Tag Archive for: climate change

The Dangers of Consumeristic Patterns in the Face of a Rising e-Commerce Industry

Written by: Alicia Andie Angkawidjaja, Grants Researcher Intern Project Child Indonesia

With Tokopedia, Shopee, and other e-commerce websites being so easy to use, we all have fallen into the comforts of buying something online so that we can receive it the next day (admit it, you’ve clicked on SiCepat shipping before). As e-commerce users, we must know the effect it will have on our future and our environment!

What are the impacts on climate change and the environment from an e-commerce boom?

Outside of e-commerce, consumers would need to drive to a retail or grocery store to get goods and services. This mode of service is self-service and requires only a single, unique channel for sales and logistics. 

Everything changed when the e-commerce industry began. There is a larger variety of products that consumers can choose from and more importantly, there are multi-channel sales and various options such as home delivery and getting products delivered to a designated collection point. 

Under the traditional system, goods are sent to retail stores in bulk (meaning, many products delivered at once) where consumers get their products. With e-commerce, each retailer is expected to deliver directly to its customers. The order size is one product instead of hundreds or thousands—leading to more packaging, faster delivery, and more mobility in deliveries. There are simply more processes in the logistics of consumerism. 

The result? Vehicle footprint increases, which leads to increased carbon emissions and air pollution, contributing to health problems and climate change. Also, more and more plastic packaging is used as products are delivered individually from seller to buyer, instead of in bulk to grocery stores. Our orders most often come in plastic packaging (especially excess bubble wrap) which will accumulate in our homes, our garbage bins, and eventually waste sites.

So, let’s try to be more mindful of our consumeristic patterns, even as the e-commerce industry rises, and strive to do good for our beloved earth. 

Here are some steps you can take to be more mindful of your consumeristic patterns:

  • Wait a few days, if not weeks, before buying a product. Impulse buying feels satisfying, but we might not end up needing that product anymore in a few months. Plus, we end up adding more waste to our garbage bins the more we impulse-buy. Taking a few days/weeks to carefully think if the product is something we can do to ensure that the purchase has a true purpose.
  • Buy for quality, not for quantity. In most cases, it’s much better to buy something a bit pricier that can last longer rather than something cheaper but will not last long. If you opt for the latter, you end up buying more of the product or something similar—ultimately spending more money and creating more waste.
  • Reuse the packaging your order comes from. Save bubble wrap and other plastic packaging to use next time instead of disposing of them immediately. 
  • Don’t be easily drawn into influencer-promoted products and trends. Who hasn’t been influenced by Instagram influencers? Of course, sponsored influencer posts bring interest in the product. However, we should be careful so that we don’t fall into the trap of repetitive purchases simply based on influencer reviews. Apply the principles mentioned above in this situation!
  • Order less, not more. Try to order fewer things online if you’re able to get those items in the nearest store where you can bring your own reusable bag to checkout. Things that can be easily bought at the nearest grocery store should be avoided from being purchased online. 
  • Set up a recycling system at home. Having one large garbage bin to throw all our waste in is simply not enough. Start with having three different bins for general waste, plastic, and paper. Our plastic and paper waste can be recycled (Note: they must be clean, so wash your plastic food containers before throwing them) easily if they are sorted the right way. Google and find out the nearest recycling factory near you—you might be lucky enough to find someone or a company to regularly pick up your recyclable trash.

References:

Burhan, Oleh Fahmi Ahmad. “Rapor Biru Tiga E-Commerce Besar Selama Pandemi Dan Harbolnas 12.12.” E-Commerce Katadata.co.id, 28 Dec. 2020, katadata.co.id/desysetyowati/digital/5fe976562e246/rapor-biru-tiga-e-commerce-besar-selama-pandemi-dan-harbolnas-1212.

Lim, Stanley Frederick W.T. “The E-Commerce Boom and Its Impact on Climate Change.” Varsity Online, 9 June 2021, www.varsity.co.uk/science/9086. 

Eyes Wider on Extreme Weather

written by Adides Gideon Simanjuntak, Stephanie Ruth Armida, Rafy Ramadhan: Content Writer Interns at Project Child Indonesia

Have you noticed the extreme weather conditions around us lately? Recently, our country has been hit by the Tropical Cyclone Seroja in East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara. It is one of many other natural disasters we have had. Indonesia has had 197 natural disasters between January 1 and January 23, 2021, according to the Indonesian National Board of Disaster Management (BPNB) (Fardah, 2021). This phenomenon also happens in other countries. For example, the Australian wildfires that happened last year which were caused by heat waves. Early in this month, Germany just had late-season snow in April (Washington Post, 2021). What is actually going on and why is it happening? 

Extreme Weather due to Climate Change

Remember about global warming? It’s just getting worse. The increasing greenhouse gas emission (GHG) due to the overuse of fossil fuel, deforestation, and industrial factory farming (Causes of Climate Change, 2017) has caused earth temperature to increase. It led to climate change and triggered extreme weather– an unpredictable weather that occurs greater than its range in the past (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2005). 

The Impact of Extreme Weather

Extreme weather triggers heavy downpours, droughts, floods, storms, heat waves, and hurricanes. Met Office (2018) explained that it happens due to the unstable situation of the atmosphere and the rising temperature of the sea. These will bring negative impacts not only to our environment, but also to the economy and social sector. 

For the environment, extreme weather might reduce the ecosystem’s capability in absorbing carbon; hence, increasing the quantity of carbon in the atmosphere (The Weather Channel, 2013). Drought is one of the most damaging extreme weather in this context, because as trees and plants die, there will be nothing to absorb carbons. Hence, the extreme weather will be even worse. Drought also puts living creatures in danger.

Drought also brings death to plants and it surely disturbs the ecosystem. The danger is not limited on the land, as the rising temperature in the sea will also disturb the marine ecosystem. This results in the loss of biodiversity of flora and fauna. It can also increase health risks to humans (What Are the Effects of Climate Change?, n.d.). Extreme weathers like floods and unpredictable hurricanes can even cause casualties in a short amount of time.

Economy and social wise, the destruction of agriculture, infrastructure, productivity and other fields may threaten our economy and social life as well. Losing our land and water due to extreme weather can lead to food insecurity, affecting not only the local people but also to the market. This can result in economic problems including the loss of jobs while our government has to spend money to aid the affected.

Every Cloud Has Silver Lining, Including COVID-19 

Though the current pandemic has brought so many problems into the world, it has also brought a good impact that shows us that reducing climate change is possible. If the climate change issue is solved, extreme weather will disappear on its own. Dwortzan (2021) said that many countries are showing great reductions on GHG due to less transportation activity, decreasing usage of fossil fuels and sustainable sources of foods. For the first time in forever, the world has been put into rest. It shows us that our actions matter in light of fighting climate change.

Our Actions Shape Our World

Even our smallest actions can make a big difference. We can start making changes by reflecting about our daily activities. For instance, we can try paying attention to our eating habits. Make sure that we eat and buy food responsibly to minimize food waste. Believe it or not, food waste also has its part in emitting  greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. You can also try growing your own food by doing urban farming. You can grow your own vegetables even in a minimum space, for example on your garden or rooftop. 

Regarding energy consumption, we can start using energy more mindfully. We can start in our house by plugging off our charger after using, eating outside less, and minimizing electricity consumption. We can also take public transportation if possible to reduce the usage of fossil fuels.

Last but not least, do not hesitate to spread awareness about these issues to your friends! Sharing your eco-friendly behavior can inspire others to act on our world, and together we can make our world a better place.

“Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay”

-Sallust

References

Days After Historic Warmth, Europe Braces for Shocking Blast of Cold, Snow. (2021, April 5). Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/04/05/europe-cold-blast-snow/

Can Extreme Weather Make Climate Change Worse? | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather Channel | weather.com. (2013, August 15). The Weather Channel. https://weather.com/science/environment/news/can-extreme-weather-make-climate-change-worse-20130815#:%7E:text=The%20researchers%20have%20shown%20that,to%20remain%20in%20the%20atmosphere.

Causes of climate change. (2017, June 28). Climate Action – European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/clima/change/causes_en#:%7E:text=Humans%20are%20increasingly%20influencing%20the,greenhouse%20effect%20and%20global%20warming

Dwortzan, M. (2021, January 29). How will Covid-19 ultimately impact climate change? MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology. https://news.mit.edu/2021/how-will-covid-19-ultimately-impact-climate-change-0129

Fardah. (2021, February 6). Indonesia enters 2021 with “abnormal” natural disasters. Antara News. https://en.antaranews.com/news/167468/indonesia-enters-2021-with-abnormal-natural-disasters

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2005). Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Web.Archive.Org. https://web.archive.org/web/20051101154444/http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/088.htm

Met Office. (2018, December 13). How is climate linked to extreme weather? https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/climate/climate-and-extreme-weather

What are the effects of climate change? (n.d.). Www.Myclimate.Org. Retrieved April 16, 2021, from https://www.myclimate.org/information/faq/faq-detail/what-are-the-effects-of-climate-change/

Climate Change in Indonesia: Flood as an Environmental Disaster

Written by Safira Tafani Cholisi, Content Writer Intern Project Child Indonesia

You might be familiar with the term ‘climate change’. It has been a primary topic of discourse around the world, ranging from governments, business corporations, non-governmental organizations and even private individuals. Climate change is an environmental process where the temperature of the Earth increases due to the heightening level of greenhouse gases produced by human activities, subsequently causing a shift in the regularity of climate conditions around the globe (What is climate change? A really simple guide, 2020). It is known to be one of the most dangerous threats for humanity as changing climate conditions can lead to rain and snowstorms or the opposite such as drought and erosion. Inevitably, this directly impacts daily human activities in a range of sectors including agriculture, food production, and health.

However, this environmental catastrophe actually poses a more pressing threat to developing countries. Most are  geographically located around the equator, making the temperatures naturally warmer. Reasonably, climate change will only increase the already high temperatures in these countries. According to the World Bank, 100 million people could be dragged under the poverty line by 2030 due to the impacts of climate change (Climate Change and the Developing World: A Disproportionate Impact, 2020). Considering that developing countries mostly depend on natural resources and agriculture for economic growth, the direct consequences of climate change will challenge the economic resilience of these countries. Indonesia as a developing country itself is not exempted from these impacts.

As observed through various media and news channels, Indonesia has recently been hit by severe flooding in areas around the country. Earlier this year, intense rainfall and extreme weather conditions caused severe flooding in South Kalimantan. The flood lasted for more than two weeks and is estimated to have affected 712,129 people and displaced more than 110,000 (South Kalimantan Flood a Gloomy Picture of Natural Destruction, 2021). Additionally, the calculated loss in several sectors including agriculture and fishery sector reaches almost IDR 100 billion. Just last week, houses and buildings were awash by severe flooding in Jakarta and surrounding areas (Paat, 2021). Jakarta is notorious for being a hotspot for flash floods for a number of reasons such as uncontrolled groundwater drainage and rising sea levels. While these cases of floods are classified as natural disasters, it is undebatable that both climate change and our involvement has played a part in exacerbating this issue.

The causes of floods in Indonesia are mainly attributed to three factors: loss of tree cover, extreme weather and topography (Sulaeman, Pradana & Hamzah, 2019). However, illegal logging and mining as well as wild forest fires are some of the man-controlled causes of the loss of green spaces in Kalimantan forests. Without tree covers to facilitate water absorption by soil, sudden increase of water volume from extreme rainfall becomes uncontainable and leads to flooding. Climate change further aggravates this condition as higher global temperature causes rising sea levels due to ice melting in the polar regions. In fact, rising sea levels are one of the primary factors behind the prediction of Jakarta’s submergence by 2050 (Mulhern, 2020). These predictions do not only seem terrible and frightening, but they also threaten our wellbeing, particularly those most disadvantaged and marginalized without secure economic safety nets.

Are you wondering about what we can do to face this difficult challenge? There are many actions that we, as an individual, can do to reduce the damages of climate change. You can learn about what climate change is and how it can pervasively impact our lives both individually and collectively through various free learning platforms in your local community library or even the internet. Local organizations can also be a starting point for you to connect with your surrounding community and environment and contribute to social work and mutual aid. Project Child Indonesia recognizes that environmental and disaster issues are pressing to our local communities and incorporates disaster risk management lessons in some of its programs such as Sekolah Sungai and Sekolah Pantai. Whatever it is that you do to act on the danger of climate change, it is a huge step to do good to your community and environment. In resonance with Project Child Indonesia’s motto, “Everyone Can Do Good”, we believe that you too can also do good.

Photo Credit: CNN

References

BBC. 2020. What is climate change? A really simple guide. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-24021772> [Accessed 20 February 2021].

KOMPAS. 2021. South Kalimantan Flood a Gloomy Picture of Natural Destruction. [online] Available at: <https://www.kompas.id/baca/english/2021/01/25/south-kalimantan-flood-a-gloomy-picture-of-natural-destruction/#> [Accessed 20 February 2021].

Mulhern, O., 2020. Sea Level Rise Projection Map – Jakarta. [online] Earth.org. Available at: <https://earth.org/data_visualization/sea-level-rise-by-the-end-of-the-century-alexandria-2/> [Accessed 20 February 2021].

Paat, Y., 2021. Weekend Floods Force Hundreds to Leave Home in Jakarta. [online] Jakarta Globe. Available at: <https://jakartaglobe.id/news/weekend-floods-force-hundreds-to-leave-home-in-jakarta> [Accessed 20 February 2021].

Sulaeman, D., Pradana, A. and Hamzah, H., 2019. 3 Main Causes of Floods in Indonesia and How to Prevent Them. [online] WRI Indonesia. Available at: <https://wri-indonesia.org/en/blog/3-main-causes-floods-indonesia-and-how-prevent-them> [Accessed 20 February 2021].

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. 2020. Climate Change and the Developing World: A Disproportionate Impact. [online] Available at: <https://www.usglc.org/blog/climate-change-and-the-developing-world-a-disproportionate-impact/> [Accessed 20 February 2021].

International Polar Bear Day: Make Small Changes and Be the Change the World Needs

Written by Graciella Ganadhi, Content Writer Project Child Indonesia

International Polar Bear Day is celebrated worldwide every February 27th. It aims to remind the citizens of the world to preserve our environment, especially the polar bear habitat. Every year, their number decreased due to climate change. Polar bears are classified as endangered or vulnerable animals because there are only 23.000 of them in all 19 places of their habitat.

The main factor that contributes to their decline is the greenhouse effect. It is when our earth is heating up due to the excess use of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the other greenhouse gases. When the planet gets hotter, the ice where they live melts, thus limiting their living space. Moreover, due to climate change, the population of seals is decreasing. The decrease causes difficulties for the polar bears to hunt for their prey.

Climate change is not only affecting polar bears and seals. It is affecting us, humans, too! Have you ever noticed that the weather has become unpredictable these past years? It rains when it’s supposed to be sunny and vice versa. It is getting colder in places that have been hot for years and hotter in places that have been cold forever/ The Arctic, the polar bears’ habitat, for example. The ice, in which the polar bears have depended for years, has begun to melt, and it is melting fast. The polar bears are not the only casualties of this phenomenon. The melting of ice causes the surface of ocean water to rise, which then resulted in the flooding or even the loss of lands because their surface is lower than the ocean.

What can we do then? The answer is simpler than you might think. As a global citizen, you can start small and be consistent. Be aware of your carbon spending and ways in which you contribute to the excess of greenhouse gases. If you can bike, walk, or ride public transportation to help lessen the production of carbon dioxide, that’s a good start. You can start to reduce, reuse, recycle your trash, and switch to reusable or renewable energy since the use of fossil fuel is also a big contributing factor to climate change.

It is not too late to start taking action. As people often say, it’s better to be late than never starting. Reduce the use of single-use plastic, reduce the frequency of your carbon production, and change into renewable energy. Make small changes in your life and be the change that the world needs.

References:

  • https://polarbearsinternational.org/about-us/. Accessed on Feb 21 at 15.30.
  • https://www.goingzerowaste.com/blog/5-ways-to-reduce-your-carbon-footprint . Accessed on Feb 21 at 15.30.