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It is fair to say that our lives in Brunei Darussalam today are well shaped and run by energy or conventional energy. The national wealth, for instance, comes mainly from revenue generated by the export of our energy resorces oil and natural gas. Our ability to function everyday stems from utilising energy in various ways. From powering our homes to fueling our cars and cooking our meals, energy is no longer just commodity. It is a necessity. The convenience and comfort that energy brings have encouraged us to embrace an "energy" age.

As we grow more dependent on energy to function in our everyday lives, our vulnerability to energy shortages increases. With the growth in population and industrial activities, energy demand will continue to rise. To meet the rising demand, more oil and natural gas will need to be extracted as these are our only source of energy. Oil and natural gas are exhaustable and will deplete at some point, affecting global supply.

As much as we depend on oil and gas for our energy supply, these carbon-based fuels are also the largest emitters of carbon dioxide- a greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.

Mother nature is unleashing upon us heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and violent weather- all cataclysmic effects of global warming. Even our country, Brunei Darussalam, is not spared. We have been experiencing warmer temperatures, more violent storms and unpredictable weather in recent years.

In general, the transportation sector here consumes the most energy, evident by the increasing number of private vehicles on the road. Brunei Darussalam was the third largest energy consumer per capita in the region, after Singapore and Japan in 2006. Brunei is also one of the countries which consumes the most electricity per capita.

What we do today will affect the needs of our future generations. It is our responsibility and obligation to preserve the energy resources of our grandchildren and their great grandchildren. We also need to safeguard the environment against the effects of global warming. The days where we consume energy passively is over. We must start to make wiser choices in consuming energy and actively educate the younger generation on this issue.

The key is to conserve and consume energy effectively and efficiently. This was even highlighted by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in his "titah" during His Majesty's 61st Birthday on 15 July 2007. His Majesty said, "In the fast flow of development anything new must be acted on with intelligence. Energy issues, specifically oil and gas, are the closest examples. We must realise that these two natural resources will not last forever. A saving attitude in the use of energy is the best way (to move forward) for all public and private agencies and also individuals."

You can start today to help reduce our energy consumption at home for a more sustainable Brunei Darussalam by applying energy efficiency and conservation measures and practices. There are many ways to save energy and with concerted efforts these small changes can make a big difference.

D, Yahya; May 2009. ENERGY MATTERS.

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