Singing our Way to Climate Change

By Amy Chavez
For The Bali Times

This may be the first karaoke column you’ve ever read. So turn on that internal radio in your head, the one that holds millions of songs you haven’t heard in years, and sing along with me. When you see the word “chorus,” that’s your clue to join in.

In honor of the United Nations Climate Change Conference going on right now in Bali, a global meeting bringing together people from all over the world, the topic of this column is the environment.

Chorus (Beatles): Come together, right now, overseas.

With this conference, I would like to welcome the over 10,000 delegates from abroad:

Chorus (Three Dog Night): Delegate, delegate, dance to the music … and especially the UN climate change chief Yvo de Boer

Chorus (Black Sabbath): I am environ man…

By hosting this conference, Indonesia is showing its commitment to climate change. As if that wasn’t enough for one week, also this week, Indonesians planted 89 million trees. They’ll plant another 10 million this week. That’s almost 100 million trees for a population of 220 million people. My question is, why stop there? All countries should be doing this. C’mon people, tree the world!

Chorus (Bob Geldof): Tree the world, let them know it’s Christmas time, tree the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again.

An Animal Welfare Institute report estimates that up to 70 percent of the timber being processed in Indonesia is illegally logged. While it’s important to replace the trees we cut down, it’s also important to keep as much primary old-growth forest as possible. Logging, forest clearing and fires have eliminated much of Indonesia’s old-growth forest. Don’t know what primary old-growth forest is, nor it’s effects on the orangutan population? How about fig trees and hornbills? Do you know where your ply wood comes from?

Chorus (Sam Cooke): Don’t know much about history, don’t know much climatology…

Legal or illegal, much of the Indonesian rainforest ends up inside furniture shops in Bali. Bali may well boast the world’s largest indoor tropical rain forest. What hasn’t been turned into furniture is furniture-in-waiting.

So I propose that we give back to nature by returning the indoor tropical rainforest. Take that furniture, as is, and put it back into the forests. Who says orangutans don’t like to sit on sofas now and then? What gibbon wouldn’t enjoy walking on the furniture? Proboscis monkeys would love to have railings to slide down from their trees. Snakes would love to hide in dresser drawers and could use coat trees to hang their skins on. And what slow Loris wouldn’t love to hang from rafters at night? It’s no different than hanging a bird house from a tree.

Chorus (Bon Jovi): Trees’re wanted, dead or alive.

Such accessories in the forest would be a boon to ecotourism, creating an instant Tropical Rainforest Park. Entrance fees would go to help protect the forest. Take a five-day trek through the rainforests and sleep on a canopied bed among the flora and fauna. During an early morning trek, stop for morning tea at an open-air cafe, where you can sit at beautifully handcrafted coffee tables and enjoy a cuppa with the orangutans. We’ve got to start giving back what we’ve taken.

Chorus (Beatles): Give back, give back to where they once belonged.

With all the talk about carbon footprints these days, along with the increased security measures to pass between borders, you wonder why they aren’t carbon fingerprinting for climate terrorists. People need to be responsible for their decimation of the environment. But with so much corruption at high levels, the real threats to illegal logging have been minimal. Earnest attempts to control illegal logging in Tanjung Puting National Park in 1999 were met with resistance.

Chorus (Simon & Garfunkle): Whispered in the sounds of violence…

We must also tackle newer problems such as slash-and-burn forest clearing techniques responsible for the Southeast Asian haze that has had a detrimental effect on people by releasing large amounts of dangerous carbons into the air. Deforestation for pulp, timber and palm oil plantations contributes considerably to greenhouse emissions.

Chorus (Midnight Oil): How can we sleep when our earth is burning?

Hopefully, forest emission cuts will be eligible for carbon trading as a result of the current UN Climate Change Conference. If Indonesia could be compensated for preserving its forests, we would all benefit.

Chorus (Louis Armstrong): And I think to my health, what a wonderful world.

But one thing is for sure: We’ve got to do something quick. Because…

Chorus (Bob Dylan): The climes, they are a-changing.

Filed under: The Island

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