MYROLE RTM1- Featured GrASS on 25 Jan 2011, 330pm

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Dear Friends,

We here at GrASS need your help to help us gather the below mentioned items to help us raise funds for our shelter and other independent pet rescuers.

The items are:

Scrap Paper
Old Newspapers
Old Magazines
Unwanted uncooked/raw Acidic Fruits ( Oranges, pineapples, lime,lemons)
Unwanted uncooked/raw fruits
Unwanted uncooked/raw Vegetables
Brown Sugar
Rice Bran
Red Earth
Glass Jars/Plastic containers with lids
Cardboard boxes (any other cardboard materials)
Aluminium Cans
Expired Food Products

For more ways on how or what items you can donate to help please visit HERE

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Article: Wetlands’ guardian

Tuesday July 7, 2009


A conservationist works tirelessly to protect Malaysia's wetlands.

FAIZAL Parish was visibly upbeat at a recent interview. He had just returned from the United States. No, he wasn't rejuvenated from a holiday trip but by the positive outcome at the 35th Council meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Washington DC.

He explained the significance of a key decision of the meeting – the observer status granted to civil society organisations in the high-powered GEF council. (The GEF, through funding from developed nations, funds the implementation of six major multilateral environmental agreements.)

Representing the GEF-NGO Network, Faizal said after many years of lobbying for the reform of the GEF, the small breakthrough was an important step towards better civil society participation in influencing the policies and programme direction.

"From the start, meetings and decisions were dominated by developed countries as they are the donors. Recipients in developing countries, especially civil societies, do not have a voice in GEF.

Committed: Faizal Parish, director of Global Environment Centre, has been promoting preservation of mangrove and peat swamp forests in Malaysia for over a quarter of a century.

"Furthermore, GEF was plunged into financial difficulties in the last seven years as funds ran out largely due to the anti-environment Bush administration that refused to pay its 20% contribution. But the United States has shown a renewed interest in GEF," explained Faizal, the director of Global Environment Centre (GEC) based in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

From being a regional focal point representing South-East Asia in the GEF process two years ago, GEC was recently appointed the central focal point tasked with the co-ordination of 15 regional bodies.

Parish is known for his work in wetlands issues, ranging from mangrove forests that are stopover sites for migratory birds to the South-East Asia haze that resulted from peat fires.

Hailing from Brighton, south of England, the 48-year-old recalled leading a student expedition to Western Australia in 1981 to document the wintering migratory birds from north and central Asia. Upon graduation in 1982, Parish came to Malaysia as he suspected that the Malaysian west coast is an important stopover for migratory shorebirds.

"Together with some Australian colleagues, we convinced Universiti Malaya and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks into allowing us to survey these shorelines which led to my staying in Malaysia," he shared.

Parish and friends went on to establish Interwader that employed light aircraft that flew low (45m), enabling them to count and identify bird species. They ringed and dyed the birds' bellies and later spotted these birds in Western Australia. The findings shattered the ornithology world's long-held belief that the migratory path was the western rim of the Pacific Ocean. Thus began Parish's involvement in highlighting the importance of wetlands as crucial stopover sites for millions of migratory shorebirds, and the subsequent birth of the Asia Wetland Bureau (AWB).

From 1986 to 1996, AWB expanded to eight countries and, later, merged with International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau, as well as Wetlands for America to become Wetlands International.

In 1987, Parish married Sharifah Muhammad; the couple is blessed with a son, 15, and a daughter, 10.

Parish left Wetlands International in 1998 and, realising the complexities of environmental protection, he set up GEC.

"In the last few years in AWB, we were wondering if we could protect wetlands alone. We tried to link wetlands with emerging international conventions on biodiversity and climate change," he recalled.

In the last decade, GEC has lobbied tirelessly for Asean to recognise the transboundary effects of haze and the bigger issue of peat swamp destruction.

While the issue has gained profile in the regional political stage, Parish is disappointed that these achievements have not been translated into real actions, as can be seen from the continuous desecration of peat land.

"In the quarter century that I've spent in this country, I would say that we've made some progress but there are some steps backwards, too. Many environmental indicators – quality of rivers and our drinking water, forests and wetlands – are worse now. In 1985, the Malaysian Wetland Directory identified 100 sites of wetlands of international importance. But all these sites are showing significant degradation," he pointed out.

But that didn't stop him from his quest to discover more about wetlands. He said Malaysia and Indonesia form the epicentre of coastal mangroves in the world, boasting up to 70% of known mangrove tree species, compared to just four species in the United States and only one in the Arabic Gulf.

"We are very poor in protecting this rich biodiversity. Same goes for peat swamp. Almost all peat swamp forests have been logged," he said.

Parish was delighted when the Selangor state government recently stopped the encroachment into one of its largest peat swamp forests. GEC now provides technical assistance to the state to restore the degraded swamp which forms part of the North Selangor Peat Swamp Forest, a vital water source for the Tanjung Karang granary.

He was equally pleased when his organisation managed to mobilise 3,000 volunteers over the last six months to replant 60ha of the Raja Musa Forest Reserve.

"The public response was so overwhelming and it has been a very rewarding experience for us at GEC. It is relatively simple to solve the problem. We could have done it earlier to stop all the unnecessary fires and haze. But it's better late than never," he quipped.

This article was taken from: The Star Online: Go Green Live Green 7 July 2009

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