THE intense heatwaves that are sweeping across the globe have alerted Malaysians and people across the globe to the undeniable reality of climate change. Coupled with prolonged droughts, the situation has not only impacted overall productivity but has also led to an increase in health-related ailments.

Many Malaysians have held the misconception that climate change would not affect them or chose to deny its existence. However, the heatwave serves as a stark reminder that climate change is a global phenomenon, affecting every one of us.

It is time we acknowledge this reality and take proactive measures to address climate change head-on.

Global warming and human responsibility

The evidence leaves no room for doubt – every country in the world is experiencing the effects of global warming. This current phenomenon has brought greater meaning to the term “global warming” for people worldwide.

The blame for the current state of affairs lies squarely with us as climate change is predominantly caused by human activities.

Excessive carbon emissions into the atmosphere, driven by our lifestyles, are the core of the problem. It is crucial we recognise the individual carbon footprints we leave and the impact of our current choices.

Urgency for action

Climate change has reached a critical stage and can no longer be ignored or addressed with minimal effort. Time is of the essence.

We must act now to prevent further discomfort and adverse economic consequences. The path forward requires a comprehensive approach that combines policy changes, political will, public awareness and individual action.

Way forward

We need to re-evaluate current climate change policies. The recent global heatwave phenomena should prompt us to reassess our current policies, programmes and strategies.

Furthermore, we need to determine their relevance and appropriateness and be bold enough to make necessary changes to confront the problem directly.

Consider accelerating the adoption of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, while expeditiously phasing out dirty coal-fired power plants.

Political will and implementation

Having a well-crafted plan is only the start. The real challenge lies in implementing it with passion and determination. Malaysia must ensure that project execution receives the attention and priority it deserves as interest often wanes after policy announcements.

Education and awareness

Raising awareness among Malaysians, including the young, is crucial. We must realise that each one of us can play a part in combating climate change.

By being mindful of our actions, such as reducing carbon emissions, utilising public transport and practising energy efficiency and waste reduction, we can contribute significantly. Additionally, embracing technology like Zoom meetings can reduce travel and save time.

Incentivising green lifestyles

Implementing measures to encourage Malaysians to adopt sustainable practices is essential. Incentives can range from financial benefits to recognition of green initiatives, thus, motivating individuals to embrace environmentally friendly choices.

Leading by example

Malaysian leaders must serve as role models by actively demonstrating their commitment to sustainability. Taking public transport to the office daily showcases their dedication and encourages others to follow suit.

Protecting green spaces

City councils play a vital role in safeguarding urban green spaces, such as fields and playgrounds. Preserving these areas contributes to carbon sequestration, biodiversity and the well-being of communities.

Valuing water

This is a precious commodity, and must be highly valued and not taken for granted. Encouraging responsible water consumption and promoting efficient water management practices are essential steps.

Addressing climate change demands sacrifice and a willingness to face inconveniences.

We can take the lead in combating climate change by acknowledging that our future depends on the extent to which we can decouple emissions from economic growth.

By embracing the current heatwave as a catalyst for action, we can strive to protect our planet and secure a sustainable future for generations to come.

The writer is a former Board Member of the Sustainable Energy Development Authority, Malaysia. Comments: