SUBANG JAYA: Education is a key factor in encouraging awareness and changing of mindsets on fighting climate change said the European Union.
Ambassador and head of the EU delegation to Malaysia, Maria Castillo Fernandez Maria Castillo Fernandez, was responding to questions regarding the challenges of adopting environment-friendly and sustainable practices in Malaysia.
Citing examples based on EU nations that have seen significant changes over the last few years, Maria said it was not easy arriving to where they are today.
“Thirty years ago, we don’t have all these talk about sustainability and environment-friendly practices.
“It isn’t easy I must admit. Even so it took us almost 20 years to be able to finally have people in the EU nations actively talking about how to improve the environment and sustaining it for the future generations,” she said when met after the forum titled ‘Connecting the Dots: Fighting Climate Change’ held at the Taylor’s University.
Maria added that more Europeans are integrating their businesses with production processes that are environment-friendly.
“These may not be projects done on a large scale basis but every small effort counts. You may not be driving an electric car, but by driving less, that is one way of you contributing to reduction of carbon emission.
“What is important is that people understand how it affects their daily lives and how they can be a part of securing a future that is safe for their children and the generations to come,” she said.
She also highlighted three key points to encourage deeper understanding of the idea of a sustainable earth.
“These are three pointers that would be a guide towards transforming mindsets and they are engagement, exposure and exchanges.
“Engagement is important, especially with the local community. Without them understanding why, these changes cannot take place. At the same time we want these to be habits and not done because they are forced to.
“Exposure would allow efforts and actions to be communicated better and as with exchanges, this helps when good practices are exchanged between one another,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry announced that it is working together with the Education Ministry to create a holistic syllabus that covers environmental education in schools.
“We have begun studying what needs to be included and how we can come up with a syllabus that is able to convey and teach students in schools.
“The subject is very broad and we need to find the most suitable way to introduce it, find the right teachers and get the schools ready to teach the subject.
“At the moment we are at discussion levels. We have not gone to schools yet,” said the ministry’s deputy secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Azimuddin Bahari at a press conference after the forum.
He added that the ministry is also looking at responding to the public including students and the teaching profession on legislation gaps, capacity on technology and capacity building on human resource.
“We are welcoming the public to come to us and feedback to us on what are gaps we need to fill on the environment issues.
“These are steps that the ministry is taking to engage with the public to help increase awareness on environmental related issues, policies and changes that we want to make,” he said.