From trash to treasure, Mowgli Kovin Siva is resculpturing the natural environment of Malaysia, one trash at a time.
While sustainable living has been the talk of the community, Kovin has walked the talk, or more so, hiked the talk.
Meet Mowgli Kovin Siva, the founder of Glimpse of Malaysia, who has translated his passion for hiking into an infectious chain to promote a greener-lifestyle in the Malaysian community. Organizing Global Cleanups every 3rd Saturday of each month, Kovin has built a community of like-minded people, transforming the entire landscape of mother nature.
In conjunction with National Day, Sevenpie has had the privilege to interview 23-year-old avid hiker Mowgli Kovin Siva, who will not only impress you with his aesthetic Instagram feed but will have you on your feet, literally, to start living a sustainable lifestyle.
Catch a glimpse of a cleaner and greener Malaysia with this exclusive Sevenpie Featured Interview, as Kovin shares his passion for Malaysia’s natural treasures together with his team of #GlimpseWarriors.
1. Hello, Kovin! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself and your initiative, Glimpse of Malaysia!
Hi, Sevenpie! Thank you for having me! My name is Kovin and I’m 23 years old this year. I graduated in 2017 as a Geologist from Curtin University Malaysia. After graduating, I took a gap year to travel both inside and outside of Malaysia.
I started Glimpse of Malaysia with the purpose of sharing the beauty of Malaysia with our fellow Malaysians through social media. It was during this time that I had also been hiking frequently and exploring off-beaten routes around Malaysia. I decided to create a WhatsApp group and added as many people I know and invited them for hikes. Sometimes, there were as many as 20 people that came! I will also head solo when everyone was busy.
In months, the hiking group got much bigger. In our hiking trips, we’ve always realised that there was trash in almost every spot that we visited. Being the ambitious youths as we are, we’ve decided to take matters into our own hands to create a bigger impact on mother nature. This was how the idea of “Glimpse of Malaysia” as a non-profit was formed.
2. To date, you’ve organized four Global Clean-Ups, with over 153 volunteers participating in the initiative! Can you share with us how did Glimpse of Malaysia first started? What inspired you to begin this initiative?
We’ve started the global cleanups with a purpose to spread awareness and to make sure that trash is removed from public locations. Through the global cleanups, we do not only send trash straight to the landfill, but we also aim to recycle as much as we can, including upcycling the plastics. I would say that organizing Global Clean-Ups have been a great way and opportunity to educate the public on current environmental issues and sharing useful tips to the public that they could apply to their lifestyle to reduce waste.
I am really happy to share that Glimpse of Malaysia have in total of 468 participants thus far, with four Global Clean Ups and have collected a total of 3110 kg of trash.
3. What has been your proudest achievement since starting Glimpse of Malaysia?
Personally, for me, it would be meeting and bringing people from different backgrounds and ethnicities together to make a change. I am really grateful to have met my committee members as well as all the volunteers who have sacrificed so much for the purpose of creating a better environment for our future.
4. We’ve seen tremendous growth of #GlimpseWarriors from when Glimpse of Malaysia first began! How do you keep your hiking community close together? Would you say that more and more Malaysians are starting to appreciate hikes, and join beach clean-up initiatives?
There definitely has been an overwhelming support. The growth has been incredible. We’re able to provide opportunities for the public and our volunteers to explore more places around Malaysia. We’ve even visited nearby beaches which we did not know even existed!
5. What are some of the struggles you’ve faced as the founder of Glimpse of Malaysia?
One of the struggles that we face would be funding. Glimpse of Malaysia is a non-governmental organization formed by youths: most of us are still either studying or working. As a committee member, we often had to sacrifice time and money out of our own pockets to organize events and to make the vision of Glimpse of Malaysia a reality.
It hadn’t been easy to find people who wouldn’t mind sacrificing for Glimpse of Malaysia. I would say that this is one of the major difficulties we’ve faced and are still facing. But, we realized that someone has to do it. If not us, then who?
6. It is no denial that most of us still carry a mindset of not believing that the small things we do can create a huge impact on the environment. What advice would you give to Malaysians to motivate them to start creating change, no matter how small it is?
Changing the mindset of the public definitely is one of Glimpse of Malaysia’s endeavours. In Glimpse of Malaysia, we believe in the power of individuals.
I’ve always believed and stand true that one person can make a huge difference. Doing simple things, such as using a reusable cup, take-away tupperware, or going no straw will make a difference. We’ve always highlighted that it all begins at home. But, before it begins at home, it needs to start from us.
“It is only 1 straw,” said 1000 people. And that, my friends, is when we can see the damage.
7. What do you think are the little changes youths can start to do with their lifestyle to help create a greener, cleaner Earth?
I would say to educate yourself. Meet people who live out a greener lifestyle and you will start to realise that it is cheaper as well. It is so much better to have a big group of people doing it imperfectly, than to have small group doing it perfectly. Start with small changes, such as, in your household and your daily things.
8. Apart from busy organizing hiking trips for Glimpse of Malaysia, what do you do in your free time?
Apart from organizing hiking trips, I like to take aerial and ground photos and videos.
I like the outdoors and hardstyle stay at home. I would either be hiking, going on road trips, or doing some kind of sports, such as football or running.
9. Name us your top 3 essentials when going for hikes!
- Phone for GPS as I venture off-route a lot.
- Water and food, of course!
- First-aid kit, because you never know what happens in the jungle.
10. What is your lifelong motto?
To live a life that has given more than I have received.
11. Share with us your future plans for Glimpse of Malaysia and what future projects can we look forward to.
Moving forward in the future, we would like to embrace a sustainable way of living by building an eco-friendly community in Malaysia.
We are also looking forward to projects with schools and projects that involving the conservation of our treasured natural heritage sites.