March 19, 2016

Environmental Protection is both a Collective and Individual Duty

Environmental Protection is both a Collective and Individual Duty

Children hold plants before the shoots get planted. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Many Malaysians feel strongly about the wellbeing of their country’s natural environment. They take great pride in the stunning diversity of Malaysia’s world-renowned exotic wildlife; they keep up to date about environmental issues; and they wax rightfully indignant about blatant cases of poaching, illegal logging and environmental pollution. The question, though, is how dedicated they are in their personal lives to making and pursuing environmentally friendly lifestyle choices.

Those lifestyle changes, which can boil down to simple details like buying eco-friendly products, may not seem like much when taken singly, but they do add up collectively. In other words, the more of us practice sustainable lifestyles, the better the chances of Malaysia’s environment will become over the long term. That is to say, the sustainable management of the environment is not only an individual choice but also a collective responsibility.

That was also the message of the government’s  “Lahad Datu Awareness Programme: Sustainable Environmental Management” in Sabah. During the educational program’s launch, which was held in a district home to such renowned conservation sites as the Danum Valley Conservation Area and Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Silam MP Nasrun Datu Mansur drove home the awareness campaign’s point in simple terms to locals living in one of the country’s most scenic and biodiverse states. “We can start with making small yet impactful positive lifestyle changes to help the environment,” he stressed. “For example, we can reduce encroachment and poaching in forest reserves by not buying wild meat and products made from wildlife.”

People living in or near protected forests and wildlife areas can do more than just refrain from engaging in activities that can be harmful to plants and animals. They can actively seek to protect them by reporting any signs they encounter of poaching and illegal logging, for instance. Meanwhile, the rest of us can participate in educational programs about the importance of protecting natural habitats, can lobby decision-makers to enforce laws and regulations, and can lead by example by pursuing sustainable lifestyles. When it comes to the environment, it truly is a case of “one for all, all for one.”


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