I attended the environmental conference on behalf of the Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) along with Jasmin and Aaliyah (Figure 1) hosted by the Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP) also known as the Retirement Fund (Incorporated) from July 17th – 18th, 2018 at the Grand Hyatt, Kuala Lumpur.

Figure 1. Members of MYD. From the right side; Aaliyah, Jasmin and I

The theme of the conference is Igniting Action for a Better Tomorrow. KWAP intends to inspire Malaysia’s corporations to adopt Environmental, Social and governance (ESG) practices in their businesses. The conference brought together environmental and investment experts and leaders from all over the world to discuss the current and future trends also the issues critical to sustainable investment.

“Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t accomplish your dreams.” said Robert Swan.

My favourite part of the conference was the speech by Robert Swan. Robert Swan is one of the history’s best explorers (Figure 2). To travel to the south and north poles was his dream since he was small. He worked his tail off to find sponsors for him to travel to the south and north poles but no one responded. He ended up working as a taxi driver in the London town to support his journey to the poles.

I find his story was very inspiring. More young people should know and read about his struggles. This is to boost up their energy to achieve their dreams and to never give up. “Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t accomplish your dreams.” said Robert.

Figure 2. A selfie of Robert Swan with the MYD members

Robert Swan had witnessed the impacts of climate change directly during his journey. He noticed there was a change in his eye colour and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reported the Antarctic was struck by a large hole in the ozone layer while he was there. He was exposed directly to ultraviolet radiations in his journey. “A survivor is a person that looks at a threat and do something about it.” said Robert.

He also observed the Arctic ice melted four months earlier before the melting season (summer). This shows the global warming is real and the earth is heating up faster than the usual time. We have always seen and read about the sea levels are rising and the ice poles are melting in the news but never have we experienced the direct impact of climate change. Climate change is real.

Listening to Robert’s story made me realised that people should deal with climate change issues seriously because we cannot turn back time once our whole land is sank in the sea water.

Written by Syahirah Aron