Post #4: Indonesia’s (and the World’s) Environmental Crisis

Our world is facing a global, environmental crisis. There is an overwhelming consensus among the scientific community that this recent climate shift our planet is experiencing is caused by human activity. The earth’s overall, average temperature has risen by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past one hundred years. According to the New York Times, the ten-year period between 2000 and 2010 was the hottest decade on record. Recent date from NASA shows that 2016 was the hottest year since annual temperature record-keeping began in 1880. 2016 was the third year in a row it had been “the hottest year ever.” Scientists agree that this drastic increase in global temperature is caused by an increase in CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as a result of the burning of fossil fuels. We are already witnessing the drastic effects of climate change. The increase in global temperature has led to rising sea levels and ocean acidification. Small, island nations close to sea level such as Palau and Kiribati are already experiencing the consequences of climate change. Rising sea levels have forced many of their citizens to migrate to homes further inland. Global leaders must begin taking action to combat climate change immediately. However, the earth’s major contributors to climate change, China and the United States, have been reluctant to adopt environmentally friendly policies at the risk of endangering domestic business. The United States’ newest administration will likely roll back regulations on US businesses, allowing them to release excess CO2 into the atmosphere and further contribute to climate change. Government officials need to be doing the opposite: passing strict regulations on corporation’s fuel emissions and providing incentives for businesses to “go green.” The current US administration has also approved plans to restart construction on various pipelines, which will have a serious impact on the environment. The government also needs to restrict fracking and drilling if the earth is going to start recovering.

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Rising sea levels are already affecting the island nation of Palau (via PBS)

Indonesia is currently facing the effects of global climate change. As explained in my previous blog post, shifting climate patterns are affecting the monsoon that supplies the country with most of the water it uses for irrigation and agriculture. As a result, the country is currently facing a water crisis. According to water.org over 33 million people in Indonesia lack access to safe drinking water. Almost 100 million lack access to acceptable sanitation facilities. Many Indonesians lack the ability to improve their water quality situation because over 36% of the Indonesian population lives on less than three US dollars a day. Water.org began setting up programs in Indonesia beginning in 2014. Through the WaterCredit program, water.org has supplied Indonesia with over fifteen thousand WaterCredit loans, which is the equivalent of 4.4 million US dollars’ worth of loans. Over 66 thousand Indonesians have had the opportunity to improve their access to clean water through the programs operated by water.org.

 

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Many Indonesians struggle to find safe drinking water (via Healthcare Asia)

Greenpeace International is another environmental agency working in Indonesia. Their main goal is to protect biodiversity and prevent deforestation within the country. Large portions of Indonesia’s rainforests are being harvested because they provide plants that can be made into palm oil and paper. It is estimated that over 50% of Indonesia’s rainforests have been destroyed. This has devastating consequences on the health and biodiversity of the region. The burning down of trees has caused smog to cover villages located near the forests. Many animal species that call the rainforests home are now at risk of becoming endangered. The Javan Tiger is a species native to Indonesia that went extinct in the 1970s as a result of deforestation. Indonesia has recently taken steps to combat their environmental issues, but many more actions need to be taken in order to save what little forest Indonesia has left.

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Indonesia’s once beautiful rainforests are being destroyed (via Rainforest Action Network)

 

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