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Kamila Khalishah

Year-Prize: The 13th Eco-generation Environmental Essay Competition     Item: Time for Nature

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“Ela Manana Luar Bara Helat: How Indigenous Wisdom Can Heal The Planet”


Kamila Khalishah (Indonesia)
Honorable Mentions



As we know, biodiversity is all components living on this planet, consisting of various levels, such as biodiversity of the ecosystem, type, and genetic.  The existence of biodiversity is interconnected and required each other to grow and reproduce to form a living system. Therefore, biodiversity is an essential element in the sustainability of the planet and its contents, including human existence.
Biodiversity can be utilized as the source of food, medicines, energy, clothing, water and air supply, protection from natural disasters, and climate adjustment. And also, people can make use of biodiversity for social, cultural, and economic developments. But today, there are many occurrences related to environmental decay, particularly in the forest, for example, forest wildfire. These activities will adversely impact other components, both ecological and living things.
Let's explore the impact and consequence of those actions following some of the world's numerous events!
• Amazon Forest Fire, Brazil
We can say that the Amazon forest is the largest rain forest in the world. However, in 2019 there was a terrible disaster in this forest; it was wildfire. Based on data of INPE Brazil, this increases up to 83% from the earlier period. The experts expect this increase to be due to increased deforestation. Adriane Muelbert, an ecologist, said that if deforestation continues to expand, it will impact climate change, where we lose an ecosystem that collects the carbon emission each year and that biodiversity became endangered and even extinct.
• Kalimantan and Sumatera Forest Fire, Indonesia
As one of the megadiverse countries, Indonesia depends on the forest for food sources and livelihood because it has many and vast forests. But on the dry season in 2019, Sumatera and Kalimantan forests are burnt. According to the former police chief general, Tito Karnavian, this happens caused by a specific person to free the forest land quickly and cheaply. And based on data of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency of Indonesia, air quality in Kalimantan or Sumatera reach the danger level (very unhealthy). This condition can inhibit activities and harm health surely. Another disadvantageous impact is orangutan populations which threatened and protected will become extinct. According to information from the chairman of the Foundation of International Animal Rescue (IAR) Indonesia, Tantyo Bangun said that there are two orangutans found in the tree in the middle of a burned land. The conditions are dehydrated, and there is an air rifle on one of the orangutan's faces.
• Australia Forest Fire, Australia
The worst wildfires in Australia is stared in late July 2019. The causes of these fires are dominated by high hot temperatures and a long dry season exacerbated by climate change. The impact is that more than 7.3 billion hectares of land were fired, 27 people died, and it is estimated that about 1 billion animals die. Even koalas will become endangered animals that endemic animals of Australia.
These examples of forest detriment actions are only a handful from many defects forest and environmental which caused by human or nature. Realizing that the animals and plants which are protected and threatened will die, it is pitiful indeed. This impact is not only to animals and plants, but we also have to realize that this will affect biodiversity (by ecosystem, type, and genetic) for sure.
Consequently, we have to protect, care, and conserve biodiversity, such as the forest, if we do not want something serious happens in the further. So, what can we do for them? We can learn from one of the struggle stories to conserve Indonesia's forests; namely, The indigenous Dayak Iban Sungai Utik people live in Kapuas Hulu District, West Kalimantan. They are very upholding customs and protect the forest. This forest covers an area of 9,480 hectares. The location is in a protected forest area surrounding 3,862 hectares, in a limited production forest area, including 5,518 hectares, and other use areas of 100 hectares. Their philosophy is "forest and nature provide their life and also show them to the world. Then, the forest is like their father, the earth is as their mother, and the water is their blood."
In daily life, they learn how to survive in the forest, look for fish and vegetables, and cook in nature. This habit does not mean keeping away from technological and educational developments. But instead, it becomes a challenge for them to obtain high education without leaving Iban's cultures and have to protect the forest.
By their knowledge and awareness, they always clear the road to clean water installation upstream to ensure clean water flows to each house every day. Moreover, there are many rules in Dayak Iban Sungai Utik culture, and they must obey it without exception so that their ancestors will not scold or even carry disaster to the planet. Some of the rules are if they want to cut a tree, they have to substitute twice. Also, do not allow farm at the top of the hill because it has a function to spread seeds down the mountain. Their habits, rules, and awareness of saving the forest awarded them several environmental awards, such as Equator Prize 2019, Kalpataru, and forest protection decree as customary forests.
Lastly, as we know, biodiversity is vital, not only losing some animals and plants, but also as food sources, air-water supply, and alternative income to improve life (health and education). So, let's protect, care, and conserve biodiversity by using natural materials wisely and keep the environment green!


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