Climate change and ethics

A revisit of 2015 reveals some of the most appealing and appalling climate change stories that were grabbing the global media headlines. It is no great exaggeration to say that climate change is real and deserves serious attention.

Beginning with an optimistic note, 2015 indeed ended with a bang, as a climate deal of 195 nations was sealed in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December at the COP 21 in Paris. This deal was touted symbolic and hailed as the world’s greatest diplomatic success.

Also in 2015, two of the world’s biggest carbon emitters, China and the United States, have committed themselves to the decarbonisation of their economies over the course of this century. While China will be introducing market-based emission trading scheme (ETS) nationally by 2017, President Barack Obama’s launch of the Clean Power Plan is closer to a performance standards system backed by hundreds of big businesses, including eBay, Nestlé, Unilever, L’Oréal and Levi Strauss.

Even Pope Francis had stepped out to make an ethical case for action on climate change in his encyclical, Loudata Si: On Care for our Common Home, that was released in June last year. He strongly emphasised on the “the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems”.

On the flipside, last year also highlights some of the most shocking corporate scandals relating to climate disaster in the history of mankind.

In September, a new investigation by Pulitzer prize-winning website Inside Climate News has shed unwanted light on ExxonMobil — the world’s fourth largest oil company was aware of the environmental effects of burning fossil fuels as early as the mid-1980s.

The corporation, however, had chosen to systematically spearhead and fund campaigns on the faux to climate change instead of alerting the public. Under its leadership in Global Climate Coalition, this group of fossil fuel corporations successfully lobbied the United States government against the rectification of the international agreement Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse gas emissions in 1997.

In the same month, German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) was embroiled in “diesel dupe” scandal. VW admitted to installing emissions test cheating software in up to 11 million of its diesel cars. VW’s defective vehicles could be responsible for nearly a million tonnes of air pollution every year, equivalent to all of the United Kingdom’s nitrogen oxide emissions from power stations, vehicles, industry and agriculture.

Closer to home, raging blazes caused by slash-and-burn peatland and forest clearance in Indonesia has left the region shrouded by reeking smog and haze. This annual recurrence of fires and blame game is a result of nothing but a “collective negligence” of companies, smallholders and government. A World Bank report estimated that the cost of forest fires to the Indonesian economy last year is around US$16 billion (RM68.8 billion), equivalent to 1.9 per cent of its predicted gross domestic product.

That being said, corporate ethics are now being called into question around the world.

Earth has entered into a new geological epoch. Evidence from a new study provides one of the strongest cases that the arrival of the “Anthropocene” — one defined by humanity’s imprint on the planet — would mark the end of the Holocene, which began around 12,000 years ago.

This certainly brings back the discourse of ethics associated with capitalism by Adam Smith, which has interestingly enough relevance for individual conduct of the bourgeois commercial order in contemporary economic liberalism. The notion “invisible hands” coined by Smith in Wealth of the Nation in 1776 asserted that powerful forces of self-interest will guide resources to their most efficient uses.

In general, both business theory and practices enshrined in economics often neglect the relations between organisation objectives and its broader societal obligations.

Smith’s complex discussion, as such, is reduced to a plea for free trade economies. Partly, this narrative is used to justify an egocentric attitude and a market viewed in the absence of ethical reflection. In contrast, far from that, his earlier work on Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759 indicates that civic role cannot be separated from the economic endeavour and implies responsibilities in the business sphere.

Now, this has profound implications in economics and in applied ethics. Climate change actions can be prompted, only with an increasing convergence around a sense of connectedness and responsibility in solving societal challenges.

This begs the question: How various stakeholders are internalising their negative externalities as an integral part of their corporate culture and management system?

The pertinent issue here is to invent a new model that connects corporate and societal value creation. Externalities cost can no longer be viewed in isolation from financial performance.

The reason for this is straightforward: climate change will impact the key drivers of corporate value: revenues, costs and risk. Not only are the effects of negative externalities of climate change are becoming impossible to ignore, the public awareness and understanding of corporate externalities have also grown tremendously.

For the people who embrace change, “the test of a first-rate intelligence”, as Scott Fitzegerald stupendously wrote, is “the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function”.

Although last year has offered us both sense of hope and hopelessness, it is true grit that will turn hopelessness into otherwise for this year and beyond.

The writer is an analyst with the technology, innovation, environment and sustainability division at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia

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The “Popcorn”

This is Yungang Cave, 1500 years old.


A place with 51000 Buddha statues and statuettes.


A 6-hour train journey from Beijing to Shanxi province…


Damn the 2 full bags of POPCORN in Datong, we missed our train back to Beijing and ended up seating in front of the toilet. 🙂


A place, where the friendly local delicacy is rabbit’s head has brought thousand smiles to our faces…










On the other note, chapter two has unfolded…

Thank you for everything. *love*



Carpe Diem!

What’s on your Bucket List?

Dated 5th November 2006

1) Learn, pass and excel in German
2) Get at least 85 pointers for AUSMAT
3) Fly to Germany
4) Study Environmental Enginnering
5) Travel around Europe
6) Save money for my family to visit me
7) Study in Western Germany
8.) Work for UNESCO
9) Meet Nelson Mandela
10) Win the Noble Peace Prize just like Dr Muhammad Yunus
11) See Bush assassinated, murdered in a horrendous and appaling way
12) Adopt a Child
13) Work as a volunteer for the Third World Countries
14) Work for Green Peace
15) Mend the Ozon hole
16) Teach Malaysian to be more courteous
17) Be an environmental and world peace advocate
18) Fight for poverty and hunger
19) Fight for gender equality and racial discrimination
20) Form Kwa Foundation like Bill Gates

Updated 28th February 2008

1) Embark on a Hugathon. (HUG ME, IT’S FREE!)
2) See the Northern Light
3) Go work and volunteer in Africa
4) Engage in WWF and Green Peace

Updated 31st  December 2010

Smile more
Catch the Northern Light
Volunteer more
Learning by Doing
Give more
Learn Spanish
Get a Tattoo
Save more forest and orang-utans
Never say never
See more
Be the citizen of the World
Bungee Jumping
Sky Diving
Conquer Mount Kinabalu
Love more
Savour Balut egg
Learn Sign Language
Hug more
Meet Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela
Let’s zorb
Listen more, talk less
Get a Mandela Bangle
More Free Hug Campaign
Work with engineers without Borders
Care more
Be more engaged in Greenpeace and WWF

Top Travel List

Tibet, Nepal and Northern India
Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar
East Malaysia, Indonesia
New Zealand, Australia
South America

Updated 21st May 2011

Embark the journey of Santiago de Compostela
Be thankful
Smile always
Go on a blind date!
Play better Guitar
Go on a road trip and hitch hiking
Try magic mushrooms
Go backpacking
Watch Radiohead, Kings of Leon, Coldplay Live!
Random travels with no itinerary planned at all
Go swimming with dolphins
Dance like no one is watching (out of Rhythm)
Live in a different country for at least 6 months
Knit a scarf for my Mom!
Get Braces!
Build a treehouse
Witness a solar eclipse
Get a Vespa
Go stargazing
Plant my own tree and watch it grow
Learn Spanish and possibly Esperanto
Get bald/dreadlocks! 😀
Run a 42-km marathon
Experience Water rafting, Kayaking, Sailing, Scuba diving, Snorkeling
Get a driving and diving license 😛
Play Rugby
Go skiing
Get another Tattoo
Connect with teachers and friends from past schools and let them know how they have shaped my life
Be a mentor
Bungee jump, Skydiving, Parachuting, Paragliding, Ice climbing
Climb another mountain
Give a heartfelt surprise to someone
Enjoy and practice Yoga and Meditation
Make a difference in someone’s life
Visit Everest Base Camp
Perform a kind deed to at least 5 strangers without expecting anything in return
Write a book(blog)
Sing my favorite song to an audience
Experience a sunset and sunrise
Own a dog
Whip up the best meal ever for my loved ones
See the Machu Picchu, Sea Salt, The Great Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza, Taj Mahal, Great Barrier Reef, Cape of Good Hope, Hagia Sophia
Gain enlightenment
Bake a cake for someone special
Go deep into the heart of Mother Nature.
Go trekking in a rainforest
Camp out in the wilds
Visit a waterfall
Swim in an ocean
Love spring, summer, autumn, winter = Love Life
Read a book on a subject I’d never have thought of reading (Linux rocks!)
Fly a kite
Fall asleep on grassy plains
Try veganism
Go snorkeling and experience marine life up close
Go on a meditation retreat
Start a social movement
Watch cherry blossoms in Japan
Donate blood anually
Play Paintball
Be a Mother
Get closure on all my hurt, grievances and unhappiness of the past
Bury the hatchet with all the enemies
Sign a donar plegde
Organize more picnic outing
Visit a volcano
Fly in a helicopter
Tell my parents that I love them
Go on a cruise in the sea
Fall in love
Be in love!
Live in a rustic hut
Change the world 😀
Help someone in need

I might not be able to cross out the whole list, oh well who knows!

Bona Fides!

White Feather

I found it! It’s a sign!

Never stop believing.

I cut myself, got disheartened and am clinging to the edge of hope but I know along the way, they are feeding my soul and building me into the person I’m for today, tomorrow and eternally!

the noblest thing a human being can experience is acceptance of the mystery

The Warrior of Light sometimes behaves like water, flowing around the obstacles he encounters.

Occasionally, resisiting might mean being destroyed, and so he adapts to the circumstances. He accepts without complaint that the stones along the path hinder his way across the mountains.

Therein lies the strength of water: it cannot be shattered by a hammer or wounded by a knife. The strongest sword in the world cannot scar its surface.

The waters of a river adapt themselves to whatever route proves possible, but the river never forgets its one objective: the sea.
SO fragile at its source, it gradually gathers the strength of the other rivers it encounters.

And, after a certain point, its power is absolute.

Paulo Coelho

PS:  Tada! They are here! 😀 Joy of the Day despite of the many uncertainties and confusions I had to face today. And the good news is I have 3 books to giveaway!


The Killers – Mr. Brightside (Jacques lu Cont’s Thin White Duke mix) from loutsos on Vimeo.


We were seedling today! Got up early for breakfast, had Idlis and Vada plus coconut chutney and dhal. You’d have guessed correctly, this amazingly simple and delicious kick start of the day costs only 10 rupees and not forgetting with an aromatic cup of Masala Chai for 5 rupee. You can do the math.
Capsicums, Brinjals, Tomatoes

Dream Green

I’m currently staying in a guestroom of Daniel and Kalayni, a lovely couple and also the farm owner.

It’s situated at little village in Ganeshpuri about 150 km north from the heart of Mumbai. We live directly above a temple, next to an Ashram and also this area is famous for its hot spring. I love the monsoon, the yogis chanting day and night and chirpings of the birds and insects and also the warm and friendly smile from the locals.

It’s wet and yet cooling, it’s simple but yet wholesome.


I love the nippy sunny summer morning air.

It’s the best feeling on our mother earth!

The sunrise greets me warmly with a sign of great hope and joy as

I prepare to conquer the day!

Big broad smile it brings me as I’m still tucked in my bed.



I, Michelle Kwa hereby declare that I’m NOT going to buy any diamonds in the future thanks to the movie blood diamond. I’m really glad that I’m exposed to these diamond-trading scenarios which are directly contributing to war and human rights abuses. It’s a really bloody and cursed stone. So many people’s blood and lives are shed just to prove our significance, status and reputation in the society, our GREEDINESS. This luminous thing is undeniably magnificent however to that extent; it’s simply too agonizing and intolerable.

Remember 101 Dalmation? What about Free Willy? Alright, a recent one, Open Season?

What do they have in common?

Not stones, crystals, gold, platinum or rocks we are talking about, but lives, animal lives. Real living creatures like us. We own the same five living processes, growth, reproduction, movement, nutrition and sensitivity. Once we are being able to perform all of these is what makes things living organisms. Of course, we need to sacrifice other living things for survival. That’s why we have food chains and goes on and yada yada yada…

But not to degree of extinction!!!

That’s plain murdering and exploitation.

We are going against the nature and that’s so wrong.

This applies to all sorts of products from food, clothes, and cosmetics to accessories. Ivory, shark fin soup, turtles, lanolin, blubber, fur farming are total brutality. These animals are dying out. They are endangered, hunted, killed and skinned mercilessly.

Most of the time, we’re infuriated as shark fin soup is still served in Chinese wedding dinner although people are educated and aware of these issues nowadays.

When buying stops, killing stops too; it’s just another cliché.

Oh, who cares about that oh-so-umph-celebrity giving oh-so-important-message on oh-so-vanishing- tiger-elephant-sharks-and-so-on? I just want to enjoy my oh-so-bloody-meal which later transforms into an oh-so-aromatic-shit.

Food for Thought

Oh yeah…

Thanks to the earthquake in southern Taiwan, the Internet services are disrupted. I couldn’t feel much of the effects such as bloggers like kinkybluefairy or Lim Kit Siang or whoever because I’m in IPOH now. It feels so good to be home. The homey feeling is unbeatable.

Since New Year is approaching, newspapers have been highlighting the World’s events. Many, as I read through, I can’t help but feel sad and meaningless. I can’t see the whole point of everything, war, terrorism, poverty, disasters, inventions, discoveries and so on. What’s the crux behind the whole thing? Can’t we spell the word P-E-A-C-E? Bloody humans.

Oh yeah…

The crook is death, Saddam Hussien. So, what now? His supporter will place another suicidal boomer in US, Australia, UK? Oh, can’t we learn? What’s the point of learning History?

Sick and tired of hearing all these senseless political issues. Humans are never contented. NEVER. We are a bunch of GREEDY species. No matter how religious and spiritual you may seem. We rationally throw everything that we had learned into waste! We hardly practise what we preach. Talk and talk is what we are best known as.

When we will learn to care more about others and less about us? I’m deeply touched when I watch the Perodua New Year advertisement. It’s 100% true, but what we’re doing now is totally opposite. What we concern about is ourselves, who cares and bothers about OTHER people; sometimes we even abandon our own flesh and blood. That’s how self-centered and selfish our society.

Do something this forthcoming New Year.

Though we can’t help much in financial aspect, we as student can play our role in this society.

Sign a donor card and make your wishes known. Donate your tissue or organ. Some conventional people might give you a big “CHOI-CHOI-TAI-KAH-LAI-SI” or “TOUCH-WOOD TOUCH-WOOD” looks as if you are going to die right after you sign the donor card. Bloody absurd.

Google websites to seek more information on various issues and notify them about your decision instead of goggling which is the best porn websites or friendstering for who’s the best looking chics and hunks. Grow up people. It’s time to act not just sleep.

Sign a petition. Just a click for a change, won’t cause you any loss or harm.

Happy New Year.

Stars and Boulevards

People grow. 18 years of life. I’ve come this far. Have I seen enough? Well, it’s my random thought. Life is just too insignificant. We don’t live to just to exist. We live because we have dreams and goals to achieve. We live because we think we can make a difference. Call me naive and innocent. I don’t live because I have to. I live because I want to. Everything in my life now is just to monotonous. My conscience and scruples are clear.


#1 Learn, pass and excel in German
#2 Get at least 85 pointers for AUSMAT
#3 Fly to Germany
#4 Study Environmental Enginnering
#5 Travel around Europe
#6 Save money for my family to visit me
#7 Study in Western Germany
#8 Work for UNESCO
#9 Meet Nelson Mandela
#10 Win the Noble Peace Prize just like Dr Muhammad Yunus
#11 See Bush assassinated, murdered in a horrendous and appaling way
#12 Adopt a African girl and Burmese boy
#13 Work as a volunteer for the Third World Countries
#14 Work for Green Peace
#15 Mend the Ozon hole
#16 Teach Malaysian to be more courteous
#17 Be a environmental and world peace advocate
#18 Fight for poverty and hunger
#19 Fight for gender equality and racial discrimination
#20 Form Kwa Foundation like Bill Gates


#1 Favouritism
#2 Discrimination
#3 Prejudice
#4 Surplus
#5 Poverty
#6 Diseases
#7 Marginalization
#8 Corruption
#9 War
#10 Suffering

There are just too many for me to list down. But I care. At least these are the things that I concern and dwell on.