Sunday, December 02, 2007
  Green Gleanings - December 07

The eyes of the world will be focussed on Bali for the Global Warming and Climate Change Conference hosted by Indonesia and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, joint Nobel Peace Prize winner from 3 - 14 December.

You can get all the news on the conference, its speeches, declarations and reports without reading this blog, so I'll continue to Think Globally but Write Locally. It's worth bearing in mind that Indonesia is a key player in both causing and easing global warming. Besides Bali, as you all know, isn't Indonesia.

The November issue of the Down To Earth Newsletter focuses on Papua and its deforestation.

Large areas of Papua's rich and diverse forests are being targeted by Indonesian and overseas investors for conversion into oil palm plantations. At the same time, discussions are in progress to reserve large areas of Papua's forest to generate carbon credits for trade on international markets.

Investors include Koreans, Chinese, Singaporeans and Malaysians, as well as their Indonesian partners such as Sinar Mas. All of them have the backing of the Indonesian military.

The fact that the military and police are at hand to protect the company's interests is in itself a reminder of Papua's long record of human rights atrocities committed by the armed forces, and the history of impunity. The military presence is also more entrenched. With the creation of more districts in Papua, more district military and police command posts have been established, ensuring a tighter military mesh.

This puts further pressure on local natural resources, since a large part of the military budget is made up from external businesses. Personnel often turn to resource-based projects to generate income - either legally or illegally - but both in ways that push aside the interests of local people.

Still in Papua, logging damage has been revealed by secret filming.

Paul Redman, who has worked on projects for the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) in Indonesia for five years, said: "These are the voices of local people, the voices of the forest - explaining the issues that directly affect them and their lives. They are films made by Papuans, about Papua - they are the real thing. They were researched, written and filmed by them."

Riau in Sumatra has already been featured in Green Indonesia, but Down To Earth also focusses on developments in Aceh. Download the newsletter: it is well-researched with loads of footnotes.

Indonesia's women will plant 10 million trees to help make up for the massive deforestation all over Indonesia. SBY, Indonesia's President, was due to plant the first tree yesterday prior to popping off to Bali to check the arrangements for the expected 10,000 delegates, NGOs, journalists, jamu sellers ......

According to Mrs. SBY, tree planting is a hobby of women and none of them cut trees.

Dewi Motik, chairman of the tree planting organizing committee said that the planting of 10 million trees was also expected to be put in the book of records, However, as "Indonesia needs to plant around two billion trees in the next five years, the 10 million trees that we will plant are a very small number."

The country's hall of mirrors might be a more appropriate place. It's getting rather full of cock-eyed policies.

WHO can whistle for bird flu samples

The health minister, Siti Fadilah Supari, is apparently worried that any treatment developed abroad could become a lucrative asset for its developer. Rather than allowing this to happen, samples found here won't be sent abroad for analysis and development of antidotes.

Wealth before health? Dog in a manger?

On The Right Tracks?

There have been a couple of initiatives announced recently which are worth praising, if not yet wholeheartedly.

On Friday a new inner city train service was launched , or rather resuscitated as it ran until 1978 when it was shut down due to a lack of passengers.

The air-conditioned cars, which run on the Ciliwung Blue Line and can carry up to 400 passengers per trip from Manggarai, South Jakarta, are expected to encourage commuters to leave their automobiles at home.

State-owned railway company PT Kareta Api has prepared 32 cars for the new line, but currently only four are in use due to a lack of drivers.

Despite its huge capacity, the train failed to attract passengers on its first day of operation due to a lack of promotion. In the morning only 12 people bought tickets.

That sounds like a ready made excuse to shut the service down again.

The Post also reported that transportation company PT Zebra Nusataran and state-owned railway operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) have agreed to build a railway connecting the Jababeka industrial estate in Cikareng, West Java, with Tanjung Priok Port in North Jakarta.

Hopefully, when operational, that will substantially reduce the number of trucks on the inner-city toll roads responsible for most of the traffic jams.


Did you know that the 6m servers in America's data centres, when factoring in the energy needed to run and cool them, consume more energy than all the US's TV sets (over 300m).

This blog comes to you from the Good 'Ol USA. So perhaps we should praise Google's initiative to to develop and help stimulate the creation of renewable energy technologies that are cheaper than coal-generated power.

The effort is aimed at reducing Google’s own mounting energy costs to run its vast data centers, while also fighting climate change and helping to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

And that surely is a true definition of Corporate Social Responsibility.

(This is a regular column for Green Indonesia, where I am archiving my specifically 'green' writings. Cempaka-Nature carries many more posts, generally lifted straight from the Jakarta Post and elsewhere. It's a good source, but is bandwidth heavy - currently 657kbs for one page, which is an over-consumption of server time.)


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