The recent Earth Hour event has seen the world banding together in the endeavour to raise awareness on the need to look after the fragile environment of the Earth. Voting for Earth was called out. As reported by my fellow GV author Noor Hidayah, in the case of Brunei, many bloggers seem to be supportive of the initiative and local papers have provided more reporting on the event. While many saw Brunei’s participation as an achievement, many also deemed it as an insufficient action to preserve the environment.
One of the local papers, Brudirect, reported on the last minute attempt to get people involved in the Earth Hour event. Although several corporations such as car dealers, hotels and individuals participated, they feel too little was made in educating the public about the event.
“While the initiatives made by these admirable few are commendable and exemplary, Brunei's efforts have been far overshadowed by the vast efforts in the neighbouring countries leaving Brunei, a country that makes up one third of the Heart of Borneo, far behind in eliminating complacency and ignorance of climate change and its devastating effects on the Earth.”
“A 19-year-old local student studying at Maktab Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah admitted to being ignorant of Earth Hour. When told of the efforts of schools in neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore, she said: “They never mentioned anything about Earth Hour in school let alone what it is about.” The absence of local public service announcements has also left much of the public “in the dark” on the significance and importance of Earth Hour 2009.”
Interesting enough, the University of Brunei Darussalam supported Earth Hour.
“Staff members of UBD spoke of how the awareness of energy conservation in students should be embedded as part of their curriculum as it was important for the next generation”. Assistant Registrar for the Chancellory, Kenny Liew said that with this cause, it would put UBD on the level of a world-class university. “This is a good step forward for us, not just on the education side but also to create awareness amongst the university's community as well as the public,” he said. “I don't think Earth Hour is transparent in Brunei because some people still do not know the rationale behind it. Someone needs to highlight the main purpose behind it and we hope that UBD can advocate it,” he said.
Another local paper, Brunei Times, reported that
Many Bruneians are still in the dark on the procedures and objectives of participating in Earth Hour 2009 to battle global warming.”The concept to take action against global warming is interesting and has potential, but its feasibility has to be questioned, said Frankie Tong, a sales executive working in the private sector.”I have seen an advertisement about it on Astro but to be honest I have no idea what it is about or what it is for,” said the 25-year-old. “I think it is kind of stupid to urge the public to switch off their lights because most of us will not pay attention to it. It might be a better idea to have the government shut down the power for us instead,” he added.
Blogger Scripted Destiny believes that joining Earth Hour is a vote to save the environment:
People of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming.
DenCorp observes that Earth Hour was a failure in Brunei.
All and all, Earth Hour was a total failure in Brunei. There was no support. The senior citizens didn't understand the whole point. The younger couldn't care less.”
Slay3rzz points out what Earth Hour is all about
“The main objective of this campaign is to continue to be energy efficient beyond Earth Hour, making small actions everyday to achieve our goal in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.”
We can show the world that we can do something. Then, maybe the perception that people of Brunei live on pokok (trees) will be banished.”
Green Campaign provides information on how to help reduce the negative impact on the environment by using reusable bags instead of plastic bags. Some of the green initiatives are already proposed before but not many are supporting them. In most restaurants and food stalls, styrofoams containers are used instead of reusable containers. The same goes for the reusable shopping bags. Although many initiatives were introduced to the public, the lack of incentives in using them made customers to leave them at home.
Personally, I use them but not all supermarkets welcome them. For instance, I was stopped by a security guard at a big supermarket for trying to bring in bags into the store. The lack of coordination amongst the staff organisation in the supermarkets created this set back. Also many supermakets do not want to stop providing plastic bags to customers for fear of losing customers.
The Earth Hour event highlighted the need for continued awareness on the need to preserve the fragile environment. There are many initiatives that can be taken up by ordinary citizens rather than waiting for government authorities or NGOs to highlight them.