On hari raya day while doing the Raya rounds I met a man , a a professor at a local university and the topic somehow steered its way to one of his favourite topics which is animals! I have known this uncle since I was a small child and have heard stories of how he loved animals even when he was a small boy. His father was a veterinary surgeon and he lived on a farm surrounded by nature and he spent his days absorbed in the beauty of nature. He went overseas to study and it is no wonder that he too became a vet. He was now talking about his latest project, a farm! On this farm he had ayam hutan! A thousand of them he said. He also has a pet python and numerous beautiful cats. An ardent believer of conservation , he had planned the ecology of his farm to include trees frequented by certain species of birds and animals. The result is that on his farm you will see creatures from the Malaysian wilds you would never otherwise see. He even released on his farm a local species of bird which is a favourite of the Malays who like to keep them in captivity , the tekukor. Unfortunately the local villagers ( kampung people) caught all the birds he released! Apparently they did not understand his purpose was to let them breed in the environment which he had created to be conducive to the birds. He then went on to tell about how our Malaysian environment was slowly but surely being destroyed and made toxic to little animals and birds. As he talked I could hear the sadness in his face and in his voice and the earnestness with which he spoke! If only I could have captured his words on a video ! The reticent old uncle did not even want me to name him . The old professor for the past 20 years has tried to make one of the local universities a sanctuary for the little animals and birds which were slowly being displaced with the destruction of the mangroves forests and the jungles , even the forest reserves to make way for plantations and estates growing cash crops . It would not have caused so much harm if these big corporate companies which will remain unnamed had employed eco-friendly techniques and mimimised the use of insecticides and weedkillers but what would you expect when the main consideration is profit? The professor earnestly said that these people are the worst thieves you can ever imagine because they were stealing from our future generation! They were stealing the beautiful birds and butterflies, the little animals and the myriad plants of which Malaysia is one of the richest places on earth endowed with species that did not grow elsewhere! He reminded his rapt audience of Noah's Ark. Noah he said was a conservationist. He saved the animals and the plants so they would be preserved for future generations. Conservationists and environmentalists are following in the sunnah of Noah! There is great blessing in being one. What I saw as I heard uncle professor talk is that he should be made to speak to our young people as yet untainted by greed of money and full of ideals and make them all into conservationists ! This is what it means to be God's Khalifah , Allah's vicegerent , protecting and conserving the earth, walking gently on this earth, taking of it what one needs but giving it back for the future generations. My fellow Malaysians, wake up to your responsibility and play your part in taking care of our rich legacy of birds butterflies fish and plants!
What he said had made this verse play itself in my mind over and over again and I kind of caught the sad nostalgia of his words as he reminisced about the past and how it was slowly disappearing because of lack of awareness.
Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of that which men’s hands have wrought, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, so that they may return. Quran 30:41
Who and what will save us? I leave it to you to think !