Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wishful Thinking

Sometimes I think getting people to do their part in environmental conservation is just wishful thinking. Take for example - car ownership. For most folks, what matters is convenience of getting around in your own vehicle and perhaps the status symbol associated with it too, in the case of local context.

The college I am attached to, one of the teacher is just staying right across the college, around 5 mins walk. She drives to the school everyday. Another teacher used to cycle to work, but got a car too. She too stays just 2 bus stops away from the school, with many bus services plying the route. These 2 ladies are single without family. Their nature of work do not require much traveling. Besides, for school activities, there are coaches to ferry the students. But the teachers prefer to drive their own vehicle. In cases where there a few teachers accompanying the students, they normally prefer to go in their own car. Convenience takes priority, forget about car pooling and being environmental friendly.

One would have taught that environmental awareness would be activity promoted in schools. Perhaps it is to a certain extend, but the action by the occupants review otherwise. More just to lips service.

If our government actions are politically driven where environmental issues are concern, we cannot expect much from those sectors under its wings.

Business organisations are profit driven. In cases where being environmentally friendly help to cut cost, we will see more positive response. Where it affects the bottom line, then they may not be too receptive, especially for those small and medium enterprises.

Perhaps large multi-national corportations (MNC) are more likely to be the driving force in environmental issues. Most of them subscribe to international standards related to environmental, safety and health. MNCs do their part on compliance to these standards. Besides, there is a global 'trend' on corporate social responsibility. MNCs give heavy weight to their corporate image and branding. Thus, MNCs will jump into bandwagon which helps to uplift their corporate image. MNC also has the financial muscle behind them to support environmental causes.

Another silver lining comes from non-governmental organisations (NGO). These folks come together to act with passion for their common cause. Often they are the 'push' factor behind government actions.

It is time we push for Government Global Responsibility and Individual Social Responsibility.

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