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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Do your part to reduce global warming

Global warming caused by a severe degradation of the environment is certainly taking a heavy toll on our planet these days resulting in rising temperature, heat waves and wild peat fires in various parts of the world today.

I remember that not too long ago when it was not a problem at all walking from place to place around the city but these days, unless you’ve prepared an umbrella or some other forms of shade and have judiciously applied protection cream against the harsh ultra violet rays, it is quite easy to be stricken with sun burns if you’re out walking around “unprotected” in the sun.

So it is understandable that more people are opting to drive around instead of walking, which explains why there are more cars on the roads these days.

People are also turning more to their air conditioners to cool themselves.

The increasing reliance on air conditioning and cars will further aggravate the global warming situation as more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.

To help arrest the deteriorating situation, we should all start heeding the calls to “go green” and take up the green cause to do our part for the environment.

It will help if we start off by listing down what are some of the simple tasks that we can do to reduce energy usage and lower our carbon footprint.

Once we become accustomed to these simple measures, we can then gradually adopt more elaborate “green” initiatives.

From simple acts such as planting of more trees, cutting down on electricity and water consumption to rain harvesting, recycling and composting, every initiative will go a long way towards preserving the environment.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we can do away with fossil fuel and can turn to more easily renewable energy sources that are either water based, solar or wind powered to operate our vehicles and home appliances.

Every economic sector and citizen has a role to play to help alleviate the environment deterioration and bring down the global temperature.

To reduce the number of vehicles on our roads today, the paramount thing to do is to upgrade, connect and integrate the various modes of public transport in our cities including the light rail transit lines, public buses, monorail system and commuter train. When travelling around different parts of our cities involves merely hopping from one mode of transport to the next, more people will choose public transport and leave their cars at home.

In the manufacturing sector, green manufacturing hubs to produce goods and services in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way should be encouraged.

Besides promoting eco-tourism packages, tourism industry players can also look into collaborating with their counterparts in the airlines and other transportation to opt for green fuel and other initiatives.

The property fraternity has much to contribute to promote a more sustainable environment. Industry players should not just make use of the green theme as a marketing tool to popularise and sell their products.

Developers and building owners need to design and construct green, sustainable buildings that can conserve energy and water, provide a healthier indoor environment, better connectivity to public transport and the adoption of green programmes in their projects.

Projects should be planned with all the actual “green” trappings and adopt building designs and materials that actually care for the environment.

Eco-cities and eco-towns will soon become the rave word if cities and towns are planned to ensure that industries, commercial and residential areas are designed and built to allow them to co-exist harmoniously with the natural environment.

The crusade to promote green buildings that are purposefully designed to cut down their dependence on energy and water consumption, including more natural lighting and cooling features, should be more widely adopted and become a part of the building industry’s corporate responsibility.

Property owners, architects, town planners, developers and the relevant government authorities should work closely together to achieve the common goal of greening Malaysia’s landscape.

More efforts should also be expended to turn our cities into garden cities by setting aside green lungs, planting of more trees, and turning most roof tops of multi-storey buildings into landscaped gardens.

Instead of leaving them merely as tiled roof tops or unoccupied concrete structures, roof tops of buildings should be turned into green oasis with landscaped gardens.

Giving a simple makeover to these roof tops by planting them with leafy trees and plants will reduce the heat-island effect that causes heat to be reflected back into the environment.

Plants have very therapeutic effect on us. The oxygen that they release will certainly promote a more oxygenated and cool environment, and reduce the heavy pollution in the air.

Deputy news editor Angie Ng hopes Malaysians will rally together and take more affirmative actions that will hopefully “cool down” our overheated planet.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

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