EARTH HOUR 2012 GARUDA INDONESIA GROUP
Climate change and global warming has been the utmost living threat for human being. The change in weather pattern, supply of water, the change in planting season, raising sea water level, and forest fire are some examples of the few destructing factor that have affected people in the world recently. And, with no surprise, the whole living existence such as plants and animals will experience the same problem. Human dependency to electricity has been increasing from time to time, and majority of the existing power plan still using fossil fuel (such as oil, coal, and natural gas) which emitted carbon dioxide. This problem directly increased the average temperature of the earth.
Earth Hour, supported by WWF, has become one of the biggest energy campaigns in the world. Earth Hour collected global initiative from all element in the world, governments and individuals, to contribute in small scale action which is turning off lights and all electronic devices for 1 (one) hour, from 20.30 to 21.30 (local time).
This campaign is taken out every year, specifically in the third week of March. 2012 is the fourth year of Indonesia participation in such campaign, the D-day was on Saturday, March 31st, 2012. Participation of many level of society in this campaign is expected to raise awareness and further mass action in changing people’s attitude in using energy. With such attitude, it was expected that the campaign could lessen the impact of climate change and make the earth a better place of living.
2012 is also the fourth year of Garuda Indonesia participation in Earth Hour campaign. Each year, from 2009 to 2012, Garuda Indonesia’s Earth Hour campaign have different and particular theme:
REFORESTATION OF SEBANGAU NATIONAL PARK
In Partnership of Garuda Indonesia and WWF-Indonesia 2008 - 2012
Forest peat land of Sebangau National Park is one of the natural conservation in the Province of Central Kalimantan. It lies on the coordinate 113o 18’ - 114 o 03’ BT and 01 o 55’ – 03 o 07’ LS. Sebangau National Park is the world’s largest orangutan habitat with coverage area of 57,000 hectares. This national park is under the administration of Katingan Regency, Pulang Pisau Regency and Palangkaraya Municipality.
The natural ground of this national park is consisted of dry forest peat land and watered only by rainfall. The ground was poor of soil nutrient and the amount of organic content of the land was just 65% of normal. The water color in Sebangau River streams inside the national park is brownish-black, affected by the superseded of organic materials inside the peat land. In the dry season, the water level in Sebangau River reduced to 1 – 1,5 m as a matter of low intensity of rainfall in the area. Sebangau National Park is one of the type of ecosystem that functioned as carbon storage and regulator of hydrological cycle which has tremendous effect to local, regional, and global environment.
Before the national park reinstated as conservation area under ministerial decree, Sebangau area was a timber production forest managed by several forest concessioners. Their irresponsible management has made the forest susceptible to forest fire. It became apparent that forest fire was a real threat in the era around 1990 to 2000. As part of conservation, the area were then legalized as national park through Minister of Forestry decree No. 423/Menhut-II/2004 on October 19, 2004. Soon after, the cooperation of local area people, the government, the civil society organization, and business sector has sought to destabilize the forest peat land to its natural feature.
Peat land evolutes for thousands of years from unravel vegetation, as the effect of high water level and swamped condition. The water that soaked the vegetation has reduced the biomass oxidation which then turns into peat land. The depth of the peat land is around 3 to 12 meter. The forest peat land itself brings benefit to the land as it stores carbon needed by the land. The release of carbon deposit into the atmosphere has negative impact for the earth since it contributes to the global warming and climate change. As the effect of this, the peat land is no longer capable to absorb the water.
Canalization or establishment of access route in the peat land during illegal logging period has contributed to drain the land. The canal was used as a route to transfer the timber for commercial purposes. The canalization activity was lead to massive forest fire in 1997. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the forest fire at that time subscribe to the biggest release of carbon to the atmosphere man has ever seen.
RESTORATION AND REHABILITATION
The extension of peat land degradation in Indonesia, especially in Sebangau National Park, as an impact of illegal logging, drainage, and forest fires has released a massive amount of carbon to the atmosphere. The decline in ground water levels is adding to oxidation and evaporation of the peat land. Therefore, rehabilitation of the peat land needed to ensure that the ground water level is on the sufficient level to stabilize carbon dioxide emission.
The conservation activity was taken out to block the existing canal so as the hydrological function could be restored. Canal blocking was also aimed to control the water stream down the peat land and substantially raise the groundwater level. With the action, we may see that in dry season, peat land can keep its moisture condition and therefore reduce the impact of forest fire. The canal blocking also benefits the local community so they can continue the fishing activity in the area. To sum up, the canal blocking has sought to restore the ideal environment of the peat land.
Besides canal blocking, the program also involves tree planting action. WWF who takes lead the process started NEWtrees program in the late 2007. By embracing related stakeholders to take part in this program, it was expected that the efforts to save peat land in Sebangau National Park will come to an end successfully.
In November 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Garuda Indonesia and WWF Indonesia was signed by both parties. MoU number DS/PERJ/MOU/DZ-3225/2007 basically binds both parties in the program “Contribution for Conservation” and develop other means of cooperation related to environment conservation. In 2008, Garuda Indonesia leads other company to tree planting program in Sebangau National Park.
Garuda Indonesia planted 100,000 trees in the area of 250 hectares in Sebangau Hulu Blok I – X. The tree planting was started on April 15h, 2008 with the presence of the CEO & President Director of Garuda Indonesia, Executive Director of WWF-Indonesia, Vice Governor of Central Kalimantan Province, Mr. Emil Salim, and other officials from the capital and the province.
The tree planting was divided in 2 (two) phase. The first phase was covering 130 hectares area and the second phase covering 120 hectares area. In this regards, WWF-Indonesia assisted by local community in the tree planting program. There were 6-8 persons from the community for each 25 hectares of land. The program came to an end in December 2008. There were three types of tree planted in this program: Belangeran (Shore Belangeran), Jelutung (Dyera Lowii), and Pulai (Alstonia sp.).
In the last visit by Garuda Indonesia observer on July 15th, 2012, it was found out that Jelutung (Dyera Lowii), planted by the CEO & President Director of Garuda Indonesia Mr. Emirsyah Satar four years before, have grown for ± 100 cm. However, if we compare it to the other two types of trees, Jelutung progress is slightly behind.