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Students’ Discussion: Environmental Issues at New Normal Age

17 Nov, 2020 KDIS News Center 1,274

Environmental issues such as resource depletion, climate change, and pollution are heavily discussed in various global forums and meetings. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet Report 2020, the 68% decline in the size of animal populations tracked over 46 years since the 1970s is alarming for global diversity. The United in Science Report (2020) points out that despite the Covid-19 pandemic redefining ‘normal’ life, the heating of this planet and climate disruption have continued apace. Speaking of the notion of the new ‘normal’, the pandemic has altered the routine of cities globally, where people travel less, the streets are less busy, and even some businesses as well as industries are shutting down.

Businesses and industries have contributed significant GDP growth in most nations globally. Going forward, economic, trade and environmental issues will continue to be interrelated whether we like it or not. KDI School of Public Policy and Management has positioned itself as an unrivalled institution in the teaching and research of development and public policy, which also takes into account environmental issues.

In this article, a few students were invited to share their views on the urgency of environmental protection. The students are Mohamed Ahmed Hassan (2020 MPP, Somalia), Latifi Nasimullah (2020 MPM, Afghanistan), Bouhamidi Sara (2020 MIPD, Algeria), Noor Azura binti Md Daud (2020 MPM, Malaysia), and Andreas Tri Novantoro (2020 MPM, Indonesia).


1. Why it is important to protect the environment?

Nasim: Environmental issues need to be addressed and solved in order to support habitat for humans, flora, and fauna. The burning of fossil fuels, industrial activities, and deforestation have led to carbon overload. These can contribute to diseases caused by poisons from the air pollution.

Sara: Current World Bank data reports that global waste accounts for 16% of the world population. Although the figure seems small, I think every global citizen must do their part to help sustainability and work together to reduce global waste.

Amin: The wave of species extinction is worrisome. Wild animals are being hunted to extinction for bushmeat, ivory, or “medicinal” products. Concerted efforts are needed to avoid further loss of biodiversity.

Azura: Since I was young, I have appreciated nature and wild forests. Earlier this week, when I read a WWF report that tropical forests used to cover about 15% of the planet’s land area 20 years ago but are now declining to 6%, I felt devastated. What is left for our future if we are continuously and greedily destroying our forests?

Novan: I am concerned about the endangered ocean wildlife and the serious decline of the ocean ecosystem. The Coral Triangle is a vast area of the ocean across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste, where more than 120 million people depend on local marine and coastal resources for their income and food security. The illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) activities will lead to the rapid depletion of ocean wildlife and the ecosystem.


2. What efforts are you making to protect the environment?

Nasim: I don’t smoke. I love myself, the people around me, and the environment, of course! Even in my own country, I will try to reduce the use of road transport to lessen air pollution. I will drive less and walk more. I consider myself an active nature lover as I do love cycling and hiking.

Sara: The three Rs, namely, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, are well-known and even being practiced here at KDI School. In addition to these, there is also another R that is as equally important as the three Rs, that being Refuse. I refuse to use plastic products such as straws and even plastic bags when shopping. Usually, I bring my shopping bag and my tumbler when I go to coffee shops. In May this year, KDI School also initiated a green campaign by providing tumblers to students, an effort that I fully support!

Amin: I will try my best to avoid buying products from companies that are well-known polluters. At least I am doing my part by not contributing profits to their businesses. I am also raising awareness of these businesses’ bad practices among my family and friends with only one aim: to protect the environment!

Azura: When going to the store, I bring my bag and avoid using plastic bags. Wild animals can easily get tangled in plastics. I also reduce my water consumption, use biodegradable products, and eat food from the farmers’ market.

Novan: I love to travel and buy souvenirs for my family and friends. However, without realizing it, I have probably bought souvenirs that have a negative impact on the environment and ecosystems. Therefore, I will avoid supporting any black market that involves endangered species or selling wildlife items such as tortoise shell and coral. We need to pay more attention to our planet by protecting endangered species and the environment. Every single one of us can help save this planet. Together we can!