SHAHEEROL IZUAN BIN NOR MAZLAN, YRE Malaysia
When the clock strikes 12 on December 31st, the crowd are cheering, welcoming the new chapter of their life. Most reaches adulthood with their own plan in life; continuing their study, getting a new job and starting their own family. Yet the truth is way different than we anticipated. Statistically speaking, natural disasters, climate change and extinction of species do not bother most of the world population as it has little to no actual impact on their daily life or at least that what they thought. Hence when the pandemic was declared, those same individuals are starting to realise if no proactive measures were to be taken by both the governing body and the community affected this nightmare will continue to be their new reality.
A reality that will continue to haunt humanity for the rest of their existence.
Prior to the lockdown, individuals, myself included have taken our freedom for granted especially when you are brought up in a peaceful nation. We often heard conflicts abroad, a thousand kilometres away. This very mindset has created a false sense of security that influence the way we live our life. We got too comfortable that leads to irresponsible actions such as food-wasting, disposing of our waste wherever we please and leaving a massive carbon footprint. Now it is clear that humans are the virus faced by mother nature and all the unnatural phenomena is earth’s immune system responses trying its best to eliminate the virus and release it of pain. However, like Albert Einstein said, in the middle, every difficulty lies opportunity. The very absence of physical interaction has led to a creative solution using the technology available today.
It is fascinating when world governments, corporate giants and private individuals come together to combat one common enemy. In the process, it manages to pave the pathway for several Sustainable Development (SDG) goals of the United Nations such as quality education, reduced inequalities and more. The idea of being confined in our home for a prolonged period was impossible at first. How to spend our time wisely in this time of crisis is always up for a debate, but such question always relies on the individual’s intentions. To those interested in learning something new, quality education as highlighted by the 4th SDG Goals are now more accessible than ever. We can attend webinars hosted by renowned institutions from any point of the world given that you have a stable internet connection and the commitment to do so. Limitations of travel expenses and sign-up fees are no longer an excuse.
Furthermore, when there is less emission of human’s carbon footprint as we are confined to our homes, our planet greatly benefited from it. Recently, there is news coverage claiming that this planet is slowly healing itself. Of course, one can argue that there are no scientific studies to support such claims, but it is undeniable that our daily carbon-dependant lifestyle needs to change for the better. Humanity regardless of their background should work together to take actions in combating climate change through the 13th SDG goals. How can we stand idle and watch as this planet dies, jeopardising the future of our next generations? According to World Economic Forum studies, until now, there are about 19 cities that could disappear forever due to the rising sea levels by the year 2100. Such numbers are expected to rise unless a stern action were to be taken.
Humanity through its long years of existent has always struggled to survive. From the black death, world wars to the great economic recessions. Each time we always managed to overcome the crisis and come back stronger. As mentioned by King Arthur without sacrifice, there can be no victory. The same happen this time around, many fall victims to the unfortunate circumstances. Many were dismissed from their work, many struggles to make ends meet and many believe that their life has been put in a suspended universe. This forces us to rethink our approaches in life, consumers only bought food based on necessity instead of a luxury. Eating home-cooked food and spending quality time together with their family. This pandemic has led us to appreciate every second of our life, we would never know when it will be taken away from us.
Now it begs the question. What is our way forward? The only logical solution is through the transformation of our lifestyle to a greener and more sustainable. All the initiatives practised during the lockdown such as zero food-wasting, cooking own’s food and more should be continued. If you enjoy the lessons shared online, go ahead and continue your exploration of the vast network of knowledge. These small gestures contribute largely to the sustainable development goals. A greener lifestyle will ultimately reduce carbon emission and help nature heal itself. The responsibility of safeguarding our beloved planet future does not fall under one country, organisation nor individual. It is a collective responsibility for citizens of earth hence we should be focusing our efforts in ensuring its survival. Together we can make a difference.