‘Public need to be more involved in climate change issue’

THERE needs to be consultation with the public on how to address climate change and its impacts on Brunei, apart from having discussions at the policy level, said the head of Green Brunei yesterday.

The environmental NGO’s community engagement director, Khairunnisa Ash’ari, said it’s challenging for Green Brunei to raise awareness about climate change because most people here don’t feel that it impacts them.

“In truth, it does affect us. Increases in global temperatures are impacting weather patterns, increasing heat waves, leading to bush fires and all this haze we’ve been suffering from, and more flash floods in areas that were previously unaffected are taking place,” she said.

Brunei has been experiencing hazy conditions with forest fires continuing to affect the country, while heavy rains in December caused flash flooding in some areas of Brunei-Muara and Tutong.

Khairunnisa told The Brunei Times that climate disasters in other areas of the world that lead to failing crops would eventually impact Brunei if the country depended on food sources from those areas.

“We shouldn’t wait for a major disaster before we take any serious action,” she said.

She said generally people in Brunei are more accustomed to hearing about environmental issues like littering, including pollution in rivers and at beaches and open burning.

Khairunnisa said this is somewhat normal because these topics are much closer to home, and one will feel the impact of it.

Climate change, on the other hand, doesn’t resonate that strongly because it’s not something one often hears about in the local media, she said.

“That’s probably why we don’t feel the sort of urgency that other countries are facing when it comes to wanting to combat climate change from the grassroots level,” she said.

Climate change is a huge issue, as it can impact the country’s social, economic and political well-being, she said.

“We don’t know yet how the impact of climate change negotiations will affect our country, especially our economy in the next five to 10 years. However, there’s still hope. Slowly, more cities are making a commitment to combat climate change, and we can learn a lot from their examples in promoting the use of clean energy and reducing carbon emissions,” she said.

Source: The Brunei Times