Leaving A Sustainable Legacy?

Leaving A Sustainable Legacy?

Volume 2 Issue 10 News & Resources | October 2009

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad

School of Electrical & Electronic Eng
Universiti Sains Malaysia
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The ability to foresee the future is certainly a clear and solid advantage to many of us, if not all of us. This is because the future does ignite certain fear and worry in us due to the uncertainty that comes with it. Even though we realise that the future is coming and coming very fast, we just cannot make ourselves be prepared enough for the moment. Alas, this is life, and it comes with a certain level of uncertainty.

How can we be sure that we will be around for some time in the future? This is not a difficult riddle to solve. At personal level, we, humans, are mortal. We would not last that long. But, one thing that can live forever is our legacies. If, and only if we choose to do that. We have to decide to leave OUR legacies, and of course those which will be of greatest benefits to others.

From the research point of view, how can we ensure the research work we’re doing, and its inherent beneficial output will be a legacy? What more a sustainable legacy? Legacy and sustainability are two important words. Two well-used terms which rapidly become an acceptable cliché in so many groups and at so many levels. But, this scenario does not warrant an abandonment of the motivating reasons for the terms. Legacy and sustainability: certainly very pertinent and unavoidable.

Things become a legacy because people just cannot imagine life without them, i.e. they have become an accepted necessity in life. Nevertheless, as sudden as its emergence, legacy can also vanishes in a similar fashion. This happens when legacy is confronted with the so called disruptive technology or approach. And, in this nexus, sustainability acquires its unmistakable importance. Feasible legacies are inherently sustainable.

Underwater research and sustainability are inseparable. Because underwater research is to ensure sustainability of our oceans and marine resources, the research scopes and its entire varied dimensions acquire this characteristic. This is a plus to this research field. Sustainable research scopes breed sustainability. Although the major research players in the country are still lacking, this is a temporary hindrance that can be overcome.

The major obstacle in doing this sustainable-related research is the ability for growth. It is very tempting to keep doing what we have been doing successfully, and indeed this is the path of least resistance. But, growth is always about going away from certainty and being brave enough to embrace the uncertain potential. We can certainly agree that on the uncertainty of the future, so we have no option but to be bold and to move forward.

I’ve read somewhere that “If we would not want to be forgotten, we can either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing”. And, if I may add, “Say something worth remembering”. And legacy is all about leaving something for the future generations. We live to give, and from giving that we truly live a life. In doing underwater-related research efforts, we have an abundance of opportunities to fulfill this novel ideals.

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