The picture above is very touching and heartbreaking for me. I was in tears as seeing this scene when an orphaned orangutan, Melani, was looking at Harrison Ford in such a sad and hopeful face, as if she was trying to say, “please help us!!”
Melani is just one of the victims of the terrible deforestation in Indonesia that killed her parents and pushed her to live in sanctuary, Borneo, my home.
I couldn’t sleep tight since i watched the documentary series “Years of Living Dangerously”. This documentary showed me how terrible the deforestation in Indonesia is. It killed all of the living creatures that depend their life on forest for decades, including animals such as Melani, plants, and even the local society or called as orang rimba.
Since that time, I knew that I needed to do something. I and many Indonesian youngsters have heard a lot about this issue but we did not know how terrible the impact is and how to stop this devastation.
A report sponsored by the World Bank and Britain’s Development Arm said that Indonesia was among the world’s top three greenhouse gas emitters after China and USA because of deforestation, peatland degradation, and forest fires. Based on data from The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia has lost 1.1 million hectares of forest each year and this phenomenon has turning Indonesia as a forest-poor country. The drivers of deforestation in Indonesia are illegal logging, conversion, fire, and unsustainable forest exploitation for settlements or palm oil industry. This condition threatens not only the life of rich biodiversity that exist in Indonesia but also threatens the life of all living creatures of this planet due to the global climate issue that Indonesia has contributed to create, as releases 900 Mton carbon dioxide per year.
The biggest obstacle of huge deforestation occured in Indonesia is the lack of awarenes from all stakeholders such as the government, people, and the business sector to preserve the forest as the rich natural resource to sustain the life of all living creatures. People do not realize that everytime they buy deforestation products such as shampoo, soap, butter, paper and many more of their basic needs, they actually kill the woods and threaten the life of all living creatures including themselves. I am not saying that we must not use any products that support the deforestation in Indonesia, but what I am saying is we must use the forest function wisely and together conserve it for our own goodness, to support the life of our own generation, because the suffering forest will kill the plants, animals, the natural sources that we need, and after all human will suffer too even die or extinct because we have no place and natural source to support our life.
The two strongest power, business and politic have pulled all forest’s function to be commercially exploited. The intransparancy of government, corruption and the big corporates that provides many people’s daily needs have been blocking the forest conservation law enforcement in Indonesia. This situation has driven most Indonesian people to be even more careless and powerless with the enforcement of forest conservation law. They still have no awareness and faith that every each of their voices will determine the future of Indonesia.
Fortunately, there’s still hope. The official website of World Resource Institute (WRI) 2015 data stated that recognizing the national and global importance of the tropical landscape and the people in it, Indonesian government has made encouraging decisions. Indonesia has voluntarily committed to a minimum 26% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and developed a strategy for land use and forestry emissions, extended a moratorium on new clearing of primary forest and peatlands from 2 to 4 years (2013-2015), and increasingly recognized the right of forest communities and indigenous people. Indonesia must balance these environmental and social goals with a rapidly growing economy based on natural resources and corporate interests. The government is not alone, because many international and local NGOs such as Greenpeace, World Resource Institute (WRI), and Koalisi Pemuda Hijau Indonesia have been working very hard as well to solve the deforestation issues in Indonesia by defending the local communities’ importance in rural areas that depend their lives and livelihood on forest.
Even though the government and these NGOs have been working hard to solve this issue, it seems like Indonesia still have a long way to go. To solve this issue, Indonesia needs to establish a strong and solid collaboration among all stakeholders, including government, NGOs, business sector, environmental activist, scientist and even youth.
In interview with Harrison Ford in 2013 Zulkifli Hasan, Indonesia’s Minister of Forestry believed that “democracy” as the new model of Indonesia has encouraged most the deforestation to occur in Indonesia. People view this “democracy” as their valid right to exploit forest as much as they want.
I do not agree with that. Instead, I would view “democracy” as an opprtunity for Indonesian people to fight back, to spread their voices for the “good” to be heard by many people out there through campaigns in social media, newspaper, and television. Democracy should be viewed as an era to spread the right voices such as touching heart every Indonesian people to conserve the forest.
Everyone has power to spread their voices to be heard, because in this rapid digital era even for one simple information from one small area will give huge inspiring impact to other people in another part of the world, such as what changed me after watching the documentary film “Years of Living Dangerously” that shared by one of my friend. Imagine what will happen if there are more people who spread this video, more people who are watching it, more people will change and get inspired to do something like me over this issue, then how many plants, animals and the life of living creatures including human that are existing and to come in the future that will be saved?
Everyone has their own ways to choose their fights. I choose writing as my way, to publish in online medias and national/local newspapers in Indonesia as “start-up method” of my campaigns, to encourage more Indonesian people especially youth as the generation that will inherit and take responsibility to maintain and overcome any good or bad impacts that are existing now in the future, to fight together the huge devastation of deforestation in Indonesia. I made my commitment that from today I would start my campaign to fight for it and I hope everyone will be encouraged, motivated, and inspired to do the same even bigger by both spreading my voice or making their own way.
Because I believe…
We can shape our own future…
So let’s fight!
(Ayu Pratiwi Muyasyaroh/Kimia UGM)