Future of sustainable living in Malaysia, according to three ‘greenies’

Malay Mail spoke to a few 'greenies' on the future of sustainable living in Malaysia and environmental initiatives they hope to see from the government. — Malay Mail pic
Malay Mail spoke to a few 'greenies' on the future of sustainable living in Malaysia and environmental initiatives they hope to see from the government. — Malay Mail pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — Earlier this week, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned there are only 12 years left to address climate change and make necessary changes before environmental catastrophes strike.

The problem may seem larger than us but there are ways to reduce our contribution to climate change by adopting sustainable lifestyle habits.

According to WWF, the planet’s rising temperatures are “caused by human activities such as burning of fossil fuels and farming”.

Malay Mail spoke to three “greenies” on the future of sustainable living in Malaysia and environmental initiatives they hope to see from the government.

Sheum of Biji-Biji Initiative says a zero-waste lifestyle is the most accessible way to practice sustainable living. — Picture courtesy of Strongbow Apple Ciders
Sheum of Biji-Biji Initiative says a zero-waste lifestyle is the most accessible way to practice sustainable living. — Picture courtesy of Strongbow Apple Ciders

Nicholas Sheum of environmental-based social enterprise Biji-Biji Initiative said the public is increasingly conscious of its consumption habits.

“There is a nationwide shift from awareness to action; from corporations banning the use of single use plastics to social enterprises and NGOs dedicated in reducing food waste.”

He said one of the easiest ways is to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle.

“Be conscious of our purchases and waste footprint our consumption produces.

“If the aftertaste of a purchase contributes more waste, should we still make that purchase?
“For every decision made, there is an effect,” said Sheum.

He added sustainability on a macro level cannot work if socio-economic aspects are not factored in.

“The current movement is heavily focused on the environment.

“Sustainability involves environment, social and economic aspects working in tandem to protect the environment, increase social welfare and promote economic growth,” Sheum said.

Khoo said political will, legislation and enforcement are key in implementing change. — Picture courtesy of Strongbow Apple Ciders
Khoo said political will, legislation and enforcement are key in implementing change. — Picture courtesy of Strongbow Apple Ciders

Ohsum Mossum Terrariums founder Ronnie Khoo said Malaysia should be looking at developed countries as a model where there are less cars on the roads, better public transportation and more reliance on renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.

The terrarium designer also envisions a future with better management of forests and natural resources, more sustainable development based on environmental impact studies and better public awareness of environmental issues.

Khoo said political will, legislation and enforcement are key in implementing change.

“The current anti-corruption initiatives need to continue as corruption leads to many harmful activities such as clearing of forests for plantations and city green lungs for development,” said Khoo.

He would like to see more empty public spaces being converted to community gardens to grow food.

* Read what architect and ecologist Datuk Ken Yeang has to say about Green building practices here.

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