Taking the climate fight online


PETALING JAYA: Young Malaysians are undeterred by the Covid-19 pandemic and are taking to social media to voice their support for Climate Action Day.

Taking selfies with placards calling for climate justice and posting them on Instagram, they are determined not to let their agenda be sidelined by Covid-19.

Climate for change: Youth, such as 23-year-old Farah Hanim Mohd Sharif in this picture from KAMY’s social media, are engaging in a  digital strike to advocate for  greater climate action.Climate for change: Youth, such as 23-year-old Farah Hanim Mohd Sharif in this picture from KAMY’s social media, are engaging in a digital strike to advocate for greater climate action.

Klima Action Malaysia (KAMY) co-founder Aroe Ajoeni said the youth were utilising digital platforms to campaign for action against climate change in conjunction with Climate Action Day yesterday.

“We are not going to the streets this year at all, but hopefully we can do so early next year.

“The climate narrative has been prominent in European countries, and we are trying to raise these voices in Malaysia and other South-East Asian countries, ” she said.

KAMY, she said, would also be celebrating World Rivers Day today and would also be engaging with lawmakers to push for pro-environment legislation such as the Climate Change Act and the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act.

The previous government had been looking into enacting such laws, but the current government shelved the tabling of the proposed Transboundary Haze Pollution Act.

“We don’t have ministers who lead the charge on climate change at all, it is very troubling.

“We need a proper plan to make sure our efforts don’t go down the drain, ” she said.

Greenpeace Malaysia public engagement campaigner Nur Sakeenah Omar said the organisation was also taking part in the digital strike held in conjunction with Climate Action Day.

Malaysians were encouraged to create a placard on the climate crisis and to post their pictures on social media platforms.

“In order to adapt to restrictions due to physical distancing, the climate strikes in Malaysia have moved online.

“The pandemic has given us strong insights into the possibilities that strong, combined efforts by the people and government can result in rapid and effective changes, ” she said.

She said problems related to the climate emergency had not abated, giving the example of how the pandemic increased the amount of single-use plastics.

“The pandemic has, rightly, taken precedence over climate policy discussions currently, but better policies on climate solutions have continued.

“We will continue to strike for climate solutions such as renewable energy, the protection of forests and reducing single-use waste, ” she said.

The global Climate Action Day falls on Sept 25, and is called for by youth-led environmental organisation Fridays for Future.

In a press release, Fridays for Future said the pandemic forced activists to use digital activism to demand climate action.

“It is vital that the climate crisis doesn’t get forgotten in the shadow of the coronavirus but is regarded as the utmost priority.

“The form of protest will be adjusted according to local Covid-19 conditions and in places where physical action will be taking place, participants will be asked to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, ” it said.

Fridays for Future is a movement inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who started skipping school on Fridays to go on strike for greater climate action and who has since become the face of environmental youth activism.

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