Saving our environment with knowledge

National 2 minutes, 1 second

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

CONTINUOUS environmental education and awareness programmes at different levels are the most effective ways to safeguard Brunei’s flora and fauna, a senior academic said recently.

Associate Professor Dr Kushan Tennakoon, director of Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s Institute for Biodiversity and Environmental Research (IBER), said social media could play a vital role in spreading information and awareness on the environment among the youth.

He told The Brunei Times that compared to other countries in the region, the anthropogenic effects on natural habitats are relatively less in Brunei.

Anthropogenic mainly refers to environmental pollution and pollutants originating in human activity.

However, he said Bruneians shouldn’t be complacent but further improve the protection strategies without hampering the development programmes essential for the country.

“Hence, maintaining a continuous dialogue with all stakeholders is important. It’s not only our forests, but we should be mindful about our valuable mangroves, the intact peat dome (in Belait), freshwater ecosystems and marine habitats including the beaches,” he said.

Dr Kushan said one way to educate people about being environmentally cautious is by giving value to the invaluable ecosystem services that natural habitats provide for humans. These include clean air, fresh water and mitigation of floods.

“Giving a value to these will give a strong message to the general public that once these habitats are destroyed in an unsustainable manner for the present-day needs, our future generations will have to face the consequences,” he said.

He said if residents here are unperturbed about safeguarding Brunei’s environment, they won’t be able to reap benefits from the vast ecosystem.

“Just imagine a situation without the vast free ecosystems services that we get from these natural habitats. Once destroyed, it’s near impossible to re-create the same biodiversity in the immediate future,” he said.

At the university, he said, they are working very closely with BruWILD and the Brunei Nature Society and some key members of these organisations comprise UBD alumni and staff.

“BruWILD is doing a commendable service by spreading the message among the younger generation, and we’re happy to associate with them. It’s heartening to see that our graduates are giving back to the society what they’ve learned at the university.”

He said UBD’s GenNEXT curriculum is a student-centric educational approach that lays the foundation for lifelong learning. One of the three principles embedded in this initiative is environmental awareness.

The Brunei Times