The Balancing ‘Game’ – The Needs of Development vs Conservation

Natural resources are essential elements of the environment, vital for the survival and well-being of all living organisms. Their importance includes sustaining life with basic necessities such as clean air, water, and food; in supporting the needs of human civilization, development, and economic growth by providing the raw materials for industries; as well as cultural and recreational purposes, and ecological services.

Usage of the earth’s resources has long been considered by nations as their inalienable human rights and a crucial element for economic development. However, if the level of utilisation exceeds the natural regeneration rates of these resources, there will be risks to the livelihood and well-being of people; endangering the health of ecosystems.

Recognition of the necessity to conserve the earth’s resources has become more urgent in Malaysia. Various conservation efforts undertaken include sustainable practices, responsible resource management, protection of natural habitats, promoting renewable energy, and encouraging public awareness and participation in preserving natural resources.

Organisations have recognised that to achieve progress in sustainability movements; personnel development, research, and sustainable economic practices are integral. Investments in these areas reflect an organisation’s ‘will’ to ensure that economic activities are carried out in a sustainable manner.

One such organisation that had placed importance on balancing the needs of industries in utilising resources and conservation, is YTL Cement. For years, this organisation had focused on contributing and making real progress in its quest in Helping Malaysia Build Greener.

Pioneering Initiatives in Tropical Limestone Karst Landscape Research and Education

YTL Cement’s latest initiative in research and education is a highly relevant dimension in the effective achievement of sustainable practices. The organisation’s initiatives at the Bukit Kanthan Geosite, Perak, set an example, where proactive conservation had been ongoing since 2014.

In 2017, the Perak State Government declared Lembah Kinta as a National Geopark, recognising its geological, ecological, and cultural importance. YTL Cement, committed to sustainable development, collaborated with experts to meticulously delineate the Geosite boundaries. Furthering their efforts, YTL Cement is working with five top local universities – Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Pahang Al-Sultan Abdullah, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.

The planned Research Centre at the Geosite will spearhead comprehensive research covering tropical limestone karst in various states, ensuring a nuanced understanding of these landscapes. This initiative underscores YTL Cement’s pivotal role in the conservation and sustainable development of Lembah Kinta and Tropical Limestone Karsts landscapes nationwide. The consortium’s research will span across Perak, Pahang, Perlis, and Kedah, delving into the potential and heritage value of limestone in Sabah and Sarawak.

The recent collaboration between YTL Cement and the Ministry of Higher Education to establish a University-Industry Research Consortium for the conservation and sustainable development of Tropical Limestone Karst landscapes is a pioneering effort in Malaysia, towards Industry-Conservation Balance. The aim was to achieve a balance between the preservation of these unique landscapes with the needs of industry, aimed at harmonising economic progress with heritage conservation.

This five-year initiative involved sponsoring post-graduate students to carry out research on the sustainability of these landscapes. It encompasses various research areas and aims to generate groundbreaking insights, strengthen relationships between universities and industry, promote policy recommendations and increase public awareness of the significance of these landscapes.

Appointed as the Consortium Director: Prof. Emeritus Dato’ Dr Ibrahim Komoo, a leading scholar in the field of Earth Science specialised in Engineering Geology, Conservation Geology and Sustainability Science.

Interdependence Between Economic Growth and Environmental Protection

YTL Cement is one of the growing number of companies in Malaysia that have demonstrated a strong commitment to promoting sustainability and environmental conservation. Their focus on personnel development, research, and sustainable construction practices, aligns with the overall goal of achieving progress in sustainability movements.

Sustainable development aims to meet the needs of the present generation while preserving the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It recognises the interdependence between economic growth, social well-being, and environmental protection – that economic, social, and environmental considerations are interconnected and must be balanced to achieve long-term well-being.

The earth has enough resources to meet our present and future needs for development if we use them economically. However, achieving this ‘balance’ requires collective action from governments, NGOs, private sector, and individuals – all having a role to play in promoting sustainable practices that safeguard the environment and ensure a prosperous future for everyone.

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