Is Environmental Sustainability Real?

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I was giving a talk on global sustainability and environmental issues that pose a threat to our existence on planet earth. Some of my colleagues from the World Bank, startup communities and leaders of their industries were sharing the stage with me. With limited time, we shared all that we know, or at least how I feel about our progress as we take our next step towards a bleak future.

Having started a technology startup and a social enterprise, I have come to terms that there are not many companies out there who made an effort to address their environmental impact. Most capitalists are all out to make a tidy profit at any cost; even at the expense of the environment. Trying to save the planet is hardly part of a company's DNA, even from the beginning. Profit making will always be the primary focus for survival.

Next is the nature of how we consume and dispose our products without thinking twice. I used to think that we should all recycle. It was when I started a family that made me appreciate any form of convenience in my daily routine - making the separation of plastic and glass from the rest of the trash sound like a far cry away. I believe most of us can sympathise with the fact that we pollute one way or other as we consume our consumables.

Were there any solutions I could share during my talk? I wanted to be hopeful and optimistic towards the audience; knowing that governments and corporations are pushing for more global consumption to increase growth and profits, hence more resources consumed and more waste produced. With that, I don't see a way out, unless the capitalist engine gets overhauled. Maybe we will go extinct the way the dinosaurs did, and other species from a million years would read about us as the destructive ones.

Visiting Islands

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It was my first time going to Jakarta and Bandung; two cities nestled within an archipelago that is made up of 18,000 islands, spanning 5,150 kilometres from east to west, blessed with three different time zones. I have been to Bali twice, but my visit to this part of Indonesia was going to be unexpected. We arrived in Jakarta very early that morning. Already, I could see the number of vehicles on the road was starting to build up. The average Jakartan spends ten years of their life in traffic, and I was about to spend 3 hours of my life travelling out of Jakarta towards Bandung. Most of the slow down was due to the massive construction to build elevated highways, an initiative by the government to improve traffic congestion. They are already working towards a smarter city, where street lamps, traffic lights and ambulances are fitted with intelligent technology to reduce macet (gridlock).

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/nov/23/world-worst-traffic-jakarta-alternative

  2. https://www.g2g.govt.nz/