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Do your part to weather effects of climate change too

Published on 6 August 2017 Southeast Asia

FOR many of us, the weather is a mundane topic, but whether we like it or not, the rain, wind, temperature, humidity, sunshine and clouds deeply affect our lives. And so does climate change, which triggers extreme weather.

In fact, climate change is very much on our minds, according to the results of a survey released in February.

When interviewed by opinion research firm Merdeka Centre, 81% of the 1,208 Malaysian respondents expressed concern about climate change, while 70% believe that it was mostly caused by human activities.

Half the people surveyed think there should be more government action to deal with climate change.

Such sentiments are felt across the region. A study on flood controls in South-East Asia found that many people feel that not enough is being done at a local or regional level to prepare for the impact of climate change.

“In particular, the main concern seems to be that dry periods are getting longer and rainfall, when it occurs, is getting heavier,” says Eco-Business Research in a report published a few days ago.

The study was sponsored by Danish pump manufacturer Grundfos and included a survey of 417 people in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Nearly 70% of respondents expect climate change to impact the region in the next decade.

The report points out that for South-East Asia to cope with the effects of rising sea levels and heavier precipitation, there needs to be “a lot more dialogue and understanding of the nature of the problem”.

It says the governments should ensure adequate funding for more proactive programmes and water management systems.

“Or at least, they need to better communicate the initiatives they are working on,” it adds.

That is a pertinent point because Malaysia’s current development agenda already incorporates significant emphasis on our country’s response to climate change.

The Government describes climate change as a major threat that “adversely impacts economic and social development gains and deepens economic inequalities”.

The challenge, however, is to raise awareness of the issues and to get everybody to work together to tackle these issues.

One of the six strategic thrusts of the 11th Malaysia Plan is the pursuit of green growth for sustainability and resilience.

Green growth is defined as growth that is resource-efficient, clean and resilient.

The Government says it means breaking free from the conventional wisdom of development at all costs and to instead tread a more sustainable path of growth.

The efforts in this strategic thrust will be focused on four important areas and one of them is the strengthening of resilience against climate change and natural disasters.

The strategies include strengthening disaster risk management, improving flood mitigation and enhancing climate change adaptation.

But as argued in the 11th Malaysia Plan, safeguarding the environment and biodiversity rests on partnerships and shared responsibility across all levels of society, including individuals.

Everybody has to play an active role. Merely worrying about climate change and hoping for the authorities to do something about its effects, will do little to change our fate.

Source: The Star Online | 6 August 2017