Call for attitude change over environmental preservation

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians have been urged to change their attitude towards environmental preservation to mitigate natural disasters.

Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) director-general Prof Datuk Azizan Baharuddin said climate change was mostly caused by human activities, such as deforestation and throwing rubbish into rivers which led to natural disasters.

"These activities cause climate change and disasters to strike. Many victims are affected mentally and physically, invoking mental health issues such as depression and anxiety," Azizan said during the "International Workshop Towards Building Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia" at Ikim here today.

The two-day workshop ending tomorrow is held in conjunction with the three-year collaborative research project between Kyoto University, Japan and Ikim.

The workshop, which is the fifth in its series, aims to establish cooperation in disaster risk reduction efforts in four Asian countries namely Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Azizan said it was also essential to look back into the teachings of the Quran, which emphasises on being in touch with nature and treating it like an ''amanah'' (entrusted duty).

"Nature is entrusted to us by Allah and we have to take good care of it. The nature has its 'mizan' or balance. If we cut down trees, we have plant new ones to keep the balance," she said.

She added that as human beings, "we should be 'husnuzon', or to think well of Allah and His plans, as well as to be 'istiqamah' (act rightly) and be 'redha' (accepting Allah's will) when it comes to dealing with natural disasters". – Bernama