Just last week, the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to adopt a landmark resolution that acknowledges that a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right.
The decision comes at a critical time when the impacts of humanity on our planet are becoming increasingly clear.
Children are bearing the brunt of the Philippines’ waste management woes, as shown in our special report on the repercussions of 300 new sanitary landfills planned in the trash-choked archipelago.
A durian farm in Malaysia has been linked to disastrous floods, sparking renewed calls for a more transparent process for assessing the environmental impact of development.
In Singapore, a major bank has been called out for greenwashing after promoting itself as an “eco-warrior” for its decision to quit coal 17 long years from now.
But there has been some progress on the corporate social responsibility front in this part of the world.
GoTo, Indonesia’s largest internet company, is aiming to be a zero-emissions firm by 2030, touted as Southeast Asia’s most ambitious — some might say unrealistic — sustainability target to date.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s largest electricity provider has vowed to close some of its coal plants, starting with shutting a 1,400 megawatt facility, up to a year before its slated retirement in 2029.
While the UN resolution is not legally binding, experts say it could be a tool for accountability leading to constitutional change.
We can only hope it achieves its desired aim — to protect our environment and the people who have most to lose from a changing climate.