Long term planningPosted: October 18, 2009
I’ve been bad at updating the blog regularly. There have undoubtedly been many things occuring during the time I was ‘absent’. And though I haven’t been writing or posting anything, I honestly do care about what has been happening.
What’s prompted me to post something today, is this small part in an article I found on The Nut Graph:
There has been no lack of intentions and planning to overcome the problems relating to transportation and infrastructure in Malaysia. As stated in the Ninth Malaysia Plan, “[m]easures will be implemented to improve multimodal public transport, particularly in urban areas, to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution” and “[p]ublic transport facilities and services will be graded and further integrated to encourage a modal shift from private vehicle usage to public transport.”
It should be good news, really, that the Malaysia Plan will include improvements to the current public transport system. What I find disturbing, is the whole focus of improving public transport is to “reduce traffic congestion and air pollution”.
I’m not saying that those aren’t problems. But there needs to be a little bit of perspective here. Traffic congestion and air pollution aren’t the only things that trouble us. There is also this issue of burning too much fossil fuels.
In other words, petrol is not something that doesn’t run out. Despite reassurances that we will be able to find more sources to extract petroleum, there is only so much left for us to find and extract. Petroleum is a finite resource. But we’re using it like as if it’ll last forever.
Reading this part of the article, I can’t help but be reminded of when I was still in secondary school, and we were asked to write essays about issues like this. Things like ‘traffic congestion’ and ‘air pollution’ were almost always found in everyone’s essay. We didn’t know anything more than what we could see in front of us. Almost none of us bothered to think about generations after us, when they would have to live with the residue of our way of living today.
It feels odd, if not disappointing, that our ministers and representatives have visions that go only as far as secondary school students’ visions.
It is not enough for them to only see the problems that we’re facing today, and come up with solutions that fix those problems. We need people to be able to project 10-20 years into the future, see the problems that could exist, and come up with solutions that can be implemented now, so that those problems would not exist 20 years down the road.
We need leaders who can tell us what the impacts on future generations are if we continue living the way we are today. We need urban planners who can create places that not only look nice, but actually function as urban centres that people enjoy being in. We need smarter solutions to problems such as flash floods other than just building massive drain after massive drain.
We need long-term plans.
We need people who can come up with long-term plans.