Live, Learn, and Grow 

a digital footprint of a daydreamer, full-time adventurer and a mother

Sangaji Saka

I Just Want to Make Love to You

Raga cinta bau buku-buku tua. Lembab menjamur bercampur debu kecoklat-coklatan. Hampir setiap hari Raga menghabiskan waktunya di situ, sebuah perpustakaan kecil di sudut kota Bandung. Ruang berukuran 6×4 bertumpuk buku-buku dari segala usia dengan berbagi warna. Di keranjang bawah nya ada buku cerita Asterix, Tintin dan beberapa komik Jepang berserakan. Tumben sepi, hanya suara alunan intro musik Blues kental dengan beat trombone memenuhi seantero ruangan. Raga mengenali teriakan berat berkarakter soul tahun 50an milik penyanyi perempuan itu.
I….
Just…
Want….
to Make….
Love to You….
Etta James dengan I Just Want to Make Love to You. Siang ini Raga mendengarnya sebagai sebuah teriakan feminisme dalam tubuh perempuan yang merasa berkuasa atas dirinya sendiri. Wujud erangan kebebasan yang haus akan sebuah persetubuhan. Lagipula, pada masa itu nyaris semua perempuan menjadi feminis. Beberapa diantara pemikiran mereka berpendapat bahwa perempuan berhak memutuskan apa yang terjadi pada tubuh mereka, mereka memiliki anak atau tidak tergantung pada diri mereka semata. Lelaki tak lain hanyalah kebutuhan biologis, dan lelaki hanya alat pemuas nafsu perempuan.
Yah memang kemampuan perempuan untuk menghasilkan kehidupan dapat memberikan kita semacam perasaan berkuasa. Kematian, kegelapan, dan kesulitan pun lenyap, kita akan menghadirkan bagian lain dari diri kita di dunia, dan keajaiban ini melenyapkan segala sesuatu yang lain.
I….
Just…
Want….
to Make….
Love to You….
Hah, ada yang aneh. Kali ini bukan suara itu datang bukan milik Etta James. Tapi suara lelaki yang berteriak ngga karuan dari balik meja administrasi, dimana mereka biasa mendata buku yang dipinjam. Raga langsung menutup buku Second Sex milik Simone de Beuvoir yang sedari tadi dia baca. Dimasukkannya dengan cepat ke celah kosong diantara rak berlabel Vagina Monologue. Sang pemilik suara sumbang muncul dari kolong meja bersama dua tumpuk buku yang ia pindahkan dari bawah. Laki-laki berkacamata, dengan rambut ikal setengah panjang menutupi dahinya.
Mengenali sang pemilik wajah Raga pun berteriak. “Sakaaa!!! Elo gangguin waktu meditasi gw dahh!!!”, teriak Raga ke arah laki-laki itu. Si pemilik suarapun akhirnya memutuskan bersiul-siul mengikuti irama lagu. “Ga udah makan belum? Temenin gw makan yuk, si Bibi bikin sayur sop tuh” Raga melalui lelaki itu tanpa berkata-kata menuju pintu dibelakang meja administrasi, pergi meninggalkan si lelaki yang mencuri pandangan pada langkah Raga.

 

Cireng Kita

“Eh Ka, denger ye! Emang lo kira dunia selebar kolor lo apa?? Lo kira Gading bakalan mau balik ama elo karena elo dah mergokin dia selingkuh sama Joni dan dia nangis-nangis minta maaf sama elo karena ketauan??”
“Hellow?!? bull shit deh itu semua. Nih taruhan sama gw, dia bakalan minta putus sama elo dan jalan sama si Joni.” Saka melipat wajahnya diatas meja kantin, mengatuk-ngatukan dahi berkerutnya pelan. Berhenti sesaat lalu lanjut mengatuk-ngatuk lagi, diam.

“Masak sih Ga, dia setega itu? Gw kira hubungan gw dah bae-bae aja.”
Raga meletakan kepalanya diatas meja berhadapan dengan Saka, mencari-cari matanya, berharap mendapatkan bola mata besar teduh yang selalu bisa menenangkan setiap orang yang menatapnya.

“Ka dengerin gw deh, kalo elo berfikir selama ini hubungan elo bae-bae aja. Itu berarti elo sedang menggali liang kubur lo sendiri. Hubungan sehat itu ngga lepas dari masalah dan penyelesaian. Lah elo ama Gading dah kaya kebo dicocok idung.”

Melengos kacau ngga tega Raga bangkit dari tempat duduknya beranjak dua langkah kebelakang mencomot cireng hangat yang baru saja diangkat Mang Oding dari wajan penuh minyak jelantahnya. Sial, masih panas! Maki Raga dalam hati. Ia tarik kertas robekan majalah sebagai tadah, Mang Oding senyum-seyum melihat Raga kelojotan.

“Nih cireng panas!”

Raga menyodorkan kantong kertas berisi dua buah cireng basah berminyak di samping wajah Saka. Dalam reaksi sepersekian detik Saka memasukan gigitan pertama cireng panas mengembang alot ke dalam mulutnya disusul satu buah cengek hijau muda utuh. Raga pun menganga layaknya anak SD melihat atraksi debus untuk pertama kali. Saka memang penggemar cireng sejati, tapi cengek? Jangankan cengek, saos tomat ABC susah cukup membuatnya mampir ke Eureka numpang boker berkali-kali. Ditambah kali ini Saka tampak maju tak gentar merasakan panasnya cireng yang mengepul disetiap gigitannya.

“Gaaa!! Ambilin gw combro dong! Gw laper nih!”

Sambil mengunyah dengan mulut penuh Saka menyuruh Raga kembali ke Mang Oding. Raga pun berdiri beranjak mengambil dua buah combro dari keranjang gorengan Mang Oding, kali Raga memastikan diri untuk mengambil combro yang sudah tidak panas. Hanya untuk memastikan Saka tidak terus melukai bibir dan lidahnya. Sudah cukup hatinya saja yang terluka.

 

Sayur Aroma Raga Basi

“Ga.. gaa.. gaaa!!!” Saka menepuk nepuk pipi Raga panik. Berharap mulut Raga tidak mengeluarkan bus-busa putih macam over dosis.

“Apaaaa sihhhhh!!! sakitt tauu!!” teriak Raga balas ngamuk sambil melempar botol Heineken ke arah Saka.

“Anjing! bego lo ye! Gw kirain lo mati! Lah itu ngapain terlentang di ubin pake melotot ngga kedip-kedip?” mahluk hidup mana coba yang bisa melotot segitu lama. Saka ngedumel sambil membawa keluar gayung ditangannya kembali kekamar mandi.

“Ngapain loh bawa-bawa gayung? Mo numpang boker lagi?”.

“Kagak nyet! Gw tadi mo nyiram lo kali-kali aja lo bisa sadar.” Dasar Saka bodoh, kalo ngga numpang boker gara-gara dia lagi mencret pasti cuman mampir mo minta minum. Saka pun berhenti didepan pintu kamar, mematung dengan tampang melongo mengitari pandangan sekitar kamar.

“Ga..ga.. elo cewek apa anak babi sih? Ini kamar lo kenapa jadi kaya tempat sampah gini??”

“Udah deh, lagi kepencet tombol shuflle nya nih, kalo ngga bisa bantuin ngatur perasaan gw mendingan lo beliin gw cimol bumbu kacang di depan gerbang sono!” Saka memang manusia terbolot yang yang paling seksi, karena bagi dia semua kata-kata manusia selalu terdengar indah di otaknya. Nada sebalku pun tak digubrisnya, kadang aku berfikir apa mungkin rambut gondrong ikal yang jatuh di samping telinganya itu berfungsi sebagai filter.

“Eh tapi keren tuh gambar kaktus di tembok samping lemari. Lo gambar pake crayon yak?” Saka mengambil ancang-ancang ala Pak Tino Sidin mengomentari buku gambar anak-anak di TVRI.

“Itu gambar perempuan bodoh!!!! Dan itu ngga pake crayon, tapi pake lipstik” komentar Raga kecut.

“Uh Ga, koq gw nyium bau-bau sayur basi?” Saka bodoh mengendus-ngendus seisi kamar mencari sumber petaka yang sepertinya akan menghilangkan nafsu makan siangnya.

“Apaaa sihhh?? Gw ngga nyium apa-apa” Teriak Raga kesal. Saka tetap penasaran meyusuri seisi kamar dengan hidungnya. Raga terkikik kecil, menahan tawa dalam hati. Dibayangannya Saka seperti anjing Hus Puppies. Saka mendekati Raga dengan hidung nyengir-nyengir tikus, mendadak berhenti dan melotot. “Gaaaaa, bauuu looo kayak sayur basi!! Lo dah berapa hari ngga mandi??”

“Saaakkkaaaaa, ihhhhhhh rese deeh. Iaa iaa gw dah ngga mandi 3 hari, So what?? “Kagak ada yang mo nyium gw ini, bahkan cowok yang biasa nemenin gw tidur aja udah ninggalin gw”. Saka menatap kaku tak bersuara, mulutnya terkatup rapat tak mau komentar atau pun memberikan reaksi apa-apa. Seperti Saka yang biasa, dia malah ikut berbaring melantai disamping Raga. Raga membalikkan badannya yang tersegal-segal menahan tangis di balik bantal.

Dunia mendadak senyap seperti kedalaman lima meter di bawah permukaan laut, kedap suara dalam duapuluh detik.

“Langit-langit kamar lo keren Ga, pantesan aja lo betah melotot selama itu!” Raga melirik ke wajah Saka, mencoba menangkap maksud kata-katanya. Dia hanya tersenyum memandangi sticker-sticker hologram bintang, bulan dan planet-planet yang tertempel dilangit kamar Raga. Raga memandangi wajah Saka dari samping, bantalnya basah,

tujuh puluh lima detik…

Harmony of Culture and Nature Inside Sentarum Lake

Deep Inside Sentarum Lake West Kalimantan, remains seven virgins of Iban who live in small village named Pengerak. These Iban women belong to Dayak ethnic group whom inhabiting Sentarum Lake area. It was lively evening in Pengerak village, where I’ve spent my night after a long full day trip by boat from Lanjak to Sentarum Lake. The dry season makes our trip faced a lot of difficulties due to the low tide of water that slowing our boat, but a warm hospitality from the villagers seems has covering all the tiredness during the trip.

I stay in one of Dayak Iban traditional longhouses called “rumah betang”, with a single-family dwelling located along rivers. They are still maintain strong links with the forests, as they still harvest non-timber and minor forest products, and practice some form of shifting cultivation. Dayak inhabiting Sentarum area are belong to three ethnic groups: Iban, Embaloh and Kantu’. The Embaloh and Kantu’ inhabit the areas east and west of the lakes, and the Iban mainly occupy the area to the north and northeast of Sentarum. The flat area to the north and northeast of the lakes is called the Emperan, and the Iban in this area call them selves the Emperan Iban.

Dayak Iban very famous for its skill in producing ethnic handicraft, one of the most well know is their weaving skill in “bemban” material (Donax cannaeformis). The bemban reed grows on wet ground near streams or on more hilly terrain. Iban’s bemban is one that famous for its strong, light to deep green plant with broad shiny leaves growing to a height of several meters. Two varieties are used in waiving; “bemban ai” or “bemban paya” (water or marsh bemban) grows closer to water, is fragile and only used in mats. “Bemban batu” or “bemban bukit” (stone or hill bemban), a very close species is tougher and lives on higher ground. It is of a deeper green than the other varieties and is used for baskets.

It was early in the morning when I saw two middle-aged villagers woman start weaving on a mat and a basket. For women in the Iban community weaving is a means of evaluating status. A woman, depending on her use of dye, design and skill, will fit into a certain rank within the community. In order to be a master weaver, Iban woman has to move up from rank to rank. To be successful, a woman has to have a tacit acceptance as an individual of a variety of spiritual agents as well as a creative understanding of the art of weaving.

The Life Above Motive

The handicraft motives made by Iban women represent the identity of the Iban community. Various pattern like nature, plants, animals and creature’s spirit were waved using bemban. One of Iban’s seven virgins named Kancak than offers me several waved mats with different pattern, she told me the name of each motives, and there is one motive that kind of attract me most. The motive called “anak amoi” which means sons of dew; morning moist that dropped in leaves has inspired her when she made this mat.

Iban woman originated those motives from their imagination and dreams that believed coming from the spirit of their ancestors “antu”. Several motives named “buah bernama” considered special and normally used for traditional ceremonies. Each motive illustrate the skill level of the creators and a way of recognizing the ability to compose motives was presented in the form of tattoos named “tegulun” that were drawn all over their knuckles. These tattoos than become their pride and status.  The seven virgins of Iban have been weaving bemban into handy every objects since early age. Today, they are equally expert at weaving this useful reed into modern fashion items such as purses and handbags or household objects like wastepaper baskets or laundry hampers.

To support the development of this community livelihood, most of Iban woman that live in Pengerak village are given economic empowerment training by local NGO’s so they are able to purchase their handicraft directly with visitors with a fair price. Each mats priced differently according to the size, for an average they priced 50,000 IDR for a 1×1 meters un-colored mat.

Villagers are very welcome to train you with the weaving process; you can just sit beside them and learn how to split the bemban properly, helping them with their works, this probably an immeasurable cultural exchange experience you could have.  Although the elders might find some difficulties in using Bahasa in explaining the how-to step, but some of the young villagers already know how speaks in Melayu, they will help you to explain what the elders mean, kind of warm-hearted open hospitality that makes me falling in love with this village at first.

Pengerak village and its people somehow had leaving a deep worth life experience. They had taught me a lot of knowledge and wisdom in how people and nature can life in harmony without too much exploiting on nature. Their modest, traditional way of lives has gives me much more enlightenment in preserving the culture for the balance of the ecosystem, a value that almost forgotten by modern people now days.

Menguji Mental di Gunung Gede

“Naik gunung itu bukan soal fisik Gan, tapi soal mental.” Ujar Pak Juned kepada Gegan, seorang bocah laki-laki berusia delapan tahun yang ikut dalam tim Argapela mendaki puncak Gunung Gede, 30 Juni 2013 lalu. Bagi Gegan yang berusia delapan tahun, ini bukanlah kegiatan pendakian gunung pertamanya, tapi bagi saya yang berusia 30 tahun, bisa dibilang ini adalah pengalaman pertama saya. Mungkin akan terlihat menarik bagaimana usia ternyata tidak menjadi acuan untuk mengukur kemampuan seseorang manusia dalam mencapai pengalaman hidup tertentu, apalagi berkaitan dengan pengalaman mendaki gunung, karena memang seperti yang dikatakan oleh Pak Juned tadi, ini berkaitan dengan mental.

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Empowering Indonesia’s Rich Natural and Cultural Assets

A concept note about empowering Indonesia’s rich natural and cultural assets by fueling creative economy growth in an ecologically and sustainable way.

The Indonesia government has committed to reduce GHG emissions by up to 41 percent while still growing the economy at 7 percent annually by 2020. This means Indonesia must move away from a natural resource extractive approach, to an approach that can put economic value on conservation and the wise use of natural resources. The implementation of the green economy will incubate economic growth and increase poverty-based initiatives by potentially creating a new economic growth, create new jobs, and reduce poverty.

Indonesia is very rich in natural resources, with more than one hundred and thirty million hectares of forest it becomes one of the most forest rich nations in the world. In Indonesia more than 48 million people also depend on forests for their livelihoods – these people are in many cases also the guardians of forest integrity, but they are under pressure to also exploit. Efforts to develop a creative economy based on natural and cultural assets would be beneficial to help these people protect forests and break the chains of poverty. If we want to save the forest, then we must save the people first, and in today’s world one powerful way to make this happen is by giving them access to learn various skills to compete within the modern economy related to both services and manufacturing sectors that do not damage the balance of the forest.

One important economic contributions of forest which is often overlooked are non-timber forest products that have long been utilised by communities surrounding these forests. The Indonesian government through the Ministry of Forestry has specified 565 species of non-forest timber products with six priority products: rattan, bamboo, gaharu or agar wood, natural silk, honey, and nyamplung or Calophyllum inophylum. Besides, Indonesia has a rich culture with hundreds of remarkable ethnic groups. Those two things become extraordinary capitals to develop an economy based on the utilisation of assets and natural resources creatively. The challenge is how to add creative value to the highest natural materials possessed so that economic growth can be established without harvesting the natural resources in an extractive way, and thus ensuring sustainable and stable ecosystems.

A vibrant and strong creative economy can only be concretely realised if the younger generations are capable of creatively innovating designs of various high economic value products without damaging the environment. Moreover, through fostering a caring attitude the young generation can be actually moved, involved in a real action spontaneously and voluntarily into a social environmental entrepreneurship activity. Therefore college students and young generation need to be educate with knowledge and inspiration from those who already practicing the social entrepreneurship business model so that all parts of institution can work together, by linking and inspiring to find the most effective way to save the forests and ecosystems in an integrated and comprehensive manner.

More about Indonesia’s Non-timber forest product can be viewed through this video about forests as complex ecosystems that support a myriad of life forms. Forests play important roles in human life, functioning as a source of food, energy, livelihoods and homes for more than 48 million people all over the Indonesian archipelago. It also inspire the culture of Indonesian people. Over centuries, people evolved their cultural forest ethnicity, into a wealthy living harmony. This video will gives some description about the unique non-timber forest products produced by forest people that can create high economic value in the urban lifestyle while at the same time, forest will also connect us to the age old Indonesian ancient traditional heritage. Narrated by Nora-Jane Noone, this video directed and edited by Nanang Sujana.

Non-Timber Forest Product: Indonesia’s Forests Hidden Economy

Masih Akan Bilang Bahwa Perubahan Iklim Itu Mitos?

Malam ini saya nongkrong di tempat gym seperti biasa, bersama ibu-ibu muda dan para tante yang sedang mengeluhkan cuaca yang tidak menentu. Ini bulan Juni di Jakarta dan dua hari terakhir ini Jakarta selalu di guyur hujan deras. sebuah fenomena yang bukan lagi menandakan musim kemarau. Beberapa orang dari tante tersebut mengeluhkan masuk angin, ada juga yang curhat kalo dia harus mengantri dari jam setengah tujuh pagi untuk mengambil antrian nomor doktor untuk berobat cucunya. Sang tante pemilik gym cerita kalo rumah dia kebanjiran kemarin hingga semata kaki, dan dia mengeluhkan cuaca yang kian tidak menentu bisa jadi salah satu penyebab si tante L terkena penyakit aneh. Telinga tante L berdengung tidak berhenti, dan hanya diketahui itu diakibatkan oleh sebuah virus baru. Perubahan cuaca disadari oleh para tante ini sedikit menggangu kesehatan mereka, tapi si tante pemilik Gym hanya bisa menyimpulkan perubahan cuaca ini sebagai “pertanda kiamat kali ya”.

Setelah semua fenomena alam yang coba mereka kaitkan dengan logis percakapan pun berakhir menjadi sebuah jawaban spiritual untuk dijadikan kesimpulan tercepat dalam menjelaskan penyebab terjadinya gejala berubahan iklim tersebut. Apakah memang sebetulnya ada kaitan antara spiritualitas dengan perubahan iklim? Bisa jadi memang perubahan iklim adalah juga isu spiritualitas, karena perubahan iklim akan menimbulkan pertanyaan bagaimana kita memaknai ciptaan Tuhan.

Di dalam kehidupan dimana kita mengeksploitasi sumberdaya alam sebagai bahan baku yang kita ubah menjadi barang yang kita pergunakan dan kemudian kita buang. Kehidupan dimana kita bebas merusak alam dan mencemari tanah, udara, dan air demi pembangunan industri, bagaimana kita mengalami dan memahami ciptaan Tuhan memang akan mempengaruhi reaksi kita terhadap krisis iklim.

Keganasan Badai Sandy yang terjadi di Amerika pada awal tahun ini telah menembus penolakan publik dan telah memaksa kita untuk menjawab pertanyaan: berapa banyak berubah pola cuaca yang berkaitan dengan perubahan iklim? Selama beberapa dekade, para ilmuwan telah memperingatkan bahwa aktivitas manusia telah menyebabkan pemanasan global dan mengubah pola cuaca yang diprediksi akan menyebabkan bencana yang lebih besar.

Pemanasan Global

Apa itu pemanasan global? Mungkin penjelasan ini sepatutnya dimengerti juga oleh para tante di tempat gym tadi. Dalam kondisi alami, atmosfer bumi bekerja seperti rumah kaca, atmosfer ini berisi uap air, karbon dioksida, dan gas lainnya untuk menahan dalam jumlah yang cukup dari panas dan energi surya, sementara sisanya yang tidak dapat ditahan dilepaskan kembali ke angkasa luar. Mekanisme ini sebetulnya dapat berjalan dengan indah dan seimbang dalam mengatur iklim dan mejadikan bumi ramah untuk dihuni oleh makhluk hidup, termasuk manusia.

Namun pada kenyataanya, kondisi atmosfer yang paling dekat dengan permukaan bumi saat ini menjadi tebal dikarenakan atmosfer terlalu banyak menampung kelebihan emisi karbon dioksida (CO2) dan gas lainnya yang meningkatkan “efek rumah kaca.”

Sejak awal era industri, komposisi atmosfer bumi telah berubah secara dramatis. Sebelum 1800, atmosfer mengandung 280 bagian per juta (ppm) CO2, tetapi sekarang telah meningkat menjadi lebih dari 390 ppm, tanpa terlihat dan kita sadari. Atmosfer kini tumbuh lebih tebal dan lebih padat, sehingga lebih banyak menampung panas matahari. Kondisi atmosfer yang seimbang dan berkembang bersama kehidupan duniawi selama ribuan tahun, saat ini sedang mengalami gangguan serius diakibatkan karena ketergantungan manusia pada bahan bakar fosil.

Kenaikan jumlah gas rumah kaca CO2 disertai dengan pemanasan global diprediksi akan semakin parah dari tahun ketahun, meningkatkan frekuensi gelombang panas, terjadinya badai yang lebih ganas, puncak es yang mencair, kenaikan permukaan laut secara global, kekeringan ekstrim, peningkatan jumlah serangga pembawa penyakit dan hewan pengerat, kegagalan panen, hujan deras dan banjir, peningkatan suhu laut, kebakaran hutan, migrasi bakteri dan perubahan pola penyakit, kerusakan terumbu karang, pengeringan lahan basah, kecepatan pemunahan spesies, perubahan pola musim, gangguan ekonomi, dan menimbulkan terjadinya pengungsi lingkungan.

Meskipun negara-negara yang sangat maju telah mengurangi sebagian besar kontribusi gas rumah kaca yang menyebabkan perubahan iklim, negara-negara miskin masih menjadi negara yang paling dramatis terpengaruh dan memiliki sumber daya paling sedikit untuk merespon peristiwa ini.

Sejak tahun 2000, kita telah mengalami sembilan dari sepuluh tahun terpanas yang pernah dicatat oleh sejarah. 12 bulan mulai dari periode Juli 2011 sampai Juli 2012 adalah rekor terpanas suhu bumi, dengan munculnya puluhan ribu rekor peristiwa cuaca ekstrim yang ternyata konsisten dengan prediksi perubahan iklim. Kondisi ini muncul dalam bentuk gelombang panas, kekeringan, kebakaran hutan, angin topan, tornado, dan badai. Pada bulan Agustus 2012, lebih dari setengah negara bagian Amerika Serikat telah ditetapkan sebagai zona bencana karena kekeringan dan gagal panen meluas.

Konsensus atau Kontroversi?

Realitas manusia yang disebabkan perubahan iklim adalah masalah konsensus ilmiah, meskipun kita mungkin tidak tahu bahwa banyak kontroversi topik perubahan iklim juga terjadi di media. Semua akademi ilmiah nasional dan internasional dan masyarakat setuju dengan penilaian dari Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) yang memberikan gambaran kolektif mengenai kondisi dunia yang semakin panas telah menunjukan adanya bukti baru dan kuat bahwa sebagian besar pemanasan global selama 50 tahun terakhir disebabkan oleh aktivitas manusia.

Kontroversi tentang perubahan iklim kini tidak lagi hanya bersifat ilmiah, tapi juga politik. Minyak, gas, dan perusahaan lain yang mendapatkan keuntungan dari bahan bakar fosil sengaja menabur keraguan tentang perubahan iklim dengan melobi pejabat publik terhadap regulasi industri mereka. Energi lobi ini ternyata juga telah menghabiskan jutaan dolar untuk menciptakan agenda pengabaian terhadap pemanasan global, mengecilkan signifikansinya, dan menyangkal bahwa hal itu disebabkan oleh perilaku manusia.

Membatasi Gangguan Iklim

Sulit untuk menghadapi besarnya masalah gangguan iklim yang sedang berlangsung dan potensinya untuk menghancurkan masyarakat dan ekosistem di seluruh dunia. Penolakan terhadap isu pemanasan global mengancam kita untuk mengecilkan semua masalah lingkungan lainnya, menyebabkan penderitaan manusia yang lebih besar, dan membuatnya lebih sulit bagi generasi mendatang untuk berkembang. Tapi penolakan tersebut hanya akan menunda pertimbangan manusia terhadap krisis ini. Karena faktanya manusia yang menyebabkan perubahan iklim adalah nyata, dan itu terjadi pada saat ini, menyebabkan gangguan pola cuaca di seluruh dunia.

Apa yang diperlukan untuk membatasi gangguan iklim? Demi integritas, kita harus membuat perubahan gaya hidup untuk mengurangi jejak karbon kita. Kita bisa memulianya dengan mematikan lampu, beralih ke peralatan yang hemat energi, naik sepeda atau menggunakan transportasi umum, ataupun menanam pohon. Dengan perilaku tersebut kita dapat menggunakannya sebagai model pelayanan yang bertanggung jawab dan menunjukkan kepedulian kita pada alam ciptaan Tuhan.

Meski demikian, tindakan individu tidak akan cukup menangani masalah mendasar penyebab sistemik dari krisis iklim. Akan menjadi mustahil untuk membatasi kenaikan suhu bumi hanya melalui pilihan gaya hidup pribadi saja. Sebagai masyarakat yang mengkonsumsi produk industri, kita juga harus membuat industri membayar mahal untuk pencemaran atmosfer dengan gas rumah kaca.

Sistem ekonomi global saat ini, didominasi oleh perusahaan besar yang melipatgandakan kekayaan untuk mengorbankan banyak keindahan dan kekayaan bumi yang berharga. Kapitalisme berbasis pasar sebetulnya sudah mengetahui nilai-nilai sakramental hidup atau nilai intrinsik dari semua ciptaan Tuhan, hanya saja pandangannya masih murni utilitarian, pandangan yang berlandaskan pada aktifitas mengubah tanaman, hewan, tanah, dan bahkan air sebagai komoditas sehingga semuanya dapat diperjual belikan, mengurangi nilai ekonomi alam hingga ke garis bawah. Ideologi ini telah memungkinkan segala bentuk penciptaan Tuhan layak untuk dieksploitasi, hasilnya adalah kerusakan lingkungan yang parah, termasuk perubahan iklim, dan sistem ini sudah saatnya memerlukan perubahan.

Masalah perubahan iklim merupakan masalah global, kondisi ini akan membutuhkan solusi global yang didasarkan pada kerjasama antara negara-negara untuk mengubah sistem yang menyebabkan kerugian manusia dan ekologi tersebut. Kerjasama global semacam itu hanya akan terwujud melalui tekanan dari akar rumput kepada pejabat publik untuk memberlakukan kebijakan yang membatasi emisi gas rumah kaca. Kita bisa bergabung dalam upaya-upaya advokasi tersebut melalui lingkungan sekitar kita sendiri.

Badai Sandy adalah bukti bahwa bencana akibat perubahan iklim dapat membangkitkan kesadaran orang-orang pada terjadinya krisis iklim di bumi. Orang-orang yang tergabung di berbagai komunitas di seluruh dunia mengambil tindakan terkoordinasi, menekan pemerintah untuk memberlakukan kebijakan yang dapat membatasi emisi. Perubahan iklim mungkin tidak hanya dapat dipulihkan melalui upaya-upaya tersebut, tetapi kebijakan publik dapat membantu mengurangi kerugian yang terjadi, terutama untuk menanggulangi populasi yang rentan terkena dampak perubahan iklim, dan mengurangi peningkatan emisi di masa depan.

Hidup Sakramental, Berjalan Adil

Sebuah masyarakat tanpa nilai-nilai spiritual seperti sungai tanpa sumber. Aset terbesar yang dapat kita wariskan pada generasi yang akan datang adalah bumi yang kaya dengan cluster holistic yang terkoneksi secara kosmologis. Kita mungkin berada di bawah ilusi bahwa kita manusia dibangun “dunia” duduk di atas alam, dan entah bagaimana menjadi terisolasi dan terpisah dari kekuatan alam yang kita telah dijinakkan melalui teknologi.

Namun meningkatnya frekuensi bencana alam dan peristiwa cuaca ekstrim semakin memperjelas pandangan bahwa fenomena ini bukanlah konspirasi isu buatan manusia. Efek dramatis perubahan iklim menunjukkan kepada kita betapa rentan kita, terlepas dari prestasi budaya dan teknologi yang luar biasa, bahwa kita masih tergantung pada Tuhan yang menciptakan kita dan kita pun akan saling tergantung dengan ciptaan Tuhan lainnya.

Sebagai orang beriman, kita dapat mendidik diri sendiri tentang perubahan iklim dan meningkatkan pengetahuan diri kita dan orang-orang sekitar kita tentang pentingnya mencegah efek pemanasan global yang mendorong terjadinya bencana alam. Kita bisa mulai dengan ikut bergabung dengan orang-orang yang memiliki semua perspektif pemikiran dan keyakinan untuk mengadvokasi kebijakan publik yang akan mendukung sebuah planet yang sehat dan layak huni. Dengan demikian, kita hidup sakramental dan berjalan adil dalam hubungan kita dengan Tuhan, dengan keluarga, manusia sekitar, dengan generasi masa depan, dan dengan semua mahluk ciptaan Tuhan.

My Body Is Not Delicious

Saya begitu miris menatapi barisan foto dalam album salah satu perempuan yang berprofesi sebagai model, satu sisi hati saya begitu tergugah walau saya tidak mengenal perempuan tersebut. Saya hanya bisa berpikir, betapa beruntung mereka dianugerahi fisik yang sempurna dan cantik. Begitu bercahayanya mereka dalam balutan pakaian-pakaian model terbaru yang menutupi sedikit bagian tubuh mereka.

Tentengan tas-tas belanja dengan merek terkenal bersama teman-teman perempuan dengan penampilan sepandan, rokok di tangan kanan, gelas minuman di tangan kiri, pemandangan lampu disko di belakang, dengan turn table di depan, lengan mengalungi pundak lelaki muda rapi berpenampilan necis di sebelah kiri, bibir mencium lelaki tampan di sebelah kanan. Lalu saya coba meng-crop wajah sang model itu dan menempelkan foto saya menggantikan posisinya, saya pun terbahak-bahak. Sangat tidak sekali, saya putuskan untuk mengganti niat bodoh saya.

Saya pun teringat percakapan dengan roommate sekaligus sahabat saya ketika kami baru selesai menonton sebuah film berjudul “Taken” yang menceritakan tentang anak seorang mantan agen rahasia America yang diculik untuk dijual dalam konspirasi internasional perdagangan perempuan (human trafficking). Penculikan tersebut terjadi dikarenakan sang anak ceroboh dalam mewaspadai keamanan dirinya ketika mereka sedang berlibur ke Paris. Lalu saya pun berkomentar ringan pada teman saya, betapa hal tersebut ada dan sangat mudah bisa saja terjadi pada kita ya. Lalu teman saya tertawa, sambil menjawab. “Le, kita mana mungkin jadi mangsa woman trafficking kayak gitu, liat aja kriteria yang jadi korban-korbannya, minimal harus memiliki tubuh proporsional dan enak dipandang, cantik dan menarik.” Saya pun tertawa terbahak-bahak lagi menjawab komentar teman saya tersebut.

Ketika perempuan menjadi sebuah objek dan mereka sangat menyadari hal tersebut sebagai potensi untuk mendapatkan bentuk kehidupan yang sangat glamor, kelas atas, atau eksklusif, karena hanya bisa dinikmati oleh orang-orang berkocek tebal, mereka pun terbius, beberapa tidak lagi ambil pusing mengenai posisi mereka sebagai objek maupun subjek. Bahkan posisi objek itu pun kemudian menjadi lahan basah bagi mereka untuk dijadikan mata pencaharian seperti profesi model, artis, ataupun bintang sinetron.

Apa pun yang menjadikan mereka penghibur visual khalayak pengkonsumsi media. Mereka kemudian sangat menikmati gelimangan perhatian dan materi berlimpah atas eksploitasi mereka sebagai objek. Mereka menikmatinya dan mereka bahagia, tak apa. Saya akui saya pun salah satu penikmat tontonan macam ini. Saya suka melihat perempuan dalam dandanan beraneka macam rupa dan bentuk, saya menikmati perempuan-perempuan cantik. Mungkin ini yang jadi salah satu alasan mengapa majalah perempuan memasang foto model perempuan, dan majalah lelaki tetap memasang model perempuan. Tapi ini hanya sebatas saya menjadi penonton, karena menikmati mereka dari luar dalam ruang inkubasi yang sama lebih menarik untuk diobservasi dan ditelaah dibandingkan saya harus berada dalam sepatu yang sama, karena jujur saja saya tidak kuat memakai high heels ataupun stiletto.

Ketika roommate saya bertanya apakah saya suka dugem, saya pun menjawab, satu-satunya rave party yang pernah saya hadiri itu adalah penampilan DJ Tiesto di Ancol, dan alasan saya berada di sana adalah karena saya bertindak sebagai panitia cabutan yang berkewajiban mengurus toilet. Terima kasih untuk bapak Aldi yang pernah memberikan kerja sambilan ini, sehingga saya berkesempatan untuk menonton lautan manusia dalam kondisi trans dari atas panggung. Begitu menarik melihat pemandangan luar biasa ratusan wanita cantik berdandan seksi dengan berbagai macam perilaku yang jarang saya dapati di kehidupan normal saya. Kembali pada bahasan perempuan sebagai subjek atau objek, saya tidak memihak salah satunya. Semua sah-sah saja dalam kadar pertimbangan masing-masing individu, vice versa. Hanya saja saya sedang berusaha menekan gejolak perut dan pemikiran subjektifitas saya dalam memandang kehidupan perempuan di luar bentuk kehidupan yang saya jalani.

Teringat lagi cerita roommate saya tentang cerita temannya yang menyandang beasiswa ADS dan sama-sama sedang belajar di Melbourne. Temannya yang merasa sangat ber”otak” tersebut baru saja bertemu dengan salah satu artis muda Indonesia yang sama-sama sedang menuntut ilmu di sana. Temannya itu menjawab secara acuh tak acuh pertanyaan ringan biasa dari sang artis muda yang mencoba untuk membangun percakapan layaknya individu. Ia memposisikan dirinya sebagai seseorang yang tidak mau disalahkan jika tidak pernah lagi mau peduli dengan semua hal yang berbau dunia keartisan Indonesia. Dilanjutkannya dalam nada yang sangat-sangat mencemooh dengan membandingkan posisi sang artis muda dengan orang lain yang lebih berpengaruh di dunia seperti Margaret Teacher, Hillary Clinton, dan sebagainya. Lagi-lagi mengesankan bahwa sang penyandang beasiswa jauh lebih berharga untuk hidup di dunia dibandingkan sang artis. Saya pun hanya bisa miris dan dalam hati saya, tidak sepatutnya juga sang intelektual bersikap demikian terhadap sang artis. Saya pun tidak mengingkari adanya kebutuhan ikon ataupun simbol manusia terhadap manusia lain berupa identitas.

Tapi ketika salah satu identitas dianggap berada di posisi yang lebih tinggi dibandingkan identitas yang lain, ini yang mungkin jadi salah kaprah. Baik sang artis maupun sang intelek tidak ada yang mau kalah, mereka menaruh kecurigaan satu sama lain, yang menyebabkan komunikasi dan hubungan di antara mereka tidak terbangun secara imbang ataupun dua arah. Saya pun hanya memberikan komentar sehubungan dengan cerita tersebut dengan rasa kasihan pada si artis dan berharap seandainya sang intelektual mau berpikir lebih luas betapa manusia membutuhkan hiburan, dan hal tersebut tidak akan terlepas dari peran sang artis. Dan apa salahnya dengan menjadi artis yang berposisi sebagai objek dengan simbol dan identitas yang merekat pada mereka.

Terbayanglah dunia tanpa hiburan, tanpa film, sinetron, telenovela, opera sabun, ataupun drama korea. Majalah-majalah mode tanpa model manusia, dan iklan-iklan televisi hanya berisi gambar kartun dan tulisan. Akuilah, kita saling membutuhkan dalam simbiosis mutualisme. Dan lagi kalaupun saya harus menggunakan ikon public figure untuk kampanye peduli lingkungan di Indonesia, saya tidak akan mungkin menggunakan Hillary Clinton sebagai model iklan saya. Karena ibu-ibu penikmat sinetron dan pengkonsumsi televisi yang berada di daerah, notabene merasa sangat asing dengan wajah bule mereka. Bisa jadi mereka lebih aware apabila pesan tersebut disampaikan oleh pemeran utama perempuan dalam sinetron.

Kita manusia dan pandanglah orang lain sebagai manusia, membagun pemikiran dengan lebih terbuka dan bijak akan membuat hidup kita lebih ringan, dan lagi identitas hanyalah pelekat dalam diri individu. Seyogyanya kita lepaskan kacamata kuda kita sekarang dan mencoba untuk memposisikan diri baik sebagai objek maupun subjek. Semua punya kapasitas dan peranan masing-masing.

Social Entrepreneur, Challenge for UI Students

“In one foot business, we lift up our foot, open our hands facing up, then we get money. That is beggar. In two-feet business we walk, seek goods, and sell them. In six-feet business, we sell bakso (meatball) using mobile pushcart through kampongs. But, we are in hundreds-feet business. That is social entrepreneurship.” They are inspiring words uttered by Johnny W. Utama, the President Director of Dian Niaga, in the student center hall of University of Indonesia’s Faculty of Economy on Monday March 18, 2013.

His explanation of the hundred-feet business is illustrated by Johnny into a model of social entrepreneurship business which consists of three main components, namely people, planet, profit. These three major components here should be in a balanced intersection with regard to bearable, equitable, and viable elements so as to meet the sustainability objective.

Johnny wants to inspire entrepreneurship spirits among young people. This activity is intended to provide earlier social and environmental insight to the students. They are expectedly to become actors in environmental entrepreneurship. The program here is deemed way for students to have understanding on social-environmental entrepreneurship noting that environmental knowledge will serve as the basis of community economy activities.

Aulia Wijiasih representing the REDD+ Task Force expected that the students could be more creative to manage local products from forest. “The economic business here will help much conserve environment in Indonesia in the future if it is comprehended from now on,” said Aulia, the Green Education Specialist of REDD+ Task Force.

The keynote speakers’ presentation here has drawn the attendants’ curiosity. For example, Syaphira, the student of Economic Faculty, claimed to be interested in the presentation of development process in one of the projects, ‘Crafts Kalimantan’, presented by Jusupta Tarigan from Non Timber Forest Products-Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP) Indonesia. In this project, Jusupta claimed to be able turn traditional products magically into a noted branded product, ‘Borneo Chic’ with hundreds times more expensive than the buy price. However, Jusupta keeps on empowering the craftsman community so as to benefit their livelihood.

The resource persons delivered their inspiring stories during the talk show and film show entitling “Spirit for Developing Social-environmental Entrepreneurship through Nontimber Forest Product Management”. REDD+ Task Force held the program in cooperation with the FE-UI Students Executive Body.

The program was commenced with documentary film show entitling “Nontimber Forest Product, the Assets of Indonesian Economy” directed by Nanang Sujana lasts for 30 minutes. Some 40 students flocked the hall and studied brief illustration on nontimber forest product and economic potentials that have never been counted by business persons in Indonesia. The resource persons shared their experiences in the talk show and discussion here on how to apply creativity in their entrepreneurship. They also shared business development tips so as to boost up their products sales value with far higher pricing in the local and international markets.

Jusupta concluded his presentation and discussion with a challenge addressed to the students. He called the participants to create joint petition to be proposed to their Rector. The petition demands the Rector to change the existing chairs in the campus with Eco labeled-products as the spirit for building local economy.***

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Overcoming 30 Years Old Syndrome

When you are a woman reaching your early thirty, you might admit that there are several consciousnesses that you have been reach during the starting time of your adulthood. I am tracking back my previous life during my 20th, and end up by figure out how those years had contributed a meaningful thought and understanding about life that I have now. Once I wrote a short note in year 2007, which was around 5 years ago when I am on my twenty-five. The note titled Dear Mr. Right, was kind of addressing letter that I wrote to a fiction character of my future life time committed partners, or generally legalized as your husband.

Nov 11, ’07 5:41 AM for everyone

Dear Mr. Right,

Hi, how are you over there? This could be the thousand times I try to contact you. Keep hoping and believing that you are not just a fiction character of the perfect life story. Yeah, although knowing you is just being a daily consumption of my everyday perception, I feel there’s no necessary to push myself to hard just to find you. You know those romantic-drama movies always try to tell me that I have to make a very complicated romantic journey to gather myself into you. No wonder, if in my quarter century years old live I never could have met you. There’s a time when I can feel your present around me, sneaking naughty from those curtain, but suddenly when I recognize it, you’re just gone. Can you give me another kind of option please? Some understanding that there’s no more Mr. Right in this live maybe?. Or that reality only served its place for Mr. Nice Guy or Mr. Happy.

Okay, the fact that it has been 5 years since that note has been written does not make any changes in how life has answers those several questions that I’ve ask in the few last sentences. But, It end up with my understanding that life is not only about finding Mr. Right, it is about sharing your passion with everyone you have met during your life. It is about living your life to the fullest, and giving meaning in each of its step. When I come to that understanding, I amazed by what I’ve accomplished and experience during my past five years. I have been able to overcome many obstacles and challenge that had come to my life, face-it, getting its done, and continue to another level.

I have been able to finish my masters overseas, something that I have struggled to convince my big family that it is always possible for a woman to reach her dream and not to be afraid to set it up high. Now I am very proud, to know that I am the first and probably the only grandchild from the other 34 grandchildren in my family who are able to get that opportunity. It is winning a small chance in a very tight cultural restriction.

I have courage to set-up my own company, another dream about having a work life that I would be able to manage by myself and giving more valuable work opportunity to others. This is a challenge about being an entrepreneur, which is probably not much ever thought by people during my age who are mainly work as employee in well-established companies. Facing the mainstream is always a dare to do jobs, and it needs a lot of hard work to make it work. But I am lucky to be raised in a family who appreciate the value of entrepreneurship in starting a business. It make easier for me to convince my family that I would not work like many other people do, from nine to five with a very nice suites and a very shiny leather foot wear. It is a dream that I have to continue to work until now.

And how about that Mr. Right dream? For sure I am still dreaming of it but in a very quite useful manner, to convert that dream into more positive way, and change it into an energy and motivation. I never lost hope and believe on that, but instead of desperately finding answers for questions above, I construct the foundation with faith. It is sounds like what have been said by Stella to Ted Mosby during their break-up in the 23rd episode of the fourth season of  “How I Met Your Mother” serial. “She’s on her way — and she’s getting here as fast as she can,” Stella promises Ted at the end of their relationship. Aligned with that statement, I highlight one sentence that was really inspiring from Holstee Manifesto, “If you are looking for love of your life, stop. They will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love…”.

Wrapping that statement, I start to give stronger and bigger meaning for my life, which make me be able to say.

Don’t be scared to walk alone

Don’t be scared to like it

There’s no time that you must be home

So sleep where darkness falls

Alive in the age of worry

Smile in the age of worry

Go out in the age of worry

And say, “Worry, why should I care?”

This is not magic and one day works to understand and reach that consciousness. It is a whole life lessons that need a hard work to do instead of trying to find answers for your entire question all the time. It is about making your faith, dream and hope work for you. So start share your dream and passion with every people you love and keep your eyes and heart open, because it is always be an opportunity that he could be the Mr. Right Time in The Right Place.***

I Just Haven’t Met You Yet

Happiness Project

Andy walking through Bengkol Savannah with Baluran Mountain as its background, East Java 2012

Your outer journey may contain million steps: your inner journey only has one: the step you are taking right now. As you become more deeply aware of this one step, you realize that it already contains within itself all the other steps as well as the destination. This one step then becomes transformed into an expression of perfection, an act of great beauty and quality. It will have taken you into Being, and the light of Being will shine through it. This is both the purpose and the fulfillment of your inner journey, the journey into yourself…” – Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

I am falling in love deeply, deep enough to know that this love has grown into an intense bounding after I finish my journey from Bromo, Ijen, and Baluran. My love to Indonesia’s nature has motivated me to travel more than I ever imagine. For me, the meaning of travelling has developed into wider understanding for my personal life. It now turns out into journey that connects me into myself, to see, to discover, to explore, and experienced things that I could not find in my daily life. To experienced and getting know more about new places in Indonesia is like collecting pieces of puzzle to complete myself, as if those pieces is a part of me that have been there for centuries and waiting for me to pick it. Parts that work to build my identity. Traveling in Indonesia has bridging gaps between me and my understanding about how beautiful, rich, and diverse Indonesia’s are, especially its nature, its culture and its people. Each of those components has become mystery puzzle that somehow contributing a deep sense of belonging for my love to my country, a love that brought me into a bigger consciousness and changing my way in seeing Indonesia. It is like following what have been said in Mathew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”, and now it is time for me to open my heart so I will be able to pay more attention of those beauties that live close around me.

Traveling around Indonesia is like taking a chance to get out from my comfort zone, to attach more with my surrounding and society, to experience nature in more respectful way, to know that there are still plenty more that I do not know or only be able to know it by book or internet, to figure out that there are still many things that I can create and grow in Indonesia, to recall my history, to be conscious about myself by knowing more about my ancestor’s story and to preserve their heritage and legacy so my future generations will have a chance to learn about their forefather, and finally to be happy. Happiness that comes from the excitement through blessed feeling that I still have a chance to enjoy every God’s creation throughout Indonesia’s land, and to share it with my travel companion or all new people I’ve meet during my journey. It is like Tim Cahill ever said “A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles”. It is not about how far I could go or which part of the world I’ve been stepping in, but it is more about what I have been bounded more into, about getting more meaningful experience with people I’ve meet, a bounding that hopefully will be able to change my life and our society in more positive way. So I start it all from a land that have giving me food, birth place, and place to live, Indonesia.

The journey will begin at May, and I’ve choose zero kilometers of Indonesia as my starting point, Sabang Island and Weh Island near Nanggore Aceh than continue to Bukit Lawang, Medan for jungle trekking and water rafting. It will be a lifetime experience to see last survive Orang Utan, before their species disappear from the world, a chance to getting close to a creature with 93% human’s DNA living in wildlife. This could be my first and my last opportunity to experience the UNESCO World Heritage, Leuser rainforest ecosystem.

Piece of hope arise on my mind, I want to give more contribution through my future travel experience in Indonesia. I am imagining that my journey will somehow can contribute more to Indonesia’s development, and moreover to its people. Supported by innovation of information technology, I want to transform Indonesia as center for world’s ecoculture tourism and connect the world into one destination called Indonesia. It is like bringing the world back together into one super continent called Pangea so that each of us had an easy chance to share every potential and experience that we got during our journey around Indonesia. It is about bringing Indonesia to the world and world to Indonesia, for better sustainable world.

Baluran National Park, Hidden Africa in East Java

Baluran National Park is forest preservation area that extends about 25.000 ha on the north coast of East Java. Located in Sumberwaru village, Banyuwangi district, Situbondo (on the east border of Java Island) It has a dry climate and consists of lowland forests, savannah, mangrove forests and hills with a unique rich wildlife that no other national park that are so easy to visit and so easy to see wild animals.

Stepping out from our car, this is a road that lead us from Baluran National Park Gate to Bekol Savannah, (Photo by Anton)

On our way to Bekol Savannah, we stop by to an old well and find this big trees that looks like just fell down by nature. You can imagine that this big timber log is only a part of its branches (Photo by Leoni)

Jane took pictures of her tree. We call it Jane’s tree, since she’s the one who really eager to visit Baluran after seeing a beautiful shoot of a tree in the middle of Baluran’s savannah. (Photo by Andy Rizwandy)

There is something very African about the savannah grasslands of Baluran, which make it called “Africa van Java”. The park offers some great scenery where you can enjoy the panorama of savannah and mount Baluran (inactive volcano) in the center of area that becomes habitat of many exotic animals such as wild pigs, deer, peacocks, wild chicken, some species of monkeys and also bulls as the protected animals. You can enjoy the amazing scenery of the forest and do the safari activities in the wild life and feel the magic of the forest. Those areas almost accessible by car, you don’t even have to walk, unless you want to.

View of savannah with mount Baluran as its background (Photo by Andy Rizwandy)

The park is relatively small, but has ten types of ecosystems and hosts a wide variety and big numbers of animals and plants. The main attractions are the endangered Javanese wild ox (Banteng), Rusa deer, Barking deer, Feral water buffalo, Asiatic wild dog, and other species that become other common sightings such as; Leaf Monkeys, Monitor Lizards, Squirrels, Fruit Bats, Javan Warty Pig, Common Palm Vivet.

The park also once inhabited by the Javan tiger and even the very rare Javan panther. There are at the last count 140 bird species were spotted where species of birds such as hornbills, peacocks and bulbuls live in open area, designate this national park as heaven for bird watchers. It is also home for many species of trees, plants and flowers such as pecan nut trees, Maja, Gadung, Java tamarind trees and mount Widara.

You can do several activities in this park such as: safari forest, forest adventure, diving and snorkeling, mountain hiking and mount climbing, hill walking, beach adventure to watch the fishermen’s daily activities and seed seekers, canoeing, rowing or boating around coast line.

Entering Baluran National Park gate, you can see a historical place called “Gua Jepang” (Japan Cave). Gua Jepang is one of historical witness that in this place was happened battle between Indonesia army against Japanese army. Because unequal power, there are a lot of Indonesia army who died in that battle, so this place also called Batangan. Gua Jepang has wide about 12 km that contains in 2 chambers. The north chamber was used to save the weapon, while the south chamber was used as a fissure to see an enemy.

45 minutes or around 12 km from the national park entrance is Bekol Savannah, where you can find an observation tower on a hill and some waterholes where animals easily can be seen from a distance. This observation tower usually used by rangers to watch or to observe the animals’ behaviors around the surrounding region. You can bring a pair of binoculars or telescope to have a better look at the beautiful panorama and animals, at Bekol Savannah watch point. These rest area are rarely full but you might want to make advance reservations via the park office in Banyuwangi. Other camping facilities are also available in the park at Bekol Savannah.

Jane took pictures with her film camera from the top of watch point (Photo by Andy Rizwandy)

Or else you can go directly to Bama Beach, 15 km from the main entrance. It is located in the east of Baluran National Park where you can have a short mangroves forest trekking and enjoying habitat of coral reef, fish and mangrove. It is a beautiful white sand beach with fringing mangroves and a healthy offshore coral reef. One of special moment here is that you can see troops of ebony leaf monkeys with the long tail (Macaca fascicularis) fishing crabs with their long tail during the low tide.

Bama beach, where we spent time swimming and sunbathing, this picture than inspire us to name this journey as “Happiness Project” (Photo by Andy Rizwandy)

Baluran National Park coastline’s is formed by irregular peninsula and bay. It consists of mangrove forest, beaches and some coral reefs. The reefs are on a depth of 0,5m to 40m and nice for snorkeling and diving. Near the coast are living coral areas, sandbanks, and mudflats. The peninsulas are covered with mangroves, while other parts of the coastline are covered with swamp forest.

Five of us prepare entering mangrove forest trekking, which is not more than one kilometers way, ended by small pier (Photo by Tripod)

There are two guesthouses with some basic accommodation by the beach, but you should have prior reservation here. Villas and lodges, you can rent them with your group members about 20 persons capacity and the also provide a praying room and a canteen.

Getting there:

It will be better visit Baluran by your car or rent a car from Denpasar or Surabaya. It takes 5 hours from Surabaya and 4 hours from Denpasar, Bali by car. If you stay in Pasir Putih, you can also rent a car from Pasir Putih tourist resort which will takes around 1.5 hours and only 1 hour from Situbondo to the National Park’s entrance gate. There is also motorbike public transportation called “ojek” in the main entrance that will take you to Bekol Savannah or Bama Beach (with Negotiated cost). The nearest proper town to the park is Wonorejo on the north coast road between Banyuwangi and Probolinggo. The park entrance is no more than 30 minutes from the Banyuwangi ferry terminal by car or bus. 20,000 IDR/person permits fees are required to enter the park, which payable at the park office on the main road near Wonorejo.

Best time of year to visit:

The best season is during the six months dry monsoon. This is from May to October. With March to April and November to December as transition periods. Only February is unsuitable for wildlife observation. The dry season is the best time for wildlife observation, but the rainy season can be just as good if you are willing to sacrifice a little bit of comfort. It is still possible to get good sightings of wildlife on the savanna in January and February (weather permitting). In March to June, the high grass and shrubs will in general obstruct good sightings of wildlife when staying on the road. But going off-road into the savanna will create better opportunities. June to October is the ideal months for wildlife observation, photography and shooting video. November and December, have normally some days with rain. This changes the barren landscape to a fresh and green panorama.