How sincere are we?
JUST as electricity is so easy to use, it is also so easy to waste – do you always remember to switch off the lights or the photocopier in the office when clocking out last?
In our daily lives, to what extent are we making an effort to use public transport such as the Klang Valley’s MRT instead of private vehicles? How are we supporting recycling efforts? How many are willing to go the extra mile to protect and safeguard our existing limited green spaces in the city?
Even though many Malaysians believe that environmental considerations should be given priority, our increasingly affluent lifestyles unfortunately indicate otherwise. So let’s stop hiding behind the “going green” label and be honest about our lifestyles that, more often than not, is the antithesis to the noble objectives of a green regime.
Can we make a start by being sincere and making serious efforts to reduce our carbon emissions or footprints? In short, how sincere are we about going green? Can we translate lip service into real action?
In Japan, for instance, before purchasing an electrical appliance, the first question most Japanese ask is its “star” rating, which gives an indication of its energy efficiency. In Malaysia, price matters more than anything else.
When buying new motor vehicles, very few Malaysians inquire about the vehicle’s fuel efficiency before they decide on the car they want to purchase. In construction, how many property developers design their buildings to enhance energy efficiency? Do they use improved and more expensive insulation and cooling systems?
How many of us have installed solar photovoltaic panels on our rooftops to generate green-friendly solar energy? These are the sorts of green investments that can help shift energy supply from fossil fuels to lesspolluting alternatives.
More and more of us are becoming genuinely sincere in supporting green efforts but our actions often do not go far enough.
Take for instance the planting of new trees. The mere planting of new trees is pointless if the trees are left on their own after the much-publicised tree planting ceremony is over. Many years ago, most of the new trees planted by an NGO in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, with much corporate and public support, died a natural death as there was no proper maintenance system in place. Only an insignificant number of trees survived to maturity.
But things are changing for the better. One KL community-based NGO, Transitions TTDI (a subset of the Taman Tun Dr Ismail Residents’ Association), is infusing into its residents the need to work together to build a resilient and sustainable community in the neighbourhood – a much sought after area in KL. Two on-going projects, “Sustainable Transportation” (improving walkability and bikeability) and “Sustainable Energy” (reducing energy consumption and increasing the use of renewable energy) are helping the community to transition towards a cleaner and healthier environment – which will, naturally, improve the quality of the residents’ lives.
Hopefully, the Government will encourage the formation of such green-conscious NGOs that involve the whole community.
In terms of going green, isn’t it time we put our money where our mouth is and act accordingly? The public has to assist the Government in implementing green initiatives.