Care Of The Environment Is A Joint Responsibility

Trees, the “oxygen tanks” of earth. Photograph by Weekly Echo.
By Ong Jee Lian

There has been a lot of attention on Sustainability, ESG, Biodiversity, Environment, Conservation, Carbon and other climate action-related terms. Everyday, there is media coverage on such, with varied stakeholders ranging from educators, politicians, businesses and children asking for more and faster change to make the world more livable.

What does all this actually mean and how do they relate to us? What does it take to be climate- friendly? In simple words, what can we do to make our basic living environment less hot, with cleaner air, sufficient clean water and food resources? Let’s just focus on the basics for the near future – the next five to 10 years. The global direction of 2040 may seem too farfetched for some.

The dedicated World Environment Day started out for a grand reason; To constantly remind humankind that we have to pay more attention to the environment which unfortunately isn’t getting any better. Hence, June 5th was declared as the World Environment Day by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1973.

While the annual theme of World Environment Day varies, fundamentally it stays on course about caring for our planet. This year’s theme is ‘Only One Earth’, focusing on ‘Living Sustainably in Harmony with Nature’.

As World Environment Day reaches its 49th year, it’s a time of reflection to ponder for a few minutes whether our environment has improved. The answer is a roaring “No” as pollution in all forms is on the rise, occurrence of natural disasters is increasing, food scarcity is a constant problem, and zoonotic diseases risk is getting more rampant.

As the world races to be more carbon neutral and net zero, we in our own ways have ripple effects on the long term.

Choices on population growth within one’s nucleus family, how we responsibly dispose of our daily rubbish, and conserving natural resources especially water usage are important factors.

These are underlying and central decisions that ultimately affect how holistic urbanisation takes place. It’s simple – the more people we have on earth, the more food, water and shelter we need.

With this, comes rapid development for more buildings, transport and pollution increases as countries struggle to educate and get their people to plan and live responsibly to slow down the ill effects of urbanisation.

Hence, the question lies in what you can do in your own ways to improve our living environment? Would buying organic and climate friendly products help? Is eating less meat a healthier choice for less methane? Do we take the effort to compost our food waste at home and use as fertilizers? Should we change to electric vehicles and machineries even if they cost more now? Is having one or more children going to strain the overall world’s natural resources?

On June 5th and every other day after that, it is my hope that these questions will subconsciously help us decide our daily choices which in turn impact the environment of our planet.

Ong Jee Lian is an ESG practitioner who thinks sustainability is an over-used term and hopes it’s not a fad. She believes individuals can do more!

The views expressed herare that of the author’s and does not necessarily reflect that of Weekly Echo’s.