China must lead world in emissions cuts
I refer to the article ("China, EU strike deal to cut carbon", September 21).
In many parts of the world, prosperity has come at the fearful cost of destroying the environment. A large amount of greenhouse gases emitted from power stations and factories has intensified global warming. To tackle the problem, the European Union and China have struck a deal to cut greenhouse gases through several projects.
The plan is a crucial step in the right direction. Environmental protection has been a worldwide issue in recent decades. Although many countries are wrestling with the problem, the situation does not seem to be alleviated, and the reason seems to be overemphasised economic development.
Take China as an example. Its rapid industrial development has led to many types of environmental damage. First, a lot of poisonous industrial sewage leached into underground water, which pollutes it. Air pollution comes from the emissions from vehicles, fields and factories, and that damage is even worse.
Economic development is always given the top priority, especially in developing countries because maintaining rapid growth is a key to keeping society stable. However, the cost to the environment is already too high.
Striking a balance is not easy, I know, but doing so is a must. All countries should co-operate and take aggressive measures. When conflicts arise, as mentioned in the article, countries should reach a consensus through peaceful negotiation. But more important, China, the emerging superpower in the world, should take the lead in preserving nature and set an example for other developing countries. Harsher restrictions on carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions should be set up, and enforcement must be strict.
As individuals, we have a lot to do. We can use environmentally friendly products such as solar water heaters and solar energy calculators. We must remember to turn off electrical appliances that are not in use. We can walk if the travelling distance is short. These steps might sound too simple, but they can make a huge difference. Conserving energy is everyone's responsibility so that the next generation can enjoy the beauty of nature.
Heidi Chau Hoi-yi, Tsuen Wan
Too much protesting will train deaf ears
There is no doubt that Hong Kong is a city with a high degree of freedom and rights, especially freedom of speech. Hongkongers have the freedom to take to the streets to voice their dissatisfaction with any policy measure. However, in recent years protesting has become the usual way for citizens to express their grievances.
Hongkongers have protested too much. A policeman was killed by slipping and falling off the roof of a pedestrian walkway while trying to negotiate with a protester. It is a pity the police officer died in the demonstration, but this does not mean that protesting is a wrong way to voice discontentment. Even so, if demonstrations are radical, social harmony and stability will be affected.
Some may argue that the reason protesters act in such an extreme way is that the government seldom listens to them. Perhaps the first time protesters are rash in their actions, the government will raise their awareness towards the problem. But if radical demonstrations continue, government officials will get used to it.
So, if every time the government adopts a measure and people take to the streets to express their disagreement, the government will adapt and eventually turn a deaf ear to the disapproval. Hence, the more rational way to express opposition is not by shouting loudly, but by protesting in a suitable and peaceful way.
Veronica Leung Sze-kan, Tze Wan Shan
Does anyone teach religious tolerance?
I refer to the letter from Ranjit Bhawnani ("All religions teach respect for others", September 28).
In fact, all religions teach that theirs is the one true religion and all others are false and worship "false gods".
Most sane people, be they believers in religion or not, abhor violence, but they are not the ones doing the teaching. Those who do supposedly guide their flocks, consisting of paedophiles, perverts, hatemongers, murderers and thieves.
The history of religion, even among groups professing allegiance to the same God, is one of violence and hatred of people who do not believe as they do.
Major religions, such as Christianity and Islam, have spread through the use of violence and military conquest. Muslims, at this stage in history, seem to be particularly aggressive in committing violent acts worldwide. Imams are pronouncing fatwas and promoting jihad. They may feel it is in response to threats to their religion, real or imagined, but it would seem that nowhere is tolerance taught.
I have no doubt that if published, this letter will be met with hysterical outbursts from religious groups.
Michael Jenkins, Central
Ivory market an example of inhumanity
Badges of wealth vary widely, from jewels to Rolex watches. In recent decades, however, there has come another one - ivory - which is regarded as both a symbol of status and a substance from which religious icons are made.
As a result, however, African elephants have been the victims of this outrageous trend.
For the sake of satisfying the limitless hunger of ivory collectors, especially the rich in China, at least 25,000 elephants are killed every year. Picture the scene. Smell the death. It's cruel and inhumane.
In 1997, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was quoted as saying elephants must pay for their room and board with their ivory. That is totally ridiculous. We, humans, share the natural world with other living things, and we all have the right to live on this lovely earth. But people have the responsibility to protect it, and Dr Jane Goodall, a primatologist who has devoted all her energy to saving endangered species, was quoted as saying: "If we are the most intellectual creature that has ever walked on the planet, how come we are destroying that planet?"
The supply of ivory is no longer sustainable. It is time for us to rectify our mistakes before an irreversible disaster occurs. Please stop killing elephants!
As a Form Three student, I cannot do anything to help with this situation except to plead with countries worldwide to stop devastating a species that is already losing ground. Before they become extinct, let's save them, and our planet as well.
Celia Ho, Wong Tai Sin
The one thing we don't need: more buildings
Jake van der Kamp's view ("Can anyone get through to Carrie Lam?" September 25) is right on the money.
What he describes about Hong Kong housing is absolutely true and a travesty. I have lived in six flats over the 14 years I've been in Hong Kong, often moving because landlords want more rent money. It's simply greed, vanity and a gross sense of entitlement. "I want X dollars for my flat; pay it or get out. I don't care if the flat's empty." Some whole buildings of flats stand empty for years. And Lam insists more housing is needed?
As Jake points out, a land development tax is a great idea that will probably never happen. There is an obscene amount of money to be made by the already rich in unnecessary building, building, building. This evil must be stopped before society as a whole becomes as empty as its flats.
B. Dietrich, Sha Tin