Be serious in tackling environmental degradation of our planet

THE environmental issues and problems that are prevalent today, such as pollution, degradation of biodiversity resources, climate change and global warming, cannot be taken lightly as they cause a lot of harm not only to human life, but also to plants and animals.

Therefore, the issue of environmental destruction and decline of biodiversity resources should be among the important agendas that need to be given serious attention by all parties, especially the world community.

If we look at the issue of environmental degradation, such as climate change and global warming, all need to be aware that this is not a natural phenomenon.

It is the result of the behaviour and actions of a few who are more concerned with worldly profit alone, greedily exploiting the environment and all the biodiversity resources without limits, which ultimately disturbs the balance and sustainability of nature.

While we might be unable to prevent global warming from continuing, we must have the sense and wisdom to find the best solution to this problem to ensure it does not get worse.

It is not too late for us to mobilise our energy and take the appropriate proactive steps to deal with issues of environmental degradation and destruction that occur every day. One way is to play our respective roles by being more environmentally friendly.

This is important so that global warming does not become critical. If efforts to deal with it are not made, we do not know what kind of impact global warming will have on the environment and the future generation.

As seen in the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDG2030), "Climate Action" is the 13th sustainable development goal that suggests immediate action has to be taken to combat climate change and the adverse effects resulting from the phenomenon.

In fact, the Global Risk Report 2020 by the World Economic Forum (WEF) also placed the failure of mitigation and adaptation actions against climate change as the most important threat facing the world today.

Likewise, the latest report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also asserted that drastic changes at an urgent rate need to be made to address the issue of global warming by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

It was found that climate change and global warming have caused the loss of biodiversity resources and deterioration of ecosystem diversity.

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity has concluded that an estimated 150 species may go extinct every day. Land clearing activities and extensive exploration of forest areas, excessive exploitation of biodiversity resources and water and air pollution have been identified as the cause of the extinction.

The plantation and agriculture sectors also contribute to the loss of biodiversity resources and the destruction of ecosystems. For example, many forest areas are cut down and reclaimed to make way for the plantation and agriculture sectors.

Thousands of hectares of forest areas have been illegally encroached and logged without paying attention to reforestation activities to maintain the balance leading to various environmental problems such as landslides, pollution of water sources and widespread flash floods.

According to a report released by the United Nations in February 2019, the loss of land, crops, trees and pollinating agents such as birds, bats and bees have caused a decline in the world's ability to produce food.

In fact, it is expected that the negative effects of climate change cannot be avoided until the next few decades, and the mitigation measures taken are only aimed at reducing the impact of the phenomenon.

Imagine, what will happen if no mitigation measures are implemented? Surely the Earth's natural ecosystem will not be able to adapt to the effects of climate change.

At this stage, any adaptation action taken will certainly involve extremely high social and economic costs. It is high time the issue of climate change be addressed more holistically so that it does not cause more damage in the future.

Islam has given a clear warning in the Quran so that we do not do damage the Earth as in surah ar-Rum, verse 41 which means:

"Corruption has spread on land and sea as a result of what people's hands have done, so that Allah may cause them to taste the consequences of some of their deeds and perhaps they might return to the right path."

This verse clearly gives an indication that all the damage and disasters are a reminder to improve ourselves so as not to continue to repeat the same mistakes and to ensure we take greater care of the environment.

The writer is fellow, Centre for Science and Environment Studies, Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM)

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