BY THE GREEN DUDE
To now acknowledge the rape of our green lungs in the city is really an understatement.
It is becoming irresponsible if we continue to talk, lament and do nothing. I mean sitting down and shouting over social media without participating in activities that show that we care – this must change. One of the ways is to start planting trees.
Which is what the community in Ampang- Hulu Klang did one wet Sunday in April. A small group of volunteers braved the morning rain to plant trees by the roadside in UK Heights. Interestingly, these group comprised corporate leaders, expatriates, businessmen and women who care and want to make a difference.
According to the organiser, Ariv, a young 22-year-old coordinator of Zone 8, Ampang Parliamentary Constituency, there is ample landscape budget in the Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya (MPAJ) that has not been utilised.
Apparently not many people within the community know about this. The Local Councilor too does not see this as a priority and is more concerned about other social needs, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic.
Carbon emissions at dangerous levels
Why is it important for communities to participate in green programs such as the planting of trees? Besides bringing together the members of the community, it is an opportune moment to experience nature and to understand why it is important.
Development around Ampang is at a frantic pace. Massive elevated highways are being constructed and this includes the SUKE and the DUKE. The “suka and duka” syndrome affects everyone as they commute to work and back, and even during non-peak hours.
Traffic jams are inevitable of course and there have been a few deaths as well from falling cranes and concrete on passing vehicles, no thanks to careless contractors working on the highway projects.
The carbon emissions are at a dangerous level and after these highways are completed, it will just get worse as more vehicles will be using them leading to more pollution.
Tree planting gives the community a sense of belonging and understanding about their inevitable role in enhancing and maintaining greenery. They will realise that they can be empowered to seek more participation in development plans affecting their environment.
Currently, this is not the case. And local councils can succumb to the needs of developers when it comes to financial goals. We have seen this in the few recent cases involving corrupt ministers and politicians.
Can we really trust our MP’s and Assemblymen to take a serious look at these issues?
Youths can play a role
Is there a “green vision” for Ampang? From our sources, there is none because it is not a priority. They feel it does not fit the development aspirations of a growing municipality where developing a concrete jungle is the goal.
A green environment contributes positively to our mental and physical health. It gives a positive impact to our growing children. Schools should be encouraged to hold more classes outdoors especially in science, biology and civic lessons. Are our schools brave enough to think outside the box and outside the classroom?
A green community also enhances the value of the property. This probably is the only way to ensure sustainability in property prices as people search for homes surrounded by lush greenery.
Looking at the near future, it is highly unlikely that the tree planting efforts will carry on as the nation battles the impact of Covid-19 and has budget constraints.
More innovative ways need to be found to fund these efforts. And this is where the corporate world can participate. People like the young Ariv and the youthful groups that he has influence on can start thinking about these possibilities. Of course, he also needs the support of the powers that be.
Youth can play a more effective role in environmental sustainability programs as the future of the community and the earth belongs to them. We, the senior citizens, are here borrowing the earth from them, with the little time we have now. — @Forest
The Green Dude cannot wish the good old days of greenery and cool temperatures to return, but he has enough experience to see its deterioration as local councils succumb to developers’ financial goals at the expense of a sustainable environment.