Sci­ence, sealed and de­liv­ered in TN50

Women, too, can be a voice for the cause they are cham­pi­oning

New Straits Times - - Opinion - DR LOUISA S. PONNAMPALAM

MALAYSIA is a coun­try blessed with beau­ti­ful na­ture. Sit­u­ated in global ter­res­trial and marine bio­di­ver­sity “hotspots”, it hosts the world’s old­est rain­forests that teem with unique flora and fauna, and seas rich in marine species large and small.

That said, Malaysia is also a rapidly de­vel­op­ing coun­try bent on reach­ing de­vel­oped coun­try sta­tus within the next few years. That am­bi­tion has, to a large ex­tent, come at the cost of her nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, at the ecosys­tem and bio­di­ver­sity lev­els.

A pro­gres­sive and de­vel­oped na­tion is one that un­der­stands and ap­pre­ci­ates the value of na­ture and the ser­vices it pro­vides to sup­port our liv­ing, thus, in­vests in safe­guard­ing it for gen­er­a­tions to come. Why should we care, when usu­ally top­ics such as eco­nomics, in­fra­struc­ture, health­care and ed­u­ca­tion are the ones clos­est to our hearts?

Well, our seafood stocks are de­plet­ing, wa­ter catch­ment ar­eas los­ing out to log­ging, we have al­ready lost wildlife species and are on the brink of los­ing more — strange weather anom­alies are be­com­ing the norm, nat­u­ral wa­ter sources are dry­ing up re­sult­ing in mas­sive short­ages, and the im­pacts of pol­lu­tion are be­com­ing more prom­i­nent. This cer­tainly does not sound con­vinc­ing for a de­vel­oped na­tion.

This is not a mat­ter of tree hug­ging, and this is where I am glad that the en­vi­ron­ment is one of

the top­ics be­ing given “air time” in the Trans­for­masi Na­sional 2050 (TN50) ini­tia­tive. To that end, I am hon­oured by the op­por­tu­nity to lend my voice to chart our course for safe­guard­ing Malaysia’s en­vi­ron­ment — for food, for ecosys­tem ser­vices, for re­cre­ation, for cli­mate reg­u­la­tion, and, ul­ti­mately, our sur­vival.

As some­one liv­ing a child­hood dream and one who has carved a suc­cess­ful na­tional and in­ter­na­tional ca­reer in marine sci­ence and con­ser­va­tion (a rather atyp­i­cal ca­reer in Malaysia), I hope that my story em­pow­ers many pas­sion­ate young girls and women out there to be­lieve that this “rugged” ca­reer isn’t just for the boys.

They, too, could be out there in the field, spend­ing hours exposed to the el­e­ments while col­lect­ing im­por­tant data on the en­vi­ron­ment or reach­ing out to com­mu­ni­ties, and then be a voice for the cause they are cham­pi­oning, and that their voice shall be heard.

This is my as­pi­ra­tion for young fe­male Malaysians — in the coming 30 years, you have a right­ful place in sci­ence, in pol­icy ad­vo­cacy, in be­ing the crafts(wo)men of your fu­ture and that of your coun­try.

I come from a lin­eage of strong and re­silient women, and I be­lieve many Malaysians of my gen­er­a­tion do, too. Per­haps, most of our moth­ers and grand­moth­ers while strong in essence, hav­ing emerged from many hard­ships, did not have the op­por­tu­nity to be the shapers of our coun­try’s tra­jec­tory. It was just not the fash­ion of their day.

How­ever, we, the fe­male youth of Malaysia, in­her­ited their strength and re­silience, and to­gether with the op­por­tu­ni­ties of ed­u­ca­tion that we’ve been given, the fu­ture is ours to shape along with our male brethren.

So ladies, TN50 is your plat­form to launch.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.