Time to act on climate crisis is now

There has been little or slow response among world leaders to resolve the environmental catastrophe in the last few months


THE speech by Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thurnberg on Monday unsurprisingly dominated headlines around the world.

Thurnberg, in her emotional and firm speech aimed at world leaders, called for immediate actions to address the climate change issue, saying failure to act on the matter would be deemed as “evil”.

“You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because, if you really understood the situation and still keep on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe,” Thurnberg said at the United Nations (UN) Climate Action Summit.

“The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line,” she concluded.

Her speech, naturally, was met with positive responses. Many applauded her courage. Her speech was shared by thousands of people on multiple platforms on the Internet. Her words resonated with many people simply because what she said reflects the current situation.

There has been little or slow response among world leaders to resolve the environmental catastrophe which is unveiling right in front of our eyes in the last few months.

Thurnberg together with 15 other children across the world had filed an official complaint to the UN, accusing five economic powers of failing to take enough action to address the climate crisis.

“The message that we want to send is that we’ve had enough,” the activist said.

According to NASA, the global climate change effects include loss of sea ice, accelerated sea-level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.

In our own country, think-tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs has said that Malaysia is already facing significant costs in the form of shifting weather patterns.

Between 2030 and 2050, Malaysia could see up to 31% reduction in rice yields of some major granaries, 460% increase in oil palm plantations subject to flooding, 25% reduction in dairy production, sea-level rise subsuming power plants and fisheries and coasts.

Last Saturday, about 300 Malaysians gathered in Kuala Lumpur and put forth seven demands to the government, mainly calling to focus on policies and to mobilise funds to curb the climate crisis.

The organiser, Klima Action Malaysia, also called upon the government to not only address, but also probe firms that are responsible for the almost annual man-made haze season in the country.

The call is indeed timely. Critics have pointed out that Malaysians seem to be more accommodating towards the haze based on the absence of widespread outrage against the perpetrators or companies responsible for the disaster.

Maybe it is time for many of us to prove the critics wrong. We should no longer sit and accept whatever that comes our way with regard to environmental issues.

Pushing people to be accountable is the first step to save our nation. If Thurnberg alone could stir a massive global effect within a year, we can too. Malaysia Boleh, after all, and perpetrators will not go unpunished.

Azreen Hani is the online news editor of The Malaysian Reserve.