Tag Archive for: environment

Protecting Indigenous Communities as Assets to Humanity

Written by Amaranila Nariswari, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

When talking about indigenous people, what do you have in mind? Do you imagine them with their tribal marks and clothes made out of parts of the plants? I, personally, think of how modernity seems to erase the beauty and diversity of indigenous culture. Before we talk more about them, let’s dig into who they really are. According to the World Bank (2022), Indigenous Peoples are those of distinct and specific cultural and social groups with ancestral ties to their land. Their identity and well-being are highly dependent on the lands where they live. They have their own customary law and adhere to their leader, unlike us, who abide by the government. Technically, indigenous people obey their state’s written law, but the customary law holds a special place in their culture and needs to be obeyed, too. As for them, it is considered sacred and became the living law between them. 

Indigenous people are assets to humanity. Their way of living is so kind to the earth that they conserve more than 30% of it, guarding more than 80% of the remaining biodiversity we have (Jones, 2021; World Bank, 2022). Most–if not all–indigenous people live by relying on their land. Where they live has ancestral ties to their culture for them to take care of. They cultivate their land, hunt from the forest, and pray to their ancestors in their land, too. They might seem outdated, but their identity is timeless if you really think about it.

Another thing you need to know about indigenous people is that they’re one of the most fragile communities in the world. Despite living far away from modernity, city pollution, and technology that could be harmful, they still need access to basic human needs like sanitation and health, which in reality don’t reach most of them. Their life expectancy is much lower than non-indigenous people, even up to 20 years (World Bank, 2022). They’re also the last to receive public investment as they seem so tiny and far, even though they’re not. Not only that, their lands are often grabbed by either the government or the capitalist–maybe even both, and being the marginalized communities they are, they tend to be helpless regardless of their right to the land.

Not often Indigenous children face hardships living in society. According to the United Nations (n.d), indigenous youth experience a lot of challenges in participating in social activities. They are also prone to discrimination and have the least access to participate in economic and political decision-making processes. When indigenous children go to school, they are considered different from the rest of the students and sometimes overlooked or even bullied. To this, teachers should help indigenous kids adapt to the school environment and educate their students to respect everyone equally and empower one another in good things. 

Not only in schools, the government, both at the local and international levels, plays a vital role in ensuring indigenous people’s rights are met. The least they could do is to give more opportunities for indigenous representatives to have a say in decision-making. Giving indigenous communities generous funding and ways to empower indigenous people also helps them to create a better living. Paying more attention and building more basic-need facilities like hospitals and schools near indigenous lands will also help them easily access basic human needs. 

Of course, we can do our portions to help, too! The first thing we can do to help ensure their sustainability is to notice what challenges indigenous communities face. Note that not all indigenous communities have the same problems, and they have different ranges and proximities to the government. Those who are the furthest from the government’s reach are usually the most fragile. Learn what they need and share them with your surroundings. The more people know about indigenous communities’ problems, the more people will care about them. You can also help by volunteering in organizations focusing on indigenous community empowerment, or if you could, you can donate to the organization! Lastly, help them if they have difficulties blending in with society. Embrace, appreciate, and support them in sharing their beautiful cultures!

References:

Jones, Benji. (2021). Indigenous people are the world’s biggest conservationists, but they rarely get credit for it. Vox. Retrieved from: https://www.vox.com/22518592/indigenous-people-conserve-nature-icca 

United Nations. (n.d). The Situation of the World’s Indigenous Children and Youth. Retrieved from: https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/mandated-areas1/children-and-youth.html

World Bank. (2022). Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved from: https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/indigenouspeoples

How Fast Do You Change Your Clothes?

Written by Amaranila Nariswari, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Trendy, chic, and easy-to-wear describe the fast-fashion industry really well. In some countries, fast-fashion stores sell relatively cheap clothing pieces while at the same time they’re still considered as the trend-setter in the fashion industry. How do they sell so much stuff at once yet manage to sell them at such low prices? One of the secrets behind their success lies in creating and delivering their products to us, their customers. Ever heard about the global supply chain?

Basically, a global supply chain is a network of organizations and processes where several corporations–this includes suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and even retailers–collaborate as one chain, doing production process to distribution, until the products reach the hands of the consumers (Ivanov et al., 2017). The point of this supply chain thing is to provide consumers with the products they want of good quality FAST, following the fast-changing trends. Companies even have a system for tracking the trend and use the services of forecasting companies all over the world to search for new trends or ideas (Matic & Vabale, 2015). Anyway the point of this article is not about the global supply chain. I want you to learn about the wicked side of the fast fashion industry, especially about greenwashing. But before that, let’s discuss how badly impactful the fast fashion industry is to understand why greenwashing exists!

First, it is no secret that the fast-fashion industry pollutes a lot. To create cheap products, they tend to use inexpensive materials. The polyester they use is obtained from fossil fuels, contributing to global warming. At the same time, the cheap textile dyes are toxic and harmful and pollute our clean water (Rauturier, 2021). Don’t forget, this is fast fashion, which means the longevity of clothes is also fast, causing the increasing number of cloth waste every year. Did you know that fast-fashion contributes BIG to textile waste? In the fashion industry, textile wastes are divided into two categories: pre-consumers, including cut clothes which could no longer be used in the production process, and post-consumers, when the owner of the clothes throw them away when they feel like their clothes are outdated, too small, or torn.  

Second, not only does it harm the environment, but there’s also the human cost of its production. To cut the production cost, companies usually go to lower to middle-income countries like Bangladesh in Southeast Asia and Chad in Central Africa while searching for cheap labor. Companies make contracts with the workers to supply the products they sell, but those workers are underpaid and don’t have their rights protected while working in a dangerous environment (Rauturier, 2021). Sometimes even they employ underage workers. Whether the big guys in the company know that those workers are working under illegal conditions or not, they’re responsible for not paying attention to it. 

Sure, these days, companies are more aware of the sustainability of their products regarding the growing value of sustainable development globally. The definition of sustainable development itself ranges depending on who you ask. However, its essence emerges from the concept of Triple Bottom Line, implying the balance between three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social, and economic sustainability (Klarin, 2018). However, it is sad to see that most companies working in fast-fashion industries only focus on the environment, and even that is not enough.

If you look closely at the tags of the clothing pieces, sometimes companies put ‘eco-friendly’ signs. Maybe it’s written like ‘made from recycled materials‘ or ‘sustainable production,’ but are those products really eco-friendly? How many percent of their products are produced using recycled materials? And how much recycled materials do they really use in a single piece of clothing? Such eco-friendly tags are what we call greenwashing. According to Greenpeace, greenwashing attempts to form any public or consumer opinion into thinking that their products are environmentally friendly. It pushes the buyers into thinking that by purchasing their products, they are contributing to the planet’s well-being, too. 

Maybe some of you reading this article have just bought things from the fast-fashion industry last weekend and think ‘oops i just did something bad, didn’t I?’ or ‘did I just get myself greenwashed?’, it’s fine though, I wouldn’t blame you if those eco-friendly slogans got you before. But from now on, I want you to do your research before going shopping. It’s not hard to find information regarding your favorite shops on the internet. Better, you can search for a real environmentally friendly brand to shop for in the future, stores focusing on giving real impact to the environment instead of putting the word ‘green’ everywhere while in fact, they are not. 

Don’t worry too much about the clothes you just bought. It is called fast fashion because the trends keep on changing, and people are competing to be the first to lay their hands on the products. You can change that habit by not throwing your clothes after only a couple of uses. Old clothes can look good if you know how to style them, you know, vintage

Seriously, though, mixing and matching your old clothes could be a fun thing to do to spend your time. If you need some refreshment, you can go to thrift stores and find some magic hidden in their pile of used garments. One piece of clothing can be used several times to make different styles. Like a blazer, you can wear it formally if you match it with a shirt and skirt or cloth pants with belt, necklace, and a clutch bag as accessories, but you can also wear a blazer on top of a t-shirt and shorts, and match it with sneakers to make it casual, depending on what look do you want to present at the moment. Fun, right! I see you’ve already started imagining what you can do with your old clothes now, so I’ll leave you here, bye!

Reference

​​Ivanov, Dmitry et al. (2017). Global Supply Chain and Operations Management: a Decision-Oriented Introduction to the Creation of Value. Switzerland: Springer.

Klarin, T. (2018). The Concept of Sustainable Development: From its Beginning to the Contemporary Issues. Zagreb International Review of Economics and Business21(1):67-94. DOI:10.2478/zireb-2018-0005

Matic, M. & Vita Vabale. (2015). Understanding internationalization patterns of Zara. Master’s Thesis, Department of Business Management, Aalborg, Denmark: Aalborg University. 

Rauturier, S. (2021). What Is Fast Fashion and Why Is It So Bad?. Good on You. Retrieved from https://goodonyou.eco/what-is-fast-fashion/

How Much Do You Waste?: Counting on Your Ecological Footprint

Written by Amaranila Nariswari, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Does the term ‘Ecological Footprint’ ring a bell to you? I bet it doesn’t. But I am sure some of you have heard about carbon footprints already, right? If you haven’t, let me help you: a carbon footprint refers to the number of gaseous emissions emitted concerning human production and/or consumption activities (Pertsova, 2007). It measures the number of greenhouse gasses produced and their impact on the environment. Carbon footprints are one of the fastest-growing portions of the ecological footprint. In fact, it is 54% of the total ecological footprints.

Now, what is the ecological footprint? The ecological footprint is the measurement of our impact on the ecosystem. It measures the supply and demand of goods and services related to our lifestyle (Samanthi, 2011). Interestingly, this ecological footprint counts the area of land and sea needed to support human activities, including the areas required to assimilate your waste. Hey, before we proceed, I dare you to count your footprint now! These days, you can find many websites providing ways to calculate your footprint, and one of them is https://www.footprintcalculator.org/home/en.

Suppose you went through several websites to count your ecological footprint. In that case, you can see that the questions they asked are mostly related to your diet, housing, energies, trash, and transportation you used. You might think, “Ooh, those developed countries use green energies. Their ecological footprints must be smaller than ours in developing countries!” Well, guess what? Some of the highest ecological footprint producers are those industrial countries like the United States of America (USA), China, and European and Middle-East countries. In contrast, underdeveloped countries like Congo and Central African Republic relatively produce smaller footprints compared to other countries (Global Footprint Network, 2022).

However, you might still be shocked after noticing how big your ecological footprints are, right? Eventually, we are all responsible for our own lifestyle and activities, and this might be the sign for you to start reducing your footprint. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Choose your protein wisely!

The first questions asked when you count your ecological footprint are mostly about your diet and, to be more specific, your animal-based menu. You might wonder, “how does eating beef and chicken have any correlation to climate change?”, surprise surprise, did you know that one of the most prominent feeds for livestock is soybean cake? Soybean cakes are mostly produced in the USA, Brazil, and Argentina. The high demand for it drives the commodity producers to open up spaces for soybean planting. One of the fastest ways to clear up areas is through deforestation. Not only deforestation, but turning soybeans into soybean cake also requires a lot of mechanical energy that produces pollution, and don’t forget the carbon they made to deliver their products.

I know beef, chickens, and lambs all taste heavenly, and I, too, couldn’t live without them, but it’s good to reconsider our diet. There are a lot of delicious protein sources we can consider putting on our menu, like eggs. You can cook different kinds of eggs, scrambled eggs like those served in hotels? Yum. Sunny-side up with a hint of crispness on its edge? Double yum, man, I can go forever just talking about eggs! But my point is, you can eat meat, as long as you consume it responsibly. And of course, eat more veggies, duh! We thrive for a more balanced-life, alright?

  1. Consume local foods, protect small and medium business

If you’re looking for simple everyday cooking foodstuffs, shopping for imported groceries in large fancy supermarkets doesn’t necessarily guarantee you to live a healthy lifestyle. Sure, their products look pretty and… organic. Still, the carbon produced from transporting those goods is a LOT, which is not-so-friendly for the environment. If you go to your local traditional market early in the morning, you can get the same products like the ones displayed in those fancy-glamorous grocery stores at the mall, and the plus point is it’s way cheaper. If you’re not sure whether the products in the market are clean and organic enough, you can always grow them yourself, like creating a hydroponic garden and raising chickens, why not?

Anyway, this doesn’t only apply to your groceries, but your lifestyle in general. When we shop in the mall, we see clothes, bags, and shoes displayed prettily. Those are probably coming from big shops famous internationally. If you noticed, though, local brands’ stuff is just as good as theirs. Sometimes, they produce their products through local people’s empowerment, making it even better. All you have to do is scroll past your social media pages and see which local brands have their products that suit you the most!

  1. Turn the electricity off when it’s not in use

This tip might be cliché, but this one is… we can say, the basic rule of reducing our energy consumption. Anyway, believe it or not, if you turn on your lamp 24/7, your room gets hotter instead of when you turn it off during the day. It goes the same when you turn your air conditioner on all the time. The moment you turn it off, you will feel hot, but when you turn it off in the morning and open your window, your room adjusts to the temperature, so in the afternoon, you won’t feel like you’ve been put in an oven. Besides, reducing your energy consumption means reducing the electricity bill you have to pay, and voila, a win-win solution. 

Managing our ecological footprint might sound easier to read than done, and it’s okay. What is not okay is knowing that you contributed a lot to ecological waste and did not bother to bat an eye. This planet earth is not yours. It’s ours. We share it with other living beings, and each one of us deserves to live in a clean and healthy environment.

References

Global Footprint Network. (2022). Reserve/Deficit Trends. Global Footprint Network. Retrieved from https://data.footprintnetwork.org/#/ 

Pertsova, C. (2007). Ecological Economics Research Trends. New York, United States: Nova Sciences Publishers, Inc.

Samanthi. (2011). Difference Between Ecological Footprint and Carbon Footprint. DifferenceBetween. Retrieved from https://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-ecological-footprint-and-vs-carbon-footprint/#:~:text=The%20key%20difference%20between%20ecological,units%20of%20carbon%20dioxide%20equivalents.

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. 

World Earth Day 2021: Protect the Environment, Restore Our Earth

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

It is widely known that climate change has been one of the most pressing issues of our world. Environmental degradation poses a threat to the balance of the global ecosystem that involves all kinds of living beings, whether it be plants, animals, and human beings. The deterioration of the environment also threatens the livelihoods of many, particularly those most socioeconomically marginalized and vulnerable. To address this problem, various actors across sectors have taken action and collaborated to collectively build a comprehensive response that can counter the effects brought about by climate change. Among these actors, private individuals and non-governmental organizations are some who have contributed to the mainstreaming of climate change discourse.

World Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, to bring awareness to the precarious state the Earth was in. It aims to gather people across the world to unite in acknowledging the importance of preserving the Earth and tackling the problems leading to environmental degradation and climate change. Ever since the day has been celebrated every year with various actions and movements to protect the Earth.

The 2021 theme for World Earth Day is “Restore Our Earth”. It signifies the collective belongingness we have with one another and the Earth as well as our responsibilities to restore the balance in our environment.

A few ways which you can do to participate in this year’s World Earth Day are:

  1. Educating one’s self on environmental issues

There are different environmental issues based on various factors and concepts, and sometimes it is difficult to be informed of everything at the same time. During this year’s World Earth Day, you can join online discussions and webinars which aim to discuss various perspectives and ways in which environmental degradation and climate change threaten our Earth. For instance, the World Earth Day organizers will be holding a virtual youth summit and inviting various youth climate activists.

  1. Rearranging room or house and identifying pattern of consumption

World Earth Day is also the perfect time for you to identify your own daily consumption pattern. You can rearrange your house and room and observe whether you have been using any items with unsustainable materials or those that take up a lot of energy. This is also a chance for you to see if you have been overconsuming by buying or hoarding items that end up being unused and left collecting dust in the corner of your room. Cleaning up your own space can also mean taking out the trashes and recycling those based on the suggested sustainable guidelines.

  1. Connecting with nearby communities

No movement will ever progress forward without the help and collaboration of a tight-knit community. World Earth Day can be a time for you to connect with nearby environmental organizations or events that aim to combat the effects of climate change. Some of the events that usually take place during World Earth Day are tree planting, community clean-up, sustainability workshops, and other hands-on activities as a first-hand method to protect the environment. Joining one of these wouldn’t only give you a new network of people who care about the same issue as you do, but also space for you to contribute to preserving the Earth.

There are still many other ways for you to take action during World Earth Day, but remember the most important thing: everyone can do good, and protecting our Earth is also one way to realize it!

References

EARTHDAY.ORG. 2021. Earth Day 2021. [online] Available at: <https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2021/> [Accessed 19 April 2021].

PCI Feature: Shifting Perspective with Surayah Ryha

Written by Dara Ayu Ariane, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Maintaining small tweaks in our daily habits can be a difficult thing to remember. What about being part of a solution for much bigger issues? Starting small can even feel like it’s getting us nowhere, but the small actions, like sustainable swaps, are still worth trying. With the struggles that come with the pandemic dwelling on us for a year, people don’t demand for mere simple changes but ones that can actually make a difference. The big and impactful change is no small feat, especially when it comes to poverty and environmental changes. Just because our hands may be tied in certain situations, doesn’t mean we can’t shift our perspectives differently. 

For this edition of PCI Feature we had an amazing chat with the Executive Director of Project Child Indonesia, Surayah Ryha, about what goes on behind the screen of running an NGO and how the people within Project Child Indonesia are working hand-in-hand to bring about change to its surrounding communities. 

A Shift in the Environment 

Before running Project Child Indonesia full-time Surayah Ryha, or Ayya as most of her co-workers like to call her, has been interested in environmental science and protection since 2004. In the same year, she took regional development studies in the Faculty of Geography at Gadjah Mada University and studied generally about the impacts that interaction of humans bring in shaping the Earth. She began to concentrate on coastal resources management, which is a generally rich area for the tropics and yet, the ones in Indonesia have a widespread poverty rate. 

She began to question, “Why do the people who live in the best part of our land become so poor?”, which ignited her interest in environmental politics and policy. Ten years later, after working as teaching assistants and interns for various organizations, she decided to work full-time to run Project Child Indonesia. 

With her background on in-depth environmental studies, Ayya considers people’s way of looking at nature has shifted, “When people talk about nature, we tend to focus on the natural world and take human activity out of the equation. But now, the perspective has shifted and it’s for the better.” Not only is nature just about the greens and aesthetics, humans as the species that influences our environment the most are also part of the bigger picture. 

As the co-founder of Project Child Indonesia, Ayya has been trying to put this perspective of nature into place. “What’s interesting here is how we work with kids ranging around 10 years old as our first beneficiary and youths at around 20 years old for our second beneficiary. As fun as it can be to talk about the environment to children, it is actually very important to discuss environmental issues with youths. They are lucky enough to study at universities, contribute to change, and would likely be in a position of change.” 

A Generation of Change 

Ayya shared that since the beginning, Project Child Indonesia has been focusing on teaching its volunteers and interns how to help create and be part of change. So unlike other NGOs in Yogyakarta, Project Child Indonesia focuses on both youth and children. “Since 2015, we have been able to create something better everyday alongside our interns and volunteers that come from a generation of change, high dynamic, creativity and motivation. And when we work with the best youths from this generation, the result is just incredible.” 

Indonesian education system does teach students about natural sciences, biology and the likes, but Ayya thinks that it needs to interlude with how we feel towards them more. We learn that plastic pollution can be extremely bad for the ocean, but schools don’t really teach students how they can be part of the solution.

The volunteers at Project Child Indonesia have brought their innovations to the learning table in many different forms. When it comes to teaching basic science, they tend to use 3D models, handcrafts and other different mediums. With the teachers at most public schools having their hands tied, organizations like Project Child Indonesia are ready to help marginalized communities around them. 

Aside from helping those in need, volunteers and interns will also build great determination, personal growth, and development during their 6 months period working at Project Child Indonesia. Alongside weekly feedback from professional supervisors, they are able to improve how they communicate with their surrounding communities, as well as constructing and reconstructing ideas that can offer even better ways to help others. 

Currently Project Child Indonesia isn’t open for internship or volunteer program but if you still want to make your mark, you can help support our programs by donating to our Kitabisa.com fundraising page, do fundraising with us using your own fun ideas, or become our partner!

We welcome anyone who shares the same excitement for the projects that we run, so don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to keep updated on our future plans and keep believing that “everyone can do good”

“Our brains develop as we grow, we re-learn so many things as we progress in life. This is the golden age for us to focus on what really matters to us, and Project Child Indonesia is very happy to be part of finding what really matters to you and all of us.” – Surayah Ryha, Executive Director at Project Child Indonesia

International Day of Forests 2021: A Healthy Forest Equals Our Well-being

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

Every day we go about our lives in a set routine. We live and sleep in our house, take a meal three times a day, drink at least 2 liters of water, and perhaps read a book or use our laptop to study and work. However, it might rarely cross our mind that those daily activities are related to forests. In fact, sometimes we can completely forget that our wooden made chairs and tables come from the trees or that the water we drink is stored and captured by the forest roots. Forests play a crucial role in our lives and yet we are often oblivious to that fact and fail in protecting and conserving our nature and its resources.

It is reported that forests provide for the livelihoods and subsistence needs of approximately 1.6 billion people, some of which are indigenous communities (International Day of Forests 21 March, 2021). Not only a vital source of life for human beings, forests and tree covers also house a great variety of animals, plants, and insects. Some countries depend greatly on forests and their resources for collecting raw food materials and livestock as well as gathering wood necessary for economic activities. Of course, Indonesia is also a country that highly depends on forests.

Indonesia is known to be one of the countries with the largest landscape of tropical rainforests, spanning 98 million hectares or approximately half the size of the country’s territory (Indonesian Rainforests, 2021). These forests are home to a rich biodiversity of endangered species protected by the World Wildlife Fund. Despite this significance, Indonesian forests are annually losing their tree covers at an alarming speed. Studies believe that Indonesia loses a million hectares of its forest every year (Valuing the ecosystem of the Indonesian rainforest, 2021), while Global Forest Watch reports that Indonesia faced a 17% decrease in tree cover since 2000. This decrease is calculated to have increased 10.9Gt unabsorbed CO2 emissions (Tree Cover Loss in Indonesia, 2021). Accelerated deforestation and illegal logging are highly interlinked with increasing disaster risks such as landslides and floods. Indubitably, this poses a serious threat to the ecosystems, economic activities, and health of Indonesians, particularly those living in disaster-prone areas. 

Recognizing the imminent need to conserve nature and protect forests across the world, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 March as the International Day of Forests (International Day of Forests, 2021). To raise awareness of the importance of forests and their preservation, individuals, and organizations around the world are encouraged to participate in conservation and preservation activities and efforts, including tree-planting campaigns and sustainability movements. The celebration this year adopts the theme of “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being” in order to remind us that forests are inherently linked to our daily lives and provide the resources for our subsistence and living. Thus, by restoring forest conditions, we are also contributing to ensuring our own well-being.

Can you participate in this celebration? Definitely! There are many ways in which you can contribute to raising awareness about the environmental threats faced by our forests and to protect their existence. You can join a nearby tree-planting campaign organized by local communities and obtain seeds to plant. Reducing personal consumption of unsustainable materials made from forest resources, including paper and wood-based products is also a form of a concrete contribution. And if you’re not tight on cash, you can donate to programs and organizations working towards forest conservation and environmental sustainability. All of these deeds are just some of the ways in which you can do good, and we believe that you can always do good no matter how little your participation is!

References

Rainforest Action Network. 2021. Indonesian Rainforests. [online] Available at: <https://www.ran.org/indonesian-rainforests/> [Accessed 15 March 2021].

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2021. International Day of Forests. [online] Available at: <http://www.fao.org/international-day-of-forests/en/> [Accessed 15 March 2021].

United Nations. 2021. International Day of Forests 21 March. [online] Available at: <https://www.un.org/en/observances/forests-and-trees-day> [Accessed 15 March 2021].

Global Forest Watch. 2021. Tree Cover Loss in Indonesia. [online] Available at: <https://www.globalforestwatch.org/dashboards/country/IDN/?category=summary&dashboardPrompts=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%3D%3D&location=WyJjb3VudHJ5IiwiSUROIl0%3D&map=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> [Accessed 15 March 2021].

GreenFacts. 2021. Valuing the ecosystem of the Indonesian rainforest. [online] Available at: <https://www.greenfacts.org/en/indonesian-forests/l-2/index.htm#:~:text=In%202013%2C%20the%20total%20forest,the%20national%20and%20global%20level.> [Accessed 15 March 2021].

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].

Between The Environment and The Pandemic

Written by Nindy Silvia Anggraini, Content Writer Intern Project Child Indonesia 

In recent years many environmental issues have been called for, especially about plastic waste. Various trends have emerged ranging from the use of straws, drinking bottles, cutlery, and shopping bags that are environmentally friendly and can be used repeatedly. Making the sea turtles and habitats as the object of cruel attention to plastic waste that is not managed wisely by humans. In addition to the use of environmentally friendly goods, there is a suggestion for eating at the place / dine-in at the restaurant to reduce food/beverage takeaway and also delivery orders. But once the Covid-19 pandemic appeared, all the calls seemed to be forgotten. As recommended by the government, restaurants can only serve to take away and deliver orders. For example, what happened in the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, before the implementation of the PSBB (Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar) due to the Covid-19 pandemic, from the daily waste volume of 7,500 to 8,000 tons/day was reduced by 620 tons/day. Doesn’t that mean the volume of waste is decreasing?

Overall the volume of waste has indeed declined, but there has been a shift in the waste-producing sector. Head of DKI Jakarta Environment Agency, H Andono Warihm, said that during the PSBB period, the volume of plastic waste generated by households was higher than before the pandemic. Of course, this happened because there was a shift in the consumption patterns of the people from those who could freely eat at restaurants or buy drinks with their drinking bottles, also shop at supermarkets with their shopping bags, now everything must be done online. Food and beverage delivery orders, online shopping for daily necessities, to necessities such as clothing and household appliances also require plastic bags or other types of waste that are not environmentally friendly.

We can’t just shut up and close our eyes knowing this fact, right? We must be able to pay attention to the environment while still obeying rules according to health protocols. The simplest way we can start in our kitchen. Cooking our food is the easiest way to stay concerned about the environment at a time like this. Besides, we can also pay attention to our daily nutrition intake and fill our free time during quarantine or work from the home period. What’s more, we don’t need to worry about viruses because we don’t make physical contact through any objects with strangers. But, we need to pay attention to food ingredients and wash everything before consuming it!

References 

https://www.liputan6.com/news/read/4283340/sampah-plastik-di-dki-jakarta-meningkat-saat-pandemi-coronahttps://www.aliansizerowaste.id/post/2020/04/16/menerapkan-zero-waste-di-masa-pandemi-corona

The Earth is Burning, But You Can Help!

Written by Graciella Stephanie Ganadhi, Content Writer Intern Project Child Indonesia

Do you notice that the earth is getting hotter and hotter every time? Not to mention the random heavy rain in a dry season? Without us noticing, the earth is burning up. Last year, there was the incident of the Amazon forest burning up. This year, Australian bushfire happened. Rainforests in Kalimantan were also burning up due to the intense heat. These incidents are not an incident at all, it all could’ve been prevented. It was our fault, humans fault. We exploit the environment and when nature is trying to get us back, we are left helpless. In all those forest fires, millions of animals lost their home and their life. Millions of plants burnt to ashes. Now, more than one million animals and plants are in the brink of extinction. All because of our ego. We take, take, and take without ever giving back.

Regardless of whether you actually care or not, you can do something. You live here too, the least you can do is help to take care of our earth. It doesn’t have to be a drastic measure, small things if being done continuously will end up being a huge help.

Here are some things that you can do to help and it’s free, so you have no excuse not to do it!

  1. Walk, walk, walk. Walking will decrease carbon footprint because you literally emit 0 harmful gas to the air. If you must go somewhere far and it’s possible to be done, take public transportation, you’ll share the carbon footprint of the vehicle.
  1. Stop using plastic. Plastic harms the ocean and the land. It pollutes the water and land, it destroys the balance in nature. Not to mention it also disturbs animals’ food chain. Straws is not the only problem, though. Single use plastic bags and plastic cups are a bigger threat to the environment. Exchange the plastics with reusable cups, bags, and straws.
  1. Recycle! Separate your trash bins. Recycle the plastics and paper and reuse the organic trash. Waste management helps the air, water, and land pollution.

We only have one planet, there is nothing else. If we don’t take care of it, it will turn its back on us and we have nowhere to go. Take care of it now, take small steps but give big impacts.

References: https://swikblog.com/world-environment-day-2020-theme/