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Appreciate nature, don’t violate it

File photo: Kledang Perak land clearing

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To bring the natural system into balance, we need a new economy that is sustainable and respects the limits of natural resources is fundamental, writes Ronald Benjamin.

On weekends, I usually make time to go to Kledang Hill in Ipoh for exercise. As I hike on the hill, I hear the sounds of birds and the crunch of leaves beneath me and savour the feel of cold water from the waterfalls.

In countries that value their ecosystem, the people have an affinity with nature, where forests, hills, mountains and deserts are preserved.

The experiences we gain when communing with nature help us to value the gift of life. They help us develop a healthy mental and spiritual attitude, which in turn could help in forming productive citizens.

It is unfortunate that in Malaysia the sanctity of nature is seldom appreciated by certain political and business entities. Nature has been violated in the name of economic development. It is puzzling to hear that about 10ha of hills at Kledang Saiong have been found to be cleared for oil palm plantation.

It is unfortunate that the Pakatan Harapan state government had to react to this issue instead of proactively ensuring from the beginning that there would not be such blatant disregard for the environment. Has this not vindicated the accusation by the European Union that large tracts of forest are cleared in Malaysia for oil palm plantations?

It is not only Kledang Hill that has been violated. A year ago I visited a beach in Teluk Senangin for a picnic with my family and found lots of flies. When I asked the people around on the cause, they told me someone had opened a chicken coop nearby.

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Perak has a unique gift of nature, and it could be a hotspot for the tourism sector if its forests, beaches and hills are preserved in pristine condition.

The Perak government should come up with an environmental blueprint to protect the environment. With temperatures going up and carbon emissions increasing due to more cars and factories, protecting our forests and trees has become crucial.

To bring the natural system into balance, a new economy that is sustainable and respects the limits of natural resources and the functions of ecosystems is fundamental.

This requires a shift in how we value, use and dispose resources, creating a circular system, as in nature.

Nature is God‘s greatest gift to humanity.

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