THE power to protect the environment lies in the hands of ordinary people, according to Escape theme park chief executive officer Sim Choo Kheng.
“We are left with only one choice, ourselves. We need to empower the masses to expose and censure businesses and individuals who harm our world,” he said on World Environment Day yesterday.
“There are websites and mobile apps where millions of people rate everything from tourism attractions to taxi drivers.
“The loss of demand because of poor ratings drive businesses to strive for quality and good service.
“A website or social portal for us torate the environmental sustainability of businesses can keep the industrial world in line,” he said.
The set-up should be self-regulating and not dictated or moderated by governments or NGOs.
Inviting open discussion, he asked those who shared his mindset to email him (email@example.com) and give their thoughts.
Sim, who grows grass on every roof in his theme park to keep buildings cool and air-conditioning usage low, said businesses would find the impetus to change when they are publicly ranked for their environmental policies.
“The unscrupulous use of labels like ‘eco’ or ‘organic’ will no longer befuddle gullible consumers because people will be more aware,” he said.
He cautioned against blind reliance on governmental enforcement.
“There are so many public agencies and green certification programmes worldwide. Yet we regularly hear of deforestation, hill clearing and animal poaching.
“The downside of awarding companies with green certification is the creation of a compliance culture. Once you create green rules, you create ways for people to break rules,” he said.
Sim claimed the country’s culture and obsession with academic performance had caused the young to become blind to nature.
“How can we expect the young to protect nature when they don’t love it or feel any connection or need for it?” he asked.
Sim said that environmental protection was everyone’s job.
“Don’t get hung up on green accreditation. That is like going to a police station and asking for an award because you have not committed any crime.
“Not harming our environment should be part and parcel of our lives,” he said.