Earth’s ‘greenest person’ Matthias Gelber points out simple ways to live sustainably

Milad Hassandarvish

German-born green entrepreneur Matthias Gelber highlights effective eco-friendly lifestyle habits to reduce carbon footprint at WOWComm 2019 conference in Putrajaya. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 6 — Every day we make choices in our lives that affect the climate, the environment, and other species.

While many tend to hold on to what constitutes bad environmental habits, 42-year-old green-living advocate Matthias Gelber chose to be alert of his lifestyle and significantly reduce his carbon footprint over the past two decades. 

He said from every purchase we make, to how households dispose of their waste, there’s a lot people can do to effectively reduce carbon emissions, which has reached an alarming rate globally. 

Being a concerned father-of-two, Gelber said the climate change has made him worried about his children’s future. 

“The planet will self-adjust but it’s the human species and the future generation who are at the highest risk.”

The green entrepreneur, who has been living in Malaysia for the past 10 years, was speaking at the inaugural Workshops of the World Communicate (WOWCoomm) 2019 at the Putrajaya Marriott hotel during a talk titled Let’s Make a Living from Healing the Planet, Rather than from Destroying It. 

To battle the climate change crisis, Gelber said behavioural change and switching to renewable energy is crucial for limiting global warming.

Despite the slow global adaptation of renewable energy alternatives, the German-born entrepreneur noted that Malaysia has had a radical move from coal fire being the preferred solution to renewable energy over the past two years.

“One of the biggest job generators will be in the renewable energy sector in the near future, generating many more jobs than the fossil fuel industry.”

To promote sustainability, Gelber said businesses and manufacturers must adopt an effective method to reduce waste production significantly. 

According to him, if a company produces a lot of waste, it means the production is inefficient. 

He also advised big manufactures to invest in their waste management strategy for higher profitability. 

“Remember, less waste equals more profit.” 

At home, Gelber said there are many different ways to reduce household energy use with simple behavioural adjustments. 

He added that the two major motives for conserving energy is to protect the environment and also save on utility bills.

“One of the very first steps to make is to be mindful of your electricity usage,” he said.

Gelber advised the households to switch off the air conditioning and turn on the fan, create airflow by opening the windows, take a shower without the water heater, keep artificial lights switched off and user natural daylight. 

As a result of his eco-friendly lifestyle, Gelber said he has a monthly electricity bill of less than RM40. 

Matthias Gelber was voted the 'Greenest Person on the Planet' during a 2008 competition conducted by 3rdWhale Canada. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

He asked Malaysians to come together and be the change they want to see in a sustainable world with minimum carbon footprint. 

“Let’s heal the planet by purchasing sustainable products while reducing carbon footprint and waste. 

“Only if we all work together on that, we will achieve what we need to achieve to sustain the future of our next generation.”

Gelber, who is currently serving as director of sustainability at eco-friendly business hub Global Sustainability Exchange, was voted the Greenest Person on the Planet during a 2008 competition conducted by 3rdWhale Canada.

WOWComm 2019 was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, was Malaysia’s and the region’s first-ever conference to promote sustainability and implement zero-waste.

It brought together business icons, captains of the industry, key government officials, industry influencers, media practitioners and enterprises together to discuss the importance of sustainable business practices.

* Malay Mail and Bernama were media partners of the event.

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