A Little Concerns, Much More Differences

University Putra Malaysia has always given people a picture of mesmerizing lush greenery as if the university is being embraced by the Nature. Indeed, our campus is just like a green city in Serdang with lots of trees and fields spreading all over the campus. There is even a famous site called ‘one tree hill’ where people love to take wedding photos there at the breath-taking scenery to create a beautiful memory in their life. Recently on 17th January 2014, the result of UI Greenmetric Ranking of World University 2013 was announced and UPM proudly obtained rank 16th on the list, standing high among other universities in our country. UPM has been on the ranking list since 2010 (at that time UPM was on rank 6th), taking part as a suburban university.

Photo of ‘one tree hill’ in UPM. (credit goes to naza.carraro on Flickr for this amazing scene)

As a student studying Environmental Science in UPM, I am satisfied to be here in a green-concerning university. We have rebates on buying a bicycle to encourage cycling, strategically-designed cycling route, a ban on the use of polystyrene containers and the list goes on. Everything was awesomely-looking when I first settled down in this campus. After some weeks, or months, it turned out to be different from my imagination. Yes the university has put in a lot of efforts to encourage the green campus campaign as we can see, but going green is mainly not about the authority, but the people, everyone in the university especially us, students who make up most of the population here.

Nothing is perfect. I agree with this point. There might be some flaws here and there which we could fix by just contributing a little bit more effort. We don’t have to be a green activist to be supportive in those green campaigns. What we need to have is a caring heart, a heart that concerns about our environment. According to my observation, people tend to turn a blind eye towards something that shouldn’t be happening such as a leaking pipe. It is a disturbing sight to see crystal clear water flowing down the road and into the drain. Water is life. And it is being wasted. We are educated people. We supposedly know more about the importance of the environment towards our life and how much we are depending on it. And yet, we assume that we see nothing. It’s not about us, it’s the authority’s job to take care of the business. The scene in my memory still irritates me. Hundreds of students passing by a leaking tap (which was said has been leaking for three days) showed no concern about it until someone picked up the phone and told the authority to fix the problem. This leaking tap was located in the public. How about uncountable taps and pipes which are hidden in washrooms? Would there be anyone who is concerned enough to report the case?

This post is not about blaming. The message I want to brought out is the vitality of bottom-up effort in sustaining a green life in campus. We do not need a save water campaign to save water. We are the one who can make a change. No matter it’s water or fresh air that we breathe, it is our irreplaceable public property. We owns the right to have it free of charge yet we have the responsible to take good care of it. People who say ‘well, it’s not my business’ are totally wrong. When you see an open burning where smoke is bellowing up into the sky, and the smell of burning leaves and plastics diffuses throughout the air that you breathe, is it fair to you to live in such condition? Launch a complaint to the authority. It is not the authority’s fault for not making sure everyone toes the line as they might not see what is happening. We live in this community and we knows better about the situation than anybody else. We will be the one who suffer first if any bad things occur. So far there is no case reported about respiratory problem due to open burning (this is not a hyperbole), but the toxic particles might accumulate in our lungs and who knows what would turn out in the future? Does it worth to risk your health?

Bottom-up effort represents the will of people to have a better life for their own good. It is done willingly, showing people’s concern towards certain issues which might greatly affect them. Everyone knows that polystyrene has been banned in UPM as part of the green campaign. But still, I got mad every time I saw people carrying polystyrene containers around the campus (it has become an usual sight in campus, so somehow I manage to control my temper), even in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. I feel ashamed for those who claim to be environmental studies students but happily having their lunch out of a polystyrene container. People once told me that ‘that’s not a big deal!’ for using polystyrene container as there is no punishment at all. This reflects that, even if there is a campaign, but people has no will to support it, the campaign is nothing. It starts from us! We decide whether the campaign is being a success or a failure.

Last but not least, ask yourself. Do we deserve the rank in UI Greenmetric Ranking of World University if these phenomenons continue? Our days in the university has not yet ended. There is still a long way to go. We are young. We are energetic. There is nothing impossible that we cannot do to make a change. Show the world, yes we deserve it.



P/S: This post is taken from my personal blog.

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