In Memory of an Environmental Warrior

إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ

‘Verily we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return’

– Al-Baqarah 2:156 – 

News spread through Facebook of the recent passing of Allahyarham Haji Ayman Ahwal – A “chilli padi” environmentalist with a humble and kind heart. One of his many achievements has been the Uprivers Project in Aceh, which under the auspices of the Islamic Foundation of Ecological and Environmental Sciences was to encourage reforestation in Aceh, a region recuperating from not just years of conflict, but also one of the major natural disasters in recent history.

I had the esteemed pleasure of meeting the man himself during the 6th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in Kuala Lumpur last year. After participating on the Going Green panel of the WIEF Young Leaders Forum (as a speaker) and answering the varied questions and exchanging contacts details with folks who were actually interested in what I had to say, I slowly made my way down to the designated lunch venue. Lunch proceedings had already started with some welcome remarks by a distinguished member of  WIEF. My dad had saved me a seat and I tried to discreetly make my way to the table.

Aside from smiles and nods from around the table, I was greeted with an exchange of words between a couple of men – one working for an oil palm company and the other being the “chilli padi” environmentalist 🙂 . It was indeed amusing and inspiring at the same time to see Haji Ayman’s passion when discussing ethical issues related to deforestation and the transboundary haze is Southeast Asia. The conversation went deeper as he delved into issues of ethics and overall consumption and development. I couldn’t help but think to myself “Man, this guy has as much energy and gusto as a college student from Greenpeace!” It was a “happening” lunch table to say the least. Way more fun that the ongoing keynote speech that stood in the way of our lunch.

When the heated discussion finally simmered down 15 minutes later, Haji Ayman looked at me and said “Oh, Hello! That was a great presentation that you delivered just now”. And there the small talk began 🙂

I certainly cannot do justice in describing the immense knowledge, experience, love and passion that Haji Ayman had for the environment. I can only leave you with a sample of his ideals in this video clip, courtesy of the Radical Middle Way.

The world needs more Ayman Ahwals. A LOT more. God Bless his Soul.


Endgame for Climate Change Negotiations?

WHAT SAY YOU? This comic was sketched by the very talented PK :) … [Read More...]

I love them Veggies

I'm sure many will agree that today's downpour on our concrete island brought out the "lazy bum syndrome" in us. So lazy that you just … [Read More...]

Selamat Ulang Tahun ke-20, Junoon!

Three things need to be shared worldwide: clean and green living, good soulful music and lots of love. While much of the work on this blog … [Read More...]

Intellectual Indulgence

Can I just say that I'm not really a fan of e-books? And while I appreciate the invention of e-journals and PDFs for making my professional … [Read More...]

To be a Canossian Star.

I was invited to be the Guest of Honour at the 2012 Canossian Awards. This ceremony is an annual event organised by my alma mater - St … [Read More...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: