Did you know that Malaysiaâ€™s rainforests are actually older than the Amazon?
With the recent news of Sabahan Pygmy elephants being killed and the recent extinction of our Sumatran rhino, Iâ€™m sure many of us are wondering what can we do to play our part and help conserve and preserve what we have left of our beautiful flora and fauna, even if we are not in positions of power.
Well, last week, we had the honour of attending a question and answer event with UN Messenger of Peace and chimpanzee expert Dr Jane Goodall.
We took the opportunity to ask her for ways we could work towards taking care of our environment, based on her years of professional experience travelling all over the globe.
1. Talk about the problems and discuss what we can do about it
We canâ€™t fix anything unless we first acknowledge and identify that we have a problem.
Dr Jane Goodall recommends discussions be held and if we find that there is something that we can do to help fix the problem, we should roll up our sleeves and actually do something.
Every little thing counts, even planting trees on the weekend, raising money for a good cause or even writing letters to those in charge can help make a difference.
2. Spread awareness and share online
When Dr Jane first started studying chimpanzees, she didnâ€™t have the internet to share her findings. But now, we have the power of social media at our fingertips.
We can increase awareness and encourage others by posting about environmental problems and solutions and sharing pictures and stories about any efforts youâ€™re doing to make a difference.
Slowly, peopleâ€™s perception will change and you might motivate them to do something themselves as well.
3. Itâ€™s not enough to tackle just one thing
We need to tackle all the different issues.
Luckily, in Malaysia, we have a tonne of NGOs championing different causes and therefore, essentially, have a workforce out there tackling all the different issues (which we highly recommend you contact and help!)
4. Protest and go on strikes
Protesting and going on strikes can help raise a lot of awareness.
Protesting is not always about urging the government to change policies. They can also alert the public about problems that they might not be aware of.
For example, The Youth Climate Strikes which has grown slowly and steadily over the last few months helped make people aware of how â€œclimate changeâ€ had turned into a â€œclimate crisisâ€.
5. Stop destroying forests to make space for plantations
According to Dr Jane Goodall, who was present during the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, it is very difficult to assure anybody that the practices are really sustainable.
Therefore, she urges that no more old forests are allowed to be cleared for plantations, for new plantations to be removed to allow the forest to regrow and to stop burning crops and killing the wildlife living in the areas because it is their home.
6. Help people understand that WE NEED a stable environment
We need the ecosystem. Weâ€™re a part of it. And if we destroy it, we destroy the future of our own children. So, keep trying to get that message across and help people understand what we face if we continue to destroy it.Dr Jane Goodall
We really couldnâ€™t have said it better ourselves.
7. Keep giving hope to the youth
And maintain your hope too.
As long as you keep taking action, donâ€™t give up and keep working on changing your parents and grandparents and friends perception of the current state of the environment, one day our combined effort will hopefully result in the protection in some of these animals and rainforests.
But, if you give up hope and stop trying, then you immediately take away any chances of us saving the planet.
Dr Jane Goodall admits that sheâ€™s only been to Malaysia a handful of times and points towards the countless number of local volunteers and NGOs when it comes to answering questions about the current state of the Malaysian natural environment and how to save it.
Among the organisations highlighted by Dr Jane include Roots & Shoots Malaysia, the local chapter of the international Roots and Shoots organisation set up by Dr Jane Goodall in 1991.
The organisation recently launched a campaign which saw 36 youth volunteers roll up their sleeves and do something to help the environment, animals and human communities.
Besides Roots & Shoots Malaysia, there are many other NGOs that champion a number of environmental and community causes in Malaysia.
Fifteen of these NGOs were highlighted recently for their collaboration with Roots & Shoots Malaysia.
These are just a handful of local NGOs that are passionate about our local environment and weâ€™d also like to highlight them in this article for our readers to look-up for possible future volunteering efforts:
- Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC)
- Free Tree Society Kuala Lumpur
- Fuze Ecoteer
- Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS)
- Malaysia Primatological Society (MPS)
- Nuvista Media Sdn Bhd
- Perak State Park Corporation (Royal Belum)
- Persatuan Pelindung Harimau Malaysia (Rimau)
- Persatuan Rimba Komuniti Kota Damansara Selangor (KDCF Society)
- Project GreenSmiths
- Roots & Shoots Environmental, Wildlife Conservation and Humanitarian Society (Malaysia)
- The Habitat Foundation
- Tropical Rainforest Conservation & Research Centre (TRCRC)
- Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia (TCS)
Starving forensic investigator turned writer cause she couldn't find a job. Used to search for killers now searches for killer stories.