Arresting the climate crisis


  • Metro News
  • Monday, 02 Dec 2019

Murali (left) elaborating on an interesting topic at the inaugural Penang Action Climate Week.

THE week-long inaugural Penang Climate Action Week (PCAW) 2019 that just concluded last month spread the urgent message that everyone has a role to play in curbing climate change.

The event, organised by Think City with the support of the state, saw a wide range of partners stepping up to provide a range of activities to create buzz around Bangunan UAB in George Town.

“Targeted at the public, the inaugural Climate Week was aimed at promoting sustainable production and consumption, and encouraging discourse on climate actions and solutions,” said Murali Ram, Think City’s programme director for George Town and Butterworth.

The most exciting part of PCAW is undoubtedly, the Climathon, which took place on Nov 16.

Held in partnership with Climate-KIC, Europe’s leading climate innovation initiative, Climathon is a year-round platform, with a solutions-hackathon at its core, translating climate solutions into tangible projects, supporting climate-positive businesses and addressing local policy changes.

Participants spent 24 hours competing in teams to produce climate action solutions specific to Penang including waste management for restaurants and street vendors, early warning system for floods and addressing plastic pollution in rivers.

The winning proposal was submitted to the global awards, where selected finalists from all over the world will be made known on Dec 13.

Children expressing their talents as aspiring Gamuda Park rangers who explore things related to biodiversity.Children expressing their talents as aspiring Gamuda Park rangers who explore things related to biodiversity.

PCAW is anchored by two forums, one on sharing of experiences and lessons by policymakers and practitioners on how to build Penang’s resilience in the face of climate change, and another more casual series to impart knowledge ranging from composting to living a zero-waste lifestyle.

Dr Ng Shin Wei of Global Policy Asia Sdn Bhd spoke on the Penang Green Agenda (or Making Penang Greener and more Sustainable by 2030), Ahmad Zabri Sarajudin of the Seberang Prai City Council spoke on Low Carbon, Zero Carbon City, Hafiz Amirrol of MERCY Malaysia spoke on Climate Resilient Communities while Think City’s senior programme manager, Sofia Castelo, and Murali unveiled the Penang Climate Adaptation Plan.

A casual session was held to impart knowledge on the efforts of local climate advocates with regard to climate action and sustainable living as well as to provide a networking platform for activists and the public.

Here, speakers included Justine Vaz of the Habitat Foundation, Melissa Tan (zero waste advocate), Calvin Chan of Mushin Green Enterprise, and Benjamin Ong of the United Nations Development Programme.

Volunteers from the private sector and NGOs plogging along the banks of Sungai Pinang.Volunteers from the private sector and NGOs plogging along the banks of Sungai Pinang.

An interactive exhibition to raise awareness about climate change was also set up at Bangunan UAB, which is Think City’s home, to encourage visitors to think about possible contributions to help address the problem, and to provide feedback for intervention.

The exhibition proved to be simple but refreshing as it presents relevant information in an easy to digest manner.

A series of short films were also screened, and these include Our Planet, Sumatran Rhino, Sunken Graves, River of Life Expedition and A Plastic Ocean.

There was also an opportunity to get one’s hands dirty for Mother Earth.

Volunteers rolled up their sleeves to pick up rubbish along the banks of Sungai Pinang at a spot near Jalan Patani.

Participants are all ears during a presentation.Participants are all ears during a presentation.

The effort yielded nearly 175kg of trash, consisting of 2,250 cigarette butts, 224 cigarette packs, 22 lighters, 521 plastic bottle caps, 300 plastic straws, 230 plastic bottles, 40kg of textiles, among many others. Recyclables amounted to nearly 31kg.

“Our plogging activity is a good collaboration between Gamuda, Think City and the Penang Island City Council.

“We are pleased to be partnering them and NGOs such as the Penang Science Cluster, Trash Hero, OWL Penang Zero Bulk Store and Aimpactz to create a better environment,” said Andy Lee, who heads Gamuda’s Quality, Safety, Health & Environment Department.

“Plogging is in line with the Penang Green Agenda and we are supportive of the state’s efforts in safeguarding the environment,” he said.

Attendees watching short films dwelling on sustainability and the environment.Attendees watching short films dwelling on sustainability and the environment.

According to Murali, Think City is encouraged by the participation in the event, even in the face of limited promotional activities. If anything, he said the public can expect more of such from the organisation.

“Think City has plans to hold Climate Action Week in different locations in Malaysia on an annual basis,” he said.
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