A more fair share of resources
“This is for the first time that the people in Ba’ Kelalan will hold celebration of Earth Hour together with all people in the world, even though many of us here do not understand very well why Earth Hour and switching off for one hour. Here, some of us even unable to access electricity for 24 hours,” said George Sigar Sultan, the Ba’ Kelalan Headman and Leader of FORMADAT Malaysia.
To the people of Ba'Kelalan in the highlands of Sarawak, every hour is 'Earth Hour'. Like many other indigenous communities across the Heart of Borneo, the people of Ba'Kelalan use a mixture of hydropower, solar and evening-time generators to generate power. They farm the land using traditional, sustainable methods and they conserve the forests that provide the ecosystem services they rely on.
Sigar explained that their participation was also a terrific start for people in Ba’ Kelalan to understand what is climate change and how they can help both as individual as well as FORMADAT for this global cause. “Switching off the light is a symbolic action to let us experience what it is like living without electricity and with that everybody is encouraged to practice green lifestyle.”
Tom Maddox from the WWF explained that the global message on footprint reduction was just one half of a need to ‘contract and converge’ our global impacts, another half is a more fair share of energy. Whilst many parts of the world use many times their fair share of resources, others - such as the Borneo highlands – use much less and probably need to increase this to develop. “WWF intends to engage communities in Borneo to ensure this increase happens in the greenest way possible.”
“As individual, Earth Hour reminds us that we have to drastically reduce our ecological footprint if we are to achieve a sustainable lifestyle,” added Maddox.
Involved in the celebration also children and students from SK Ba’ Kelalan primary school.
“Is there still any clean river, safe for bathing? Dad, what does breed look like? Uncle, can you show me the sound of bird? Teacher, what is forest? That’s when we realize it is late now. Is that the Earth you will inherit us? Barren and meaningless land to your children, your grandchildren, your descendants?” they questioned.
Now, are we ready to give a comforting answer for these Ba’ Kelalan and other kids in Borneo and in many places on the Earth? Earth Hour celebration has passed a month ago. But our home work is not finished at that point. We must not forget that many others are living on just a fraction of fair share resources they might be entitled to.