Clarion call to care for the earth

CHIEF Minister Chow Kon Yeow has made a clarion call to encourage everyone to invest in planet earth during the double celebration of Earth Day 2023 and Earth Hour at Straits Quay in Tanjung Tokong tonight.


He said all of us have a responsibility to play in protecting Mother Earth and there is no time more vital than now for us to take action to invest in our planet.


This year’s theme for Earth Day is ‘Invest in Our Planet’ to persuade businesses, governments and citizens around the world of the need to invest in our planet to improve our environment and give our descendants a better and safer future.


The terrarium begins to glow after Chow (second from right) touched it during the Earth Hour celebration at Straits Quay tonight. With him are Phee (third from right), Choo (front row, second from left) and Teh (front row, left).


“I hope that everyone who is here for the celebration will be a role model not only for oneself but for the family and community to contribute to a more sustainable world.


“We make investments and savings for retirement to ensure that we are well taken care of during our older days. What about the Earth? It is right now that we must take a closer look around us to see what climate change has done to our environment,” Chow said in his speech.


Chow (fifth from left), Phee (sixth from left), Tan (fourth from left) and Choo (third from left) in a group photo with the representatives of the various sponsors.


GREW members (in light green T-shirt), posing with Chow and Penang Green Council and JCI United Penang members for a photograph.


Although Earth Day falls on April 22 every year, it is celebrated ahead of time in Penang by Penang Green Council (PGC), a state agency, and Junior Chamber International United Penang (JCI United Penang) together with Earth Hour today.


Earth Hour is globally celebrated on the last Saturday of March, which is March 25 this year (today), whereby millions of people around the world switch off non-essential lights for 60 minutes from 8.30pm to advocate for energy conservation and carbon footprint reduction.


A young participant briefing (second from right) Chow, Phee and Josephine Tan on the barter trade that his school is participating in at the Earth Day 2023 celebration at Straits Quay.


Chow cited Auckland for experiencing its ‘biggest climate event’ in New Zealand’s history with days of downpours, flooding the streets and airport.


The Penang government, he said, established the Penang Green Council in 2011 to spearhead its green efforts and support holistic green initiatives to achieve a sustainable and resilient Penang.


He added that the state government had also implemented the Penang2030 vision which he introduced in 2018 and the Penang Green Agenda in 2021 to move the state forward, powered by a green economy by 2030.


SJKC Kampung Jawi teachers and pupils posing with Chow (third from left), Phee (right), Teh (second from left) and Choo (left) at the Earth Day 2023 celebration.


Chow was later invited on stage for a countdown to 8.30pm to place his hand on a terrarium, which began to glow when touched while the lights at Straits Quay were simultaneously switched off.


He thanked the 75 premises all over Penang, including Straits Quay, for switching off their lights from 8.30pm to 9.30pm to commemorate Earth Hour in a symbolic gesture.


“We have, of course, thousands of premises in Penang. While this is just a symbolic gesture, I hope it will not be celebrated once a year but become our habit and lifestyle,” Chow added.


Young children taking part in the barter trade at the Earth Day 2023 celebration at Straits Quay.


Also present at the ceremony were state Welfare and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh, PGC general manager Josephine Tan, Earth Day 2023 organising chairperson Christine Choo and JCI United Penang president Peggy Teh.


Tan said it is important to work hard on climate literacy and never stop educating people about our environment.


“We are unable to create a big impact if we are doing it alone. Therefore, PGC is going on the ground for more outreach with the public and always engaging in more partnerships for a greater environmental impact.


“We sincerely hope that our community will come together and raise awareness of environmental issues hand in hand through platforms like today’s event.


“By bringing people together to appreciate and cherish the beauty of nature and Mother Earth, we hope to inspire everyone to make positive changes in our daily lives,” Tan said.


Chow (centre) and Tan (left) in a group photo with some of the participants at the Earth Day 2023 celebration.


Choo said she was pleased that the various activities lined up for the celebration drew an enthusiastic response from the public.


She said, for instance, a total of 150 students from various schools participated in the Zero Waste Barter Trade event.


In addition, there were Clothes Swap, a Recycling booth, a science workshop and a terrarium workshop.


“Today’s celebration is very special and meaningful for all of us.


“I hope today’s event can raise awareness and bring benefit to all Penangites. May we continue to work hand in hand to build a cleaner, greener, safer, healthier and happier Penang!” Choo said.


Yoga enthusiasts limbering up before putting up a performance at Earth Day 2023 celebration at Straits Quay.


While the lights at Straits Quay were switched off, a big group of yoga enthusiasts gave a creditable performance to make the event even more memorable.


Story by K.H. Ong

Pix by Ahmad Adil Mohamad

Video by Law Suun Ting