This article raised a few questions in me ...
It says the in the article "We (Malaysia) rank 55 out of 56 nations assessed for efforts to mitigate global warming."
This is based on an index released by released by non-governmental groups Germanwatch and Climate Action Network-Europe, is based on data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and assessments by national experts and funded by Germany’s Economic Co-operation and Development Ministry.
I haven't read the index, and don't understand the mechanics of how the index was set up.
However, I predict denials by the authorities.
I'm sure they will question the index, and how the information is not accurate, or is not wholesome, or uses metrics that do not favor Malaysia. I'm sure that they will say that we're all ok, and the environment in Malaysia is great. I'm sure that they will tell us all we have lots of forests, and that everything is ok.
I guess I'll be pleasantly surprise if our leaders would actually say that they understand what the report says, and while they may not totally agree with where we stand in the index, they will work to improve our standing, because the environment is important, is worth protecting, regardless of where we end up in some index.
Sometimes, I'm not sure if the authorities see the point.
Malaysia has a part to play in mitigating climate change. We may have forests millions of years old, but we're really not helping the cause of the global effort in slowing, and hopefully, reversing climate change by continuing to do what we do. Having lots of forests doesn't give us the right to do environmentally damaging things.
The policies with regards to environment in Malaysia is unclear at best. Commercial interests continue to take top priority, relagating environmental concerns to the sidelines. It appears that the authorities view environmental protection as an irritation, more like a hurdle they need to clear instead of useful guidelines to adhere to in order to preserve our fragile environment.
Bakun, Tioman marina, Logging in Royal Belum, Development attempts in Sipadan, Over development in Redang, Over development in Cameron Highlands, Wetlands clearing in Sabah, Logging in Sabah and Sarawak. There are many examples.
Point in case is the constant sacrifice of forests for mega projects, housing, transportation infrastructure and plantations.
Adopting greener methods will push costs up. But these are monetary costs we are talking about. The environmental costs goes down. There are land clearing methods which are more environmentally friendly, for example, that can be adopted.
And as for transportation, we continue to keep building more and more roads instead of encouraging better public transportation. We are a nation that proudly churns out lots of National cars, but do we strictly ensure the National cars meet emission standards, for example?
We continue to develop without real regards or thought on the impact to the environment. Many large, mega projects continue to dominate the mind of the leaders. Do they really have the interest of the environment in their heart?
Even in terms of energy, we continue to rely on a lot of carbon fuel to supply our energy needs in Malaysia. Are we actively encouraging and pursuing renewable alternatives?
Climate change is global, but you don't need to travel to the Artic to feel the impact. Closer to home, our cities are already like mega heat traps. I'm sure no one calls Putrajaya a cool city to live in, literally. It's largely devoid of trees and greeneries that can cool the environment. When I first took my mum for a visit ... she commented that Putrajaya looked more like a desert town.
Even KL is getting hotter all the time.
But enough with the authorities. What about Malaysians at large? Are we actively playing a part in preserving our environment, or are we indirectly culpable?
By not making the environment a key concern, we are really, condoning the authorities' actions, aren't we? We let them off the hook. We allow them to get away without considering the environment.
I believe we have to make it clear that it is an important priority. While development must go on, while the country needs to forge ahead to remain competitive, we must believe we can do so without sacrificing our precious environmental treasures. We must ensure our leaders actively make the environment an important consideration in their decision making process.
And we can also make concious decisions to reduce carbon emissions in our daily lifes. Little things like using more efficient electrical appliances, switching off the lights when not required, using public transportation where possible and refraining from open burning.
Recently, the Australian government announced a decision to phase out incandescent filament bulbs, replacing them with energy saving light bulbs by 2010. If this can be implemented, it will potentially reduce carbon emissions by up to 4 million tonnes by 2012. Imagine a simple policy like this can save us all money and reduce environmental damage.
While alone, you and I have little power, together, as Malaysians, we each make a difference. Let's all start doing our own little bit to reduce environment damage.
After all, we don't own the world. We are just taking care of it for our children and their children.
07 March 2007
This article raised a few questions in me ...