UPM's Staff Profile

Sustainable Living

- 22 Aug 2022
1. Environmental destruction and sustainability.
Environmental destruction or pollution is not something new globally and nationally. Rapid development in various sectors in Malaysia has brought an impact on the quality of the environment. Among the factors of environmental destruction are land disturbance, emissions from industries, overpopulation causing overuse of environmental resources, illegal dumping, improper management of waste, and many more. To cater to this problem, we need to inculcate sustainability practices in our daily lives.

Environmental sustainability is about balancing our way of life and nature. We must interact with the environment in a responsible manner to avoid detrimental effects on the environment and depleting natural resources. This is to ensure that the future generation’s ability to meet their daily needs would not be compromised.

The three pillars of sustainability involve economic, social, and environmental development. This pillar is interrelated among each other. We need development to raise our economic state without compromising our environment to achieve a good social life.

2. Why is sustainability important?
Environmental sustainability is beneficial for human health and other species. By living sustainably, we can enhance our life quality and social value through better environmental quality where we live. Without sustainable development, we may raise our economy, but is it worth sacrificing our environment which will eventually affect our social affairs?

We depend on many environmental resources for our daily consumption like energy, food, and human-made resources. Rapid population growth resulting in overconsumption of these resources can lead to more environmental destruction that will risk our future generations.

For this reason, leaders and individuals should do their part to save our world. This should include the industry’s players to be responsible for their raw materials consumption and produce green products for the society.

3. What can we do for the environment?
Apart from government policy, acts, and action plans to promote sustainability, we can also contribute to these efforts collectively. In achieving environmental sustainability, we have 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a guide.

As individuals, we can take small but effective steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle, like using less water and switching to reusable products to reduce our dependence on single-use plastics. Life is about making choices every day. We can choose whether to let the water tap run while brushing our teeth or we can just use a glass of water.

There is always a doubt about whether what we did is beneficial enough to the environment, but it is important for us all to stay focused on the challenge ahead and continue to improve wherever it is possible. I had made a habit of collecting used oil for more than 10 years and found it very easy to implement. Apart from preventing clogging in the kitchen drainage, I believe I could minimize river pollution and make a better environment for future generations.

We are responsible for what we are doing in this world and will be asked by God what we have done to protect the world in the life hereafter. Action from an individual is crucial as it will become a habit that will be followed by our children, as what people said as “lead by example”. Small acts by individuals will lead to a global impact in improving the environment for our future generations.

4. Life Cycle Thinking Concept in Sustainable communities
Our behavior toward the environment can be enhanced by thinking in a sustainable way through the concept of Life Cycle Thinking (LCT). LCT is the way of thinking that includes the economic, environmental, and social consequences of a product or process throughout its life. The basic idea is to assess the environmental performance of a product. We can look at its use, where the materials come from, what energy and other resources are used to make the product and what happens to it after use. Not to be forgotten to include the “6 RE philosophy” which are rethinking, reducing, replacing, recycling, reusing, and repairing.

The concept of LCT is closely related to environmental sustainability. By implementing LCT, we are becoming sustainable communities and subsequently, help in achieving environmental sustainability. The most important thing for me is to be moderate in whatever we do.

Azlina Othman
Amir Hamzah Sharaai

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