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Youth Speak for Bumi Tambun Bungai

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Central Kalimantan is the second widest province in Indonesia after Papua. In the recent years, Central Kalimantan was being an important barometer for the success of forest and peatland management, not only in Indonesia but the world.

Problems of forest and peatland in Central Kalimantan nowadays came from the fault of policy in the past. Two decades ago, the peatland that spread out between Katingan River and Kahayan River opened for farming area under Peatland Farming Project. But at the end, the project was failed and leaves the peatland damage in more than five hundred thousand hectares at Pulang Pisau District.

The dried peatland finally become flammable. It happens each years, and the climax happened in 2015. Sixteen thousand fire points be in Central Kalimantan and around 26,000 hectares area burnt out.

Hundred thousands Central Kalimantan people has been affected from the fire and haze. Their activity hampered, their health threatened, and their environment polluted as well as the air and water. The education of thousands children has been hampered. And we are still speculating about how the fire could impact the fetal growth in mother’s womb that smoke inhale.

The vanishing of forest was be the beginning of historical tradition destruction from thousand years ago. Story about local wisdom in natural resource management, like or not, be replaced with the nature that already destructed. And then this is be the bad precedent for the government. Because the government seems so neglectful and not able to protect life of the people. Are we still do nothing when we see this condition? This is the time for youth to make a move, find ideas, express the creativity and innovation for the better future of Bumi Tambun Bungai.

Held at KONI Building, Palangka Raya on October 15th-16th 2016, various element of nation showed and expressed their creature for forest and peatland conservation, nature, and culture. Youth become important element that should be involved in environmental conservation, cultural preservation, and responsive for any disaster such as forest fire in Central Kalimantan. Youth could be involved in any positive activities to reach those aims.

“Youth must always be creative and innovative. The positive thing such as art event can boost the people understanding about condition of environment in Palangka Raya and Central Kalimantan tho” said Mofit Saptono, the Vice Major of Palangka Raya (16/10/2016)

Mofit attended the event “Pemuda Bicara: Untuk LIngkungan, Budaya dan Siaga Bencana di Bumi Tambun Bungai” at KONI building Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan. Many activities did in that event, such as movie screening about Katingan-Kahayan Landscape, photo exhibition, and handcraft exhibition from local communities there. Awarding for the best environmental documentary for local community, and the best feature article for the journalist and student as the creation for forest and peatland in Central Kalimantan was be the peak of the event.

This event also livened with cultural art performance by many communities like Darung Tingang, Shouts of Wrumbii, Terapung, Oi Palangka Raya, Riak Renteng Tingang, Palangka Raya Theatre Community, Mutan Borneo, Karungut, Betang Batarung, Bellacoustic, Fresh Band, Gereaction, Republik Borneo Band, Hutan Tropis Band, and the guest star Navicula Band.

Rosenda Chandra Kasih, Coordinator of Katingan-Kahayan Landscape USAID Lestari said that this event showed us the creativity of youth in Palangka Raya to delivered message to protect and preserve the environment of Central Kalimantan. “USAID Lestari through Multi Stakeholder Forum (MSF) will build a positive collaboration with any parties from various circle by conduct our programs” she added.

One of activity that conducted in Pemuda Bicara is public discussion. By the discussion, we can concluded that the root of problem about disaster in Central Kalimantan is the damage of peatland ecosystem. Therefore, peatland ecosystem must always be restored and protected. We need comprehensive completion and involve all parties, like the right policy and support from industry party, mass media, environmental activists, and other people elements. The most important thing is the right peatland management that could be worthwhile for local community.

The Head of Forestry Service of Central Kalimantan Province, Sipet Hermanto in discussion panel with the farmers that practiced the land preparation without burning method said that this method is the long term solution for the practice of eco-friendly peatland farming. Beside the controversy, the emergence of prohibition to burn the peatland, we need to find out some model and technique to solve this issue in the future.

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