Update from Ranu Welum
Indonesia’s rainforests are one of Earth’s most biologically and culturally rich landscapes. Unfortunately, in line with the increasing pace of Indonesia’s economic growth, forest loss continues every year. The scale of destruction of our rainforest is so large that it now has a significant impact on global climate. For this reason, Youth Act Kalimantan initiated a youth movement, ‘The Heartland Project’, which aims to mobilize young people from all over Indonesia to participate in planting trees and restoring remaining forests in their area.
In 2017 our country, Indonesia ranks third after Brazil and The Democratic Republic of the Congo as the country with the largest deforestation rate in the world (1). Based on records from the Ministry of Forestry, between 2000 and 2010 Indonesia lost up to 1.2 million hectares of forest every year (2). This is the equivalent of 2 times the size Jakarta every year. The main factors of deforestation in Indonesia are the extensive conversion of forests into plantations, illegal logging, and industrial unsustainable development.
The loss of millions of hectares of Indonesia’s forests has a large impact economically, socially, culturally and environmentally. Many unique fauna and flora that can only be found in Indonesia’s forests become endangered. Local people whose lives depend on forest products are being strangled. The negative impact of the destruction and deforestation of the rainforests not only affects Indonesian people but also the entire world. Large scale deforestation releases massive amounts of carbon emissions into our atmosphere, which results in the increase of global temperatures. But on the other hand, if the forest is well maintained, it can be the key factor to overcoming the global warming and climate change that is now threatening the future of our planet.
If we continue to remain silent and do nothing, decades from now we are at risk of losing our entire forest. Everyone needs to be part of the solution, especially young people who have great powers as catalysts for change. Therefore, Youth Act engages young people from all corners of Indonesia to participate in restoring Indonesia’s forests, which are the lungs of the world through the HEARTLAND PROJECT. There are 1,188 Indonesian Youths who join this movement to plant 2,535 trees across Indonesia in their homes, communities, and schools. In Kalimantan, the Youths went even further, planting trees in former coal mining sites or burned areas.