| Azlan Othman |
THREE conservationists and environmentalists yesterday emphasised the need for younger generations to voice their ideas as sustainability issues appear to have fallen behind, to create a better future.
Speaking at the 13th International School Brunei (ISB) Borneo Global Issues Conference at the International Convention Centre yesterday, Kenny Peavy, who is an American author, explorer and eco-activist, urged students to go outside and explore.
“No matter what your skills and talents are, you can do something to make a difference,” he said as the keynote speaker.
“My fondness to music helps conserve the environment where I started a programme relating to music and the environment to raise awareness on endangered species in Southeast Asia. There is no overnight success. It takes a very long time. Whatever your talent, skills and interest, make sure you use them to address something for common goals,” he said.
Peavy rode a bamboo bike across Southeast Asia to raise awareness for sustainability in the region and paddled around Phuket, Thailand in a kayak with the Green Paddlers to teach people about marine conservation issues in the region.
Meanwhile another keynote speaker, Dr Wong Siew Te, the founder and CEO of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre said Borneo is home to 15,000 species of flowering plants, 3,000 species of trees of which 267 species are dipterocarp, 221 species of terrestrial mammals, 420 species of resident birds, 440 freshwater fish (about the same as Sumatra and Java combined) and 100,000 species of invertebrates (including insects).
He also stressed on seeking alternatives, citing examples that instead of cutting down natural forests, fast growing species like Acasia could be used for consumption.
“We have to support sustainable palm oil as much as possible. We have to use less resources, recycle as must as possible and value food and not waste our food.”
Karan Jerath, 19, UN Global Young Leader and inventor said if we want to help change the world, “it does not matter how old you are or where you came from, and how much you know, as long as you allow your idea to become a reality.”
He said that those attending the conference prove they care for the planet and action must be taken.
“You are not too young to lead the future. You need to be resilient and persistent in your endeavour. Dare to achieve the unimaginable and challenge the existence of norms and do not shy away from obstacles or limit yourself but instead receive with confidence and go forward with your ideas,” he said.
“Your ideas will be world-changing. Obstacles might appear and there may be times that you may not succeed. But you will come back stronger,” Jerath said.