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YTL Corporation launches Climate Change Week 2008 with premiere of "The 11th Hour"

   
(L-R) Adrian Seet, Lina Teoh, Jacob Yeoh, Tan Sri (Dr.) Francis Yeoh, Deborah Henry at the premiere screening of "The 11th Hour"

Kuala Lumpur, April 30, 2008

 

Many environment conscious people gathered at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) on the 29th April for the premiere screening of ‘The 11th Hour’, hosted by YTL Corporation Berhad.

 

YTL Corporation launched the YTL Climate Change Week 2008 by screening this much talked--about documentary to raise the level of environmental consciousness among Malaysians as well as to inspire them in joining the fight against global warming.

 

Among guests who attended were documentary producer Lina Teoh, actress Joanna Bessey and TV hosts Stephanie Chai and Aishah Sinclair.

 

“While more Malaysians today are environmentally aware, we are still in the early days of our fight against Climate Change. To affect change, we need to not only create awareness and education, but also inspire action,” said Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, Managing Director of YTL Corporation Berhad. In his truly moving speech, Tan Sri Francis also urged fellow Malaysians to exercise love and care for the environment, which God has bestowed us with.

 

"This is an exceptional film for many reasons. While it provides extensive expert opinions on the true impact and consequences of climate change, it also presents actionable solutions that individuals, communities, corporations, and governments can take today, to reduce their impact on the environment,"? said Tan Sri Francis regarding the highly acclaimed documentary.

 

The 11th Hour is a highly inspirational and provoking film which focuses on not only the problems of Climate Change but also gives solutions on how to overcome this raging issue we face in the world today.

 

Produced and narrated by Hollywood actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio, “The 11th Hour” explores how we live and impact Earth’s ecosystems. Offering hope and solutions, experts lay out the scientific truth and what each of us can do as global citizens to change the course mankind is headed for.

 

YTL is sponsoring free public screenings of “The 11th Hour” from April 30 – May 4 at KLPac and this is the only chance that Malaysians will have to catch this documentary.

 

Climate Change Week 2008, runs from April 29 to May 4 and is part of YTL’s long-standing involvement and commitment to environmental protection. Designed to raise the level of environmental consciousness amongst Malaysians, it features a week of exciting programmes and activities for Malaysians.


   
Tan Sri (Dr.) Francis Yeoh at the premiere screening of "The 11th Hour"

Text of speech by Tan Sri (Dr.) Francis Yeoh, CBE

 

WITHOUT GOD WE CANNOT, WITHOUT US GOD WILL NOT

 

Good Evening:

 

·         Your Excellencies 

 

·         Friends and Associates

 

·         Members of the media

 

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

Thank you for joining us tonight for a very special occasion, the Premiere screening of “The 11th Hour” in Malaysia in conjunction with Climate Change Week 2008.

 

One year ago, YTL embarked on the first Climate Change Week to create awareness for this critical issue. At the time, awareness on the issue was relatively low.Then came the landmark UN report in end 2006, which confirmed once and for all, that not only was climate change a direct result of man’s abuse of the environment.   

 

In response, YTL held the first Climate Change Week last year, which included free public screenings of the award-winning climate change documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”, to inform Malaysians about the real and present danger of climate change. While it is heartening to note that one year on, more Malaysians are environmentally aware, we are still in the early days of our fight against Climate Change. This year, to continue awareness and education, YTL has brought this powerful and highly inspirational film, “The 11th Hour” to Malaysian shores for the first time, in order to inspire action amongst Malaysia.

 

This is an exceptional film for many reasons. While it provides extensive expert opinions on the true impact and consequences of climate change, it also presents actionable solutions that individuals, communities, corporations, and governments can take today, to reduce their impact on the environment. 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

Throughout human history, Man has survived and evolved in the face of tremendous challenges. His sole means of survival depended on the one ability that God bestowed onto him over other creatures - the Human Mind.  With his unique ability to think, communicate and build tools, Man lived in harmony with Nature, dependant on it for his food, shelter and survival through the millennia.

 

However, about 150 years ago, a dramatic shift in human thought and culture occurred, causing a great disconnect between Man and Nature, and his previous way of life. The Industrial Age was a golden moment in history, giving birth to many life-changing scientific and technological advances that propelled the world forward into the Modern Era. However, the cost of this great achievement was a permanent rupture between Man and his relationship with Nature. For the first time in 180,000 years of human existence, he imagined himself as an entirely separate entity from Nature.

 

This was the point in human history when things started to go terribly wrong. Nature, once revered as a life source, now became viewed as an endlessly abundant economic resource, existing only to satisfy man’s limitless greed for wealth.

 

 

When you consider the environment degradation that has occurred to date, together with the unparalleled population growth of the last few decades, it is clear that we are now facing something more than just a crisis of the environment.With unchecked economic development causing fast depleting natural resources like water, land and fossil fuels, the real issue at hand has become one of human survival on this planet.

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

We are at a critical moment in human history, where we face a momentous choice. If we continue on our current course, we are, without a doubt, going to suffer under intensifying environmental catastrophes, downturns in living standards caused by interlocking crises of food, water, and energy security; as well as the likelihood of violent conflict, as people fight for their lives and space on this shrinking planet. 

 

With such monumental problems at our doorstep, it is easy to be daunted by what lies ahead. However, to save the human race, we must overcome our cynicism and defeatism that the problem is too big and the solutions costly, as many detractors would have you believe. This year, Climate Change Week focuses on Hope, the unwavering part of the human spirit that makes the impossible, possible. With a clear mind and heart, we can overcome these challenges if we commit ourselves to finding solutions, instead of focusing on the problems.

 

A good starting point for change lies in humankind’s recognition that Nature holds the answers to many of our problems. In the last few years already, a movement has begun, led by leading designers, scientists and engineers, who are in fact studying the recipes of Nature to reinvent the rules of manufacturing and building.

 

Many of us take Nature for granted, not realising the genius behind the simplest of its creations. Consider the production of Kevlar, the strongest material created by man - made from petroleum, a non-renewable fossil fuel, and manufactured at 1400 degrees centigrade using an energy intensive process. Then consider the humble spider, who through an internal digestive process at room temperature, creates a substance that, ounce for ounce, is five times stronger than steel!.  

 

In our move towards redesigning design itself, sustainable architecture is going to play a significant role in addressing climate change, due to its energy and resource efficient approach to development. As part of our responsibility as a major infrastructure conglomerate, YTL recently launch the Bird Island Green Homes Competition, the first green architecture competition of its kind in the world, to promote energy efficient living. Eight leading international names in architecture and environmental engineering competed to build six eco-friendly homes on Bird Island in our Sentul Park, creating a model for sustainable living that people around the world will be able to study and emulate.

 

Apart from looking to Nature as model for sustainable creation, let us be reminded of all the priceless services that Nature performs for us for free.

 

A renowned study estimated that it would cost a whopping USD$33 trillion to replace the goods and services provided for free by Nature, such as crop varieties, to the flood control offered by forests and wetlands. In fact, a single tree has the capacity to absorb 57,000 gallons of water from a small flash flood, preventing flooding, soil erosion, loss of water supply and ocean pollution. As weather related catastrophes increase with climate change, it certainly does not bode well for mankind that half the countries in this world have no remaining forest due to rampant and thoughtless deforestation.

 

Considering how Nature does twice as much for us than all the global economies combined,

it is nothing short of negligence how its value is not factored into the modern economic equation. 

 

Ladies and gentlemen.

 

While we wait for new sustainable technologies to be developed, there are actually many existing, “off the shelf” solutions that can be easily implemented today, dramatically increasing our energy efficiency, while breaking our deadly dependence on fossil fuels.

 

For example:

 

  • Hybrid cars, which are virtually market ready, would quadruple our fuel efficiency

 

  • Solar technology will do wonders in sunny climates, such as Asia, Africa for example, and at a competitive cost with fossil fuels.

 

  • And efficient land management strategies would end today’s tropical deforestation, which now contribute to about one-fifth of all global carbon emissions, as well as massive losses of biodiversity.

 

You are probably asking the obvious question - if these solutions exist, then why haven’t they been implemented already? Simply put, many people in this world, for their own selfish benefits, are actively promoting the notion that sustainable solutions are far too costly to implement. However, the reality is that all the steps towards sustainable energy, according to today’s best engineering and business estimates, can be implemented for less than 1% of the annual world income, according to experts. Therefore, it is quite clear that this is not an issue of capability, but rather one of will.

 

If we look back on history, the greatest social transformations of our age – the end to slavery, the abolishment of apartheid, the end of colonisation, the women’s rights and civil rights movements - all began with public awareness then engagement. Those movements were led by scientists, thinkers, concerned individuals and young people. They led, and governments followed.

 

There is no doubt in my mind that the solution to climate change will come about in that same way, with the environmental movement, comprising ordinary individuals, pushing to ensure the survival of this planet.

 

Our collective voice is a lot more powerful than we think. If we vote for war, governments will go to war. If we vote for sustainable development and policies, then our leaders will follow. It all starts with public will. If you demand for recycling facilities and services, clean air and water, and the choice of using renewable energies instead of fossil fuels, then our elected officials will respond accordingly.

 

I have no doubt that all of you will walk out of here tonight with a new outlook on this climate change issue. If you ask yourself “What can I do to help?”, then you have already made the first step toward affecting change. Each of us has God given talents and abilities that we can channel towards affecting solutions in our own ways.  

 

Our generation is facing one of the greatest challenges of modern times – climate change, and with it chronic food, energy and water security issues, not to mention the mass extinction of species due to human folly. Nevertheless, let us recognise that this same challenge is also the greatest opportunity for our generation. We can be the ones who turn the tide against climate change, and prevent the thoughtless and irreversible extinction of thousands of species, which eventually will include humans as well.

 

I want to end with a thought that

 

“For evil to continue to rule our world, all it takes is for good men to do nothing”

 

I have reminded time and again what Saint Augustine said “Without God we cannot, without us God will not”

 

So let us all raise our own awareness about the state of our world, and work together towards a more sustainable future, our future generation is counting on us to do something! May God bless you in your endeavours in this area.

 

Thank you very much.

 

God bless.

 

Tan Sri Francis Yeoh

Managing Director, YTL Corporation Berhad

Premiere of “The 11th Hour” at Climate Change Week 2008

The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre

29 April 2008




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