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Save your country, save yourself

Global warming poses a threat locally and across the world. As weather patterns change, many people in Cambodia are worried about the cause and are working to find solutions (check out some bright ideas on page 8 and 9). We asked a number of environmental experts to offer some suggestions for how we can protect the environment.

San Vibol, a lecturer on environmental issues at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), suggested that to save the environment and keep it clean, we first have to educate people about the advantages and practical approaches to adopting a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Once people have been educated, they can begin to adjust their behaviour.

Eventually people will curb actions that harm the environment. He added that other countries such as South Korea have successfully educated their citizens about how to protect and keep their environment clean – to such an extent that even children there would never toss rubbish on the ground in public places.

“Recently, I [completed] a project for UNDP related to saving the environment in Kampong Chhnang province,” said San Vibol. “This province is considered an essential place for supplying firewood and coal, so I am doing research about the influence of cutting forests and the demand of people living there,” he said. “I have educated people there about which is more beneficial; cutting forests or planting trees.”

San Vibol added that people will participate in saving the environment as long as they have the proper knowledge, and if the government makes a strong commitment to encourage preservation of the environment.

“I want our country to reduce the increasing number of vehicles, replacing them by walking and riding bikes or catching a bus,” (See our green cool things on page 11) said San Vibol.

Vorn Vichheka, a research manager for GERES, an organisation that is working to enhance the sustainability of the Kingdom’s forests, got a two-year scholarship to study natural management in Thailand.

She said that in order to resolve today’s environmental problems, all of us have to participate in reducing pollution such as smoke coming from factories and rubbish from our homes.

Korn Ratha, a fourth-year student in the department of environmental studies at RUPP, suggests that to reduce global warming and make the environment greener, we first have to participate in reducing greenhouse gasses (Have a look at the green technologies story on page 3). Second, we need to slow down the growth of our population because as it increases, so does demand for resources. For instance, more farm land will be needed for families to support themselves. The more humans there are, the more Carbon dioxide (CO2) gets emitted into the atmosphere. Methane (CH4), another green house gas, will also increase since it is originates from decaying things such as garbage dumps and human waste.

Kong Sopheak, a third-year student in the department of environmental studies at RUPP, said that all people should participate in helping the environment through recycling and reducing use of plastic materials and electrical power, which have a heavy impact on the environment. “Everyone has to join in saving our environment because we cannot do it alone.”

Chan Sopheak, also a lecturer on environmental issues at RUPP, suggested that in order to prevent climate change, we have to tell people about the reasons that it exists and let them know that the environment is a serious issue. Then we can find solutions together!

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