there are so much notes and readings that needs to be printed.
However, I feel that generally, NUS students do know about the effects of deforestation and do not waste paper. I know of many friends who also print notes on scrap paper.

I think recycling is really important since we cannot reduce the usage of paper here. Creating an awareness of having recycling bins at SRC is a very good idea. I guess there are many people who is unaware of this. I do not know about this too.

September 8, 2008 at 5:05 AM

Blogger Lyon said...

Hello Hui Xuan,

Yes I do believe that in general the students of Science Faculty knows about the consequences of deforestation but I am interested to find out do they have an accurate gauge of how much they are contributing to it. They might not waste paper but sometimes if you try to squeeze more slides in one piece of paper it helps in saving even more paper too (:

Just knowing that there is a recycling corner at SRC is not good enough. We need to educate the students and make them realise the importance of recycling paper so that they will make an effort to bring all their notes down to SRC at the end of every semester.

September 8, 2008 at 5:56 AM

Blogger Tiffany said...

Hello Lyon,

I totally agree that your research topic is interesting! After watching "An Inconvenient Truth" the documentary "starring" Al Gore, I became more conscious of the environment and am trying my best to do my part!

In the Science Library, I still do see many students printing tonnes and tonnes of papers one-sided or using up one slide per page for their lecture notes. Everytime I see this, I get quite angry. I think that NUSSU S.A.V.E has been trying its best to enforce double-sided printing to encourage students to use less paper but the ignorance of students really turns me off.

I can understand that sometimes, there are way too many notes and readings to be printed because I myself use up about 50 pages of printing in about 2-3 days (with 2 slides per sheet and double sided). So maybe, this would be a calling for the NUS administration to look into this matter and provide some form of E-resource or have online lessons or some form of teaching that will not use up as much paper.

September 8, 2008 at 6:25 AM

Blogger Hui Xuan said...

Hi Lyon,

I do agree that we need to let the students realise the importance of recycling. And if we are successful, we could really save a lot of trees. (:

September 8, 2008 at 8:19 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home