After completed the footprint quiz, it was not surprise to discover that my personal high impact areas were the food section and services section which occupied 55% and 23% of the total respectively. Food has always been a major factor of pollution due to the fact that meat consumption is contributing severe pollution to the environment as people demands for food are increasing rapidly. Based on my research, total amount of meat consumption per capita in Malaysia itself has significantly grown 57. 3% from 1990 to 2003.
It is said that this high growth of meat consumption rate is the consequences of increase in income and population in the country. However, people do not realize that meat eating is creating approximately half of the world’s pollution, in terms of air pollutions and water pollutions. They do not perceive that eating meat is bad for the planet, the place where they stay. Animal agriculture is the major source of water pollution. for instance, pesticides and nitrates in fertilizer that used as crops feed often spill into the ocean and killing millions of fish.
Besides, raising livestock requires extensive water consumption before they are ready to serve the human kinds causes the earth going dry. Eventually, it will bring huge impact to poor country such as Africa whereby there are no facilities to treat polluted water. People in Africa are suffering from dehydration due to lack of water resources while we are killing animals to satisfy our taste buds. On the other hand, the major cause of air pollution is the carbon dioxide emitted during processing and transportation of food production. In my opinion, simple changes can bring big difference to the world.
Since human are not capable of controlling the constantly rising world population, people can actually change their eating patterns, to a nonmeat diet and reduce the amount of livestock, it will have positive influence on the environment by reducing the pollutions. Moreover, meat production is not only a threat to the world but also an immoral act when innocent animals are being killed by mortals for the good taste. Animals are suffering in the factory farms, for example, many fast food restaurants has been accused for animal abuse and animal cruelty.
I have not thought deeply of how can we influences people’s decision of not taking meats, but I believe that if government could take the first step, encourage the people not to slaughter animals and control the food production in the country, things could be change more easily, for the sake of the environment and animals. Regarding to the services area which occupied 23% of the total score, I believe the score of service area is linked to the elements that support my daily life such as transportations and electricity services.
It is obvious that transportation sector is a one of the major contributor to air pollution. Based on numerous reports, emission green house gases come from transportation around us and electricity used, for example, the use of fuel by vehicles is raising the air pollution by emitting carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gases are one of the major factor of climate change and global warming. It affects the global climate as it has the ability to hold heats in the atmosphere. As a result, the increased sea level will cause low-lying coastal area submerged in water while the world population is rapidly increasing.
This will be a serious consequences if the situation is worsen day by day, In the effort to reduce the high rate of greenhouse gases, one of the ways to reduce the gases is to limit the numbers of vehicles worldwide. For example, using public transportation should be highly recommended by the government. However, it is undeniable that Malaysians do not like to take public transport instead most of the Malaysians are buying their own vehicles despite of the high car taxes imposed by the government. In my opinion, reasons that Malaysian are refusing to take public transports due to several reasons.
One of the main reasons is that people do not satisfy with the services provided. Public buses in Malaysia are often unreliable, crowded and inconvenient. Apart from that, train transport such as the monorail and LRT services seem to lack of integration for instance there are no LRT stations in many and suburban and rural areas. As the public transportation services still do not meet requirements of the people, I feel that government should improve the public transportation systems in order to decrease the traffic congestion and air pollution.
I would suggest that the government to provide a more complete public transport network by building more lines and extensions, particularly in the rail services. On the other hand, people should be as well encouraged to buy environmental friendly hybrid cars to reduce the toxic emmisions. Many hybrid cars have been on the market for over ten years, some of the examples are the Toyota prius, Nissan Altima Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Saturn Aura Hybrid and so on. However, hybrid car can only lower the emissions of carbon dioxides because it still burn gasoline.
Another factor of air pollution associates with the usage of electricity. Electricity as well contributes to the emission of carbon dioxide as we need to burn fossil fuel to generate power. One great way to reduce the hazardous air pollution is to plant. Study has shown that one acre of trees would provide sufficient oxygen for 14 people. Besides, plants can effectively absorbing contaminants in the atmosphere. As a human being, I feel that it is the human’s responsibility to spend little of our time to go for planting and go green.
From the footprint test, I was amazed that it takes 2. 4 planet earths of resources to support for my daily lifestyle. One thing that puzzles me is that how many, or I should say how much life our earth can continue to sustain and support while the world population is increasing by 80 million people per year? One issue that triggers me to concern for the environment is poverty. The effect of climate change has serious impact on the poverty as it affects on the people livelihoods, health and agriculture production.
Nations such as Africa is facing more droughts every year due to climate changes. As a result, the poor people starved to death due to insufficient food source in the country. The problem of poverty will be getting serious if human beings lost the ability to produce food as the world temperature keep rising. In my opinion, poverty is the result of mistakes that we made in the past, and these people are suffering from our mistakes. As a conclusion, I feel that I am more to pessimists, that totally agree to strong sustainability.
I feel that behind everything human-made capital, there must be a side effect that takes place. Technology can be used to assist our daily lives, but will never as a substitute for natural resources, Businesses should take necessary steps towards sustainability by conducting social responsibility at the moment. As we can see from the Japan’s massive earthquake and tsunami strikes recently, it is time for us to question if our modern way of living should be sustained in a way that satisfy the triple bottom line, people, planet and profits.