Malaysiakini Letter

Combatting global warming, one person at a time

Alexander Goh
Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | A few years back, I was comparing our country’s weather with several countries that were affected by heat waves. During that time, we were experiencing a constant temperature around 32 degrees Celsius, while other countries were hitting temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius. I felt so blessed and happy that I was in my home country.

Towards the end of 2018, there was a change in the surroundings that I was unable to ignore or escape from. The morning sun didn’t shine the way it usually did, with fresh air and a cool breeze.

Our climate has been changing throughout history. Every day, we are now hiding in our “chilled” rooms, whereas those who don’t have a choice have to endure the burning pain from the sun. With every breath that I take, it feels like I need to gasp for more clean oxygen.

The historical average weather temperature clearly shows that our country’s overall weather temperature has increased throughout the years. It is an undeniable fact, and all of us should acknowledge the importance and impact of climate change and global warming. We have been warned countless times by scientists that if we don’t act now, it might be too late to save our planet.

Nevertheless, a country’s economic growth is always being prioritised over the effort of sustainable development. Noticeably, more and more companies are trying to play a part in combatting these issues, but the reality is, we are still harvesting more than we are planting back and this is where government policies should be enforced.

Each individual’s contribution and effort are the most vital element in helping us do something about climate change or global warming. There are several habits and steps that we should learn and follow as they provide benefits with no cost.

The first habit would be to use energy wisely. More and more modern devices are powered by electricity, and we should use them more efficiently by unplugging or shutting them down whenever they are not in use. One of the energy efficiency tips shared by Tenaga Nasional is to set our air conditioner between 23 to 25 degrees Celsius to provide sufficient cooling while keeping our energy consumption low.

The second step that we should be more cautious about is redefining waste. We are buying and throwing away so many unnecessary items that it has become our “natural” instinct to do so.

According to the Global Environment Centre, over 23,000 tonnes of waste is produced each day in Malaysia. It is also 3.5 million times heavier than the weight of a bowling ball. Out of this amount of waste, almost 19 percent of the waste ends up in the drains, which then causes flash floods and drainage blockage during the rainy season.

The third habit that we should cultivate would be to plan our trips beforehand. The main purpose is not to ask us to change our commute, as it is understandable that it is hard for us to change our current transportation method as it provides the maximum convenience for us. It is to reduce the frequency of inessential traveling.

Whenever we are heading to the same destination with friends who live nearby, we should carpool. If we want to purchase some groceries, we should go to a one-stop location, instead of two or more locations just to get a slightly cheaper price without taking into account the energy resources that we are wasting.

We are the ones who are going to suffer more if we keep thinking that individual contributions will not help much in slowing down climate change and global warming. The existing situation could be described as a huge elephant in the room, and it is time to start somewhere rather than nowhere.

ALEXANDER GOH is an undergraduate student at Multimedia University.  

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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