Friday, 20 September 2013

The environmental war

If you ask Azlan Adnan about saving the environment, he would say somewhat controversially that the human population has to be reduced from 7bil to 100mil.

That's an almost 99% reduction in the number of people.

He believes the sudden increase of the human population in recent times has caused lots of problems from species extinction, habitat destruction and spiraling food prices.

“These are just the symptoms of overpopulation. The human population has increased three times in the past 60 years and it has taken its toll on the planet,” said the Green Party of Malaysia founder.    

Obviously reducing the population of the planet in an ethical way is a tall order, humans have to change their behaviour so that their impact on the environment is low said Azlan.

“We would have to rethink our whole lifestyle from manufacturing to producing food,” he said.

This is where the Green Party would come into the Malaysian landscape said 55-year-old Azlan.

“We need a green party because they are enough environmental NGOs. There is a need to take environmental issues into the political landscape. To put it bluntly, we need to politicise these issues,” he said adding that the idea for the party came after the 2008 general elections.

Over the past few years the Lynas and Rapid petrochemical complex in Pengerang issues are among the major environmental issues that have received lots of attention and traction in the political arena.   

Azlan said the Himpunan Hijau has been doing a good job campaigning against Lynas, but that it should be taken to the next level.

“Environmentalists can scream and shout but if there is no political will, things will remain as they are,” said Azlan.

He cites examples of Rio De Janeiro and Copenhagen who have had bicycle lanes for decades and asks why there are none in Kuala Lumpur.

“There is no political will here to do such things. Most politicians are not environmentally conscious. That’s why we need to bring green issues to the attention of the policy makers. If they are aware of the environment and not driven by other interests, Lynas and Rapid would have been non-starters in the first place,” he said.

In its manifesto, the party seeks to unite all Malaysians under the banner of environmentalism. It intends to unite and give political clout to all the Environmental NGOs (ENGOs) in Malaysia embracing the whole spectrum of environmental ideologies from deep ecology, preservation, conservation and sustainable development.

Efforts to register the party however have not been successful said Azlan. They have tried registering a branch in Perak last year, but they have not heard anything from the Registrar of Societies (ROS) so far.

“We are seen as a threat,” he claimed.

He acknowledges it would be tough for the party to be registered, pointing out that the registration of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) that took 10 years.

He said once they are successfully registered, they would use the same constitution to register other branches in every state.

“A lot of environmental issues are local issues and the locals will have a stake,” he said.

Right now, there is no formal committee in the party but Azlan said he is trying to educate people by posting videos of green living on Youtube.

Germany, New Zealand, Australia, France, Sweden and Denmark are some countries where the Greens as they are known have a commendable presence.

In New Zealand for instance, there have been cabinet ministers from the party while in the Scandinavian countries they have formed governments with the social-democrat parties.

The presence of the green parties in Asia has been almost negligible but Azlan believes there is a place for the party in the Malaysian political landscape.

He said the party would be similar to Parti Keadilan Rakyat in that it intended to cut across racial and religious lines.

“We have to change our political model and be based on ideologies rather than race or religion. Our ideology is to save planet for the future,” he said.

The party’s other policies would include encouraging inter-ethnic marriages, having a minimum wage, anti-nuclear and building more universities that provided free education.

Azlan said the party would also encourage entomophagy or the eating of insects.

“It is a cheap form of protein and cost effective,” he said adding that grasshoppers tasted like prawns.

He urged people to join the Green Party if they were interested, but he made it clear he did not want any “professional” politicians from other parties.

“We don’t need any driftwood,” he said.


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