Bringing the forest to the people

Friends of Kota Damansara (FOKD) vice-president Jeffrey Phang said the upcoming Mega Earth Day will be more inclusive of all members of the community, to truly make the Kota Damansara community forest park a ‘forest for all’.

“We have been celebrating The Earth Day for (the past) five years. It’s all started with a few people but later many from the middle class have shown interest and participated,”

“I think we have built enough momentum to now address the other communities such as residents of flats and other critical mass to come in,” he said

This expansion marked a significant importance for the FOKD, as their long battle to preserve the forest has now resulted in what might be a ‘community forest’

“It’s an ecological platform for nation-building and hopefully, will embrace the new generation of caring society,” Phang said.

The park situates is just five minutes away from Kota Damansara town. It has been the area’s best-kept secret, with few knowing of its existence.

However, the journey to regazette the green lung in PJ wasn’t smooth at all. The forest was at the brink of commercialisation when the previous state government nodded to a development plan eight years ago.

“It all started when some bungalow residents found the green lung behind them was being destroyed. They protested and asked Malaysia Nature Society to prevent the act,”

“The then-president showed great interest in helping us. He was able to obtain a RM2000 grant for us from Global Environment Facility (GEF) to protect it. However after the grant finished, it became a tough fight.”

He said many residents think the cost to protect the land from the authority would be a lost cause.

“Although we might not have the voice to decide, we have voice as voters. Thus in the last general election, we interviewed everyone of the candidates. We asked them whether they can promise to help us in this issue, and asked them to undertake a pledge,”

“In the end we chose the two which agreed to sign the pledge,” the UTAR professor smiled.

Their endeavors finally paid off when Selangor state exco Elizabeth Wong announced the regazetting of the country’s oldest forest reserve last month.

Thus, Mega Earth Day will celebrate the double joy of Earth Day and the regazettement.

The two-day event will include, among other things, a special movie screening, night hike, as well as a concert featuring Zainal Abidin and many others.

Don’t miss the chance to be a friend of the forest!

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