Make behaviour changes to reduce human activities that cause climate change
WWF-Malaysia lauds prominent NGO advocate, Dato’ Sri Ang Lai Soon’s, call to extend the sustainable living practices outside cities to towns and any human settlement and to individual dwellings.
The conservation goal behind Earth Hour is to build an ongoing sustainability commitment beyond the hour and drive positive environmental outcomes to change climate change, said WWF-Malaysia Executive Director/CEO Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma.
“Hence, living sustainably should not be confined to cities only as rightly pointed out by Dato Sri Ang Lai Soon,” he said in response to Ang’s Earth Hour message published on March 25.
In Earth Hour 2014, WWF-Malaysia Sarawak Conservation Programme took the celebration to the interiors of Ba’ Kelalan in Lawas District to showcase how every hour is ‘Earth Hour’ to the rural highland community, said Dato’ Dr Sharma.
“Like many other indigenous communities living in the interior areas of Sarawak, the people of Ba’ Kelalan use a mixture of hydropower, solar and evening-time generators to generate power.”
“They farm the land using traditional, sustainable methods and they conserve the forests that provide the ecosystem services they rely on,” he added.
The result is an environment and an environmental footprint that is the envy of many – cool, fresh air fills the forests; clean, unpolluted streams flow from the mountains; and organic paddy fields are scattered amongst the valleys. The people of Ba’ Kelalan are both a thriving, developing community and an example of how to live within the limits of the environment.
Dato’ Dr Sharma said it is heartening to see some towns and settlements are already demonstrating how to live sustainably and that we should take heed of some of their practices, such as installing micro hydro sites, and more recently, solar panels on their own.
While Earth Hour celebrations tend to be seen as city-focused, WWF-Malaysia’s efforts are also outside cities and beyond the hour, he said.
In 2011, WWF incorporated the plus sign into Earth Hour logo to signify the campaign going beyond the hour and calling on the people to turn awareness into actions in their daily lifestyles.
“60+ means taking actions that go beyond the hour. Start today and continue everyday of your life. Take personal accountability for your impact on the planet. Saving our living planet is every individual’s responsibility.”
“Little actions such as taking shorter showers, switching off lights and other electrical appliances when not in use, car-pooling to work, using reusable bags for shopping, and refusing unsustainable products wrapped in excessive packaging are all part and parcel of sustainable living and lifestyle,” he elaborated.
Dato’ Dr Sharma said in Malaysia, this year’s celebration is focused on water conservation.
“Water is needed for domestic consumption, agriculture to grow our foods, and by our businesses, industries and commodities to support our economic competitiveness. Malaysians need to make positive changes in the way we use and manage water to reduce the pressures on our water resources,” he said.
“Water is a limited resource and needs to be valued and appreciated and hence, we need to adopt good water management practices to reduce water wastage by changing consumption habits. There is also a need for better understanding of the connection between catchment forests, river systems and water security,” he added.
Dato’ Dr Sharma added that as a policy advisor and technical expert, WWF-Malaysia has adopted various approaches and optimised on effective partnerships to promote the establishment of policies, plans, programmes and legislation that integrate environmental concerns for sustainable development.
WWF-Malaysia’s Policy and Climate Change team is contributing to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) national communication process and reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD+) and Sustainable Development Goals processes.
The team also conducts public engagements which provided opportunities to highlight climate change issues, how to build climate resilience and reduce the risk of climate impacts among others.
WWF-Malaysia would also be engaging with cities to take part in the One Planet City Challenge, formerly known as Earth Hour City Challenge, to reward efforts by cities that are providing solutions for sustainable living, Dato’ Dr Sharma added.