KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — The importance of environment and climate changes needs to be imbued among youngsters, as the relationship between humanity and the environment affects each other.
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service (IPBES) founding chair Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Zakri Abdul Hamid said this awareness should be inculcated from young so that environmental concern would remain a top priority even when they grow up.
“School is where we start so that when they grow, they become responsible and more respectful towards the environment,” he told Bernama on the sidelines of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Praxis Conference 2019 here today.
Earlier, in a panel session, he shared his views on the topic of Confronting A New Scarcity in Securing Sustainable Development.
Zakri, a former science adviser to the Malaysian prime minister, singled out young Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg in efforts to preserve the environment.
“…but the point is for Malaysians. I would recommend those efforts be indigenous, where it should be young Malaysians to be in the grip,” he said.
Speaking on environmental policy, Zakri said Malaysia was really good in formulating policies but fell short in implementation, possibly due to lack of funding.
However, he applauded the government’s commitment in allocating RM48 million in Budget 2020 to preserve the country’s natural resources and biodiversity.
“Now the fund is there. It is up to the government machinery to ensure the funds are used in a proper and effective manner,” he added.
Meanwhile, former secretary-general of the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang emphasised that cultural transformation is required to implement sustainable development in the country.
He said this is linked to self-consciousness and changing people’s habits to eco-friendly lifestyles, which he thinks is more potent to enhance environmental sustainability than a massive investment through green technology or regulatory frameworks.
Citing his experience as Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), he said an implementation of one-degree Celsius rise in temperature of air-conditioners led to a four per cent reduction in electricity use.
Zaini, also a Visiting Professor of Imperial College London, said 24 degrees Celsius had been adopted as the optimum temperature for building use in Malaysia since August 2011 but it was poorly implemented due to lack of public participation.
“Policy and cultural transformation requires public participation. To ignite this, we need simple messages, for example, the three-minute shower to help save water,” he said.
Zaini also suggested the seven eco-habits of eco-vision, eco-active, green lifestyle, eco-teaming, eco-systematic, diversity, and a good character to achieve sustainable development.
“Eco-shift begins with a state of mind and decision framework that could lead to major changes in national policies, corporate strategies, personal lifestyle and cultural transformation,” he added. — Bernama