Some personal thoughts on Environmental Issues
The forest fires broke out in Kalimantan, Indonesia back in 1997/1998 was bad, very bad. It has been left unattended for almost 3 MONTHS and million of hectares of virgin forest has been destroyed. The haze was so dense that a lot of people in the entire South East Asia region was affected one way or another, school kids had to wear mask or protective mouth piece to schools, many airports had to be closed due to extremely low visibilities and even the South East Asian Games has to be held in such hazardous condition because the host country, Brunei Darul Salam was within the first ring of radius of the forest fire. The blaze synchronizes with some changes in social and political problems around the region too. During that period of time, the Asian financial crises has created some highly charged political uncertainties which actually resulted in changed of ruling governments in a few countries such as S. Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. My country, Malaysia was a little luckier, we only seen episodes of power struggling resulted in the deputy Prime Minister being sack and jailed for his morale misconduct.
<<<<<<<---- 1997, KL in a Hazy mood.
As one of the worst affected economies in Asia during the Financial turmoil, deep in the inland forest area Indonesian Island of Kalimantan in the east and Sumatra Island in the west were set to blaze for more than a month. The haze carried by wind covered a big portion of South East Asian countries. Kuala Lumpur, away from both island thousands of kilometer away was not spared. Despite the forest fire was there for more than a few months, even the hardest uncompromising environmentalists were kept silence over the matter and no aids or even consultancy were given to the Indonesian government Eventually, in a largest friendly mission sent abroad, our country Malaysia sent more than two thousand firemen to help the neighbor to put off the fire. It serves as a good lesson to all.
Strangely, despite seeing one of the worst environmental disaster in the modern history of mankind. There was virtually no response from any of the world's loudest voices on environmental preservationists which include supposedly like a governing organization on environmental control such as United Nation and many other developed nations. However, strange enough, many of those countries who likes to label themselves as the fore runners in environmental issues such as Australia, US and many European countries have been behaved like a good boy ... they didn't even pretends offer to help the Indon in any form except "expressing deep concern" on the continuing blaze for the entire duration (in this respect, I would like to salute the French emergency response team, they were here all the way from France to lend a hand to the Indonesian). Actually, the episode has clearly demonstrated all along the issues of environmental control have been used as a tool to serve different objectives by respective countries towards the lesser developed nations. Eventually, the ex-Indonesian President has to admit they have no solutions, expertise, equipment nor the necessary fund to counter the forest fires and hope it can be put out by natural cause (the rain). Malaysian government hence have mobilized 3,000 firemen into Indonesian forest to help counter the spread of the devastating fire which actually lasted 3 months.
* The Indonesian concluded the fire arose from long period of drought resulted from periodic El Niño weather effect, I only buy half of that explanation.
Why all of a sudden everyone was deaf and blind for a couple of months during those period ? Well, probably because the problems were not happened at many of the developed countries' backyards and thus they don't see the necessity of providing help. Someone has asked me WHY wouldn't they ? Well, I said, realistically it means if they do got involved, they may have to cough out a lot of money and may even got stuck to commit more aids later. I have always highlighted these facts to some local hard-core environmental believers who always believes the west can help but I like to to realize those guys only weigh the immediate benefits before they react. So, it doesn't really matters whether the satellites rotating the orbit can see how bad the hot spots on earth nor lives of how many endangered species has been threatened or how many vegetation with unexplored medical values have been burnt out of extinction. So, all along the subject was being used to serve different kind of objectives and agenda.
Am I harsh ?
I don't think so .
All these years, I have noticed how others were using controlled media to influence readers' perceptions on this specific topic (even articles appeared in neutral standing publications such as have been biased, these dedicated magazines are extremely good but unfortunately, not the varying character of the journalists who wrote them...come to think of it, WHY would CNN trusts a young journalist reporting half the globe away and let these young 20+ chic deciding and passing judgment on their own who should be be good guy or bad ones, especially when reporting political analysis ? Is true journalism dead ?); you often read about how bad names of many developing third world countries been closely associated with such activities; they were also singularly being labeled as the main culprit of causing global warming. Well, here are some bloody truth and real shocking facts that no one wants the public to see, read, hear and understand - just ask who are the people and nations that have contributed the million tons of waste gases that has pumped to our atmospheres annually ? Those are the creative works from developed nations which are embarrassing enough here to evaluate their commitment and sincerity to counter global warming.
I am not arguing, but I do would like to highlight the fact that the issue of
Countering global warming should be a collective effort.
We usually used income and GDP to define a country's economic status.
Industrialization started from the western hemisphere and thus, we often termed the West as Rich nations while the majority of those living near or under poverty lines are called third world countries. Some even conclude we are barbaric because we chopped down trees and caused the world we live in warming up...some keywords like corruption, cronyism, human rights violation etc.. were often abused and misused by irresponsible journalists and newsmen to paint governing bodies in the third world nations.
Oh, no. Please...
I would love to believe all human being love to live in a nice environment. Cavemen in prehistoric era may already had learnt how to appreciate beauty of nature and that is why some of them paint or drew on walls to interprets life during their era.. naturally, no one likes to stay at the harsh condition places on earth such as northern west of Australia, mid of the Namib desert in Namibia or at Madagascar island near the Indian Ocean - only if one has a choice. It is very much different for anyone who is quite settled down financially compared with another chap only spend his entire life inside the mid of the tropical forest in Brazilian Amazon or the Borneo Kalimantan Forest. Why ? because when you are quite well off, the next thing usually you look forward to is to have a nice place to stay; "nice" usually referring to well kept surrounding and good neighborhood. So, out of your premises, you started to pay attention on decorating the surrounding that encompasses your premises. Naturally, when you are in such state of mind - it must be feeling very offending to hear someone has a habit of chopping down trees, regardless he cut trees for a living or treat them as commodity. When you are okay financially, you are always pay a lot of attention to health care and well being; naturally, "okay" also means there is a price o pay to achieve such financial comfort. The by product of modern urban living is sickness we may even have immediate family members or close friends that pass away with other sickness such as cancers etc. Those painful journals usually leads someone to believe there may be still many unexplored section in this world that has solutions to prevent such undesirable mishap in your life. So, when you heard those "potential & possibilities" in the jungle are now being burning down or chop away, you will get mad too. but unfortunately, many people are stirring with such kind of emotion. On ground that there are many plants or herbs that might contain invaluable medical essence are even more childish, because if the medical Companies are serious about it, we could have many medical research labs springing up in the wild tropical jungles decades ago to study such possible applications. It didn't happened and will not happened for the next few decades...
Oh, no. Please...
Well, you ought to understand the poor guy that lives in the mid of the Amazon forest or inside the dense vegetation of Borneo Kalimantan forest who had a few generations ahead of them practicing open farming methods inside the jungle and he may has a different agenda from those guy living comfortably in the cities, driving a latest Metz or a BMW - his priority can be just a bare minimum type - just for survival ! I would not like to think he can be putting how to preserve the surrounding of the house he lives in on top of his priority list. Well, that is of cause such attitude might change when he is more settled down financially. He may not even has gone out of the territorial jungle area in his entire life, so please don't expect him to understand the fallen trees and open burning he has done would bring so much of inconvenience to others that may have been living hundreds or thousand miles way from his home.
Well, all he cares is simply the few kilometers radius from his house and no more.
Here are some cruel facts for you to take note (extracted from CIA Fact Book, US)
Indonesia - One of the largest 3rd world country compared to US (facts in blue) and Australia (figures in Purple)
Land Usage: arable land: 10% | 19% | 6%
permanent crops: 7% | 0% | 0%
permanent pastures: 7% | 25% | 54%
forests and woodland: 62% | 30% | 19%
other: 14% (1993 est.) | 26% | 21%
Population: 228,437,870 (July 2001 est.) | 278,058,881 | 19,357,594 (July 2001 est.)
Population below poverty line: 20% (1998) | 12.7% (1999 est.) | NA%
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,900 (2000 est.) | $36,200-00 | $23,200 (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 15%-20% (1998 est.) | 4% (2000) | 6.4% (2000)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9% (2000 est.) | 3.4% (2000) | 1.4% (2000 est.)
Some Amusing but Shocking Facts:
US - Signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Hazardous Wastes; Headaches at home: 3.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.) , Potential terrorists interference;
Australia, on the other hand, is world's major suppliers of licit opiate products; opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate and it ranks among as world's top 10 biggest culprit of waste gases producers; domestic headache is a rather high ratio of 4.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
All I want you to understand is:
It is indeed very very hard expecting someone with an average income of between USD23k to 36K
try to visualize what does a guy who only earn USD180-00 per month to support the entire family want in his mind. If you think he can understand what is in your mind, probably he is already an illegal immigrant residing in the US or Australia now.
It is simple, to any average American or an Australian, that is called quality of life; but it is a state of survival to the latter.
So, how can you expect one to explain to a native guy lives in the poor nation what an Australian, a Yank or a Briton expects him to do for them - after all, neither anyone of them realizes the exhaust pipes behind their sports or sedan cars create an equal amount of damage to the atmosphere while on the other hand expect the green leaves in the tropic to absorb their heat emission and produce more free Oxygen into the atmosphere for them to inhale...
What is so difficult ? HUH ??? I guess you guys never experience what is called a financial melt down in your life ! Take the Indonesia as an example, before the crises, Indonesian Rupiah floated between 2400 ~ 2600 to USD1-00 and it is currently at an exchange rate of 10,200 to an US dollar. What significant does it carries ? Oh yeah ? Neither any of the Asian Countries produce Milk powders and now the Indon has to cough out 10 times the sum just to buy the same amount of milk powder previously for the kids to consume. And now, the milk producing nations are asking the Indon not to chopped down the trees and change the way how farming should be carry out. Come to think of it, why don't such countries lower the price of milk to 1/10th to the current export price in change for more fresh air ??? Crazy, they might be thinking ...because they are in the opinion the milk is a commodity but the fresh air should be natural resources. Okay, even if that fact stays, but country such as Australia is also a prominent paper producer in the southern hemisphere, and papers are essentially got from trees and bark, so - you mean Australian trees will not emit Oxygen ?? What about those in the US, Canadian, European and Scandinavian soil ? These guys form the basis of largest paper pulp producers but they prefer others to term theirs are simply commodity rather than trees with leaves that will also emit Oxygen....
So, these issues are not just confined to under or developing nations, instead, they should be equally share and resolve together among all nations but I know it is much easier to say that done.
- but if this is not being resolved, just treat Oxygen as commodity - I believe in trading the mechanizes then becoz'
There must be a compromise point between development and preservation.
The long term solution is still fall back to
Aid the poor first via a proper education system and guide them how
to convert their resources into industries - the key is to make them rich !
It will be a long term project.
As like us in Malaysia, we have pumped heavily close to 10% of our GDP into the education system annually.
Because once young generation grows up with proper frequencies tuned and financially stable,
those people in affected nations will react like you do
and they will be starting to care about the place that they live in
and followed by observing and preserving the surrounding.
Well, your Investment will not be wasted either, becoz by then it will be a whole new playground for you to sell your merchandise as no one knows better than you in this new market place that you have helped to create single-handedly. The only problem is, who cares for so long ?
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