Christmas around the world is a festive time for cheers and gift-giving. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most wasteful times of the year. Throughout the year, the Environmental Protection Agency would have offered practical advice and solutions on how you, as consumers, can manage your waste; conserve water and electricity; and overall, be more environmentally conscious. The festive season has a huge environmental impact on water and energy usage. There is the release of greenhouse gases, and land disturbances caused by the production, consumption and disposal of some of our favourite holiday items. If we can all try to reduce our eco-footprint, it would go a far way in protecting our environment.Environmentally friendly tips for the seasonSome ways we can make small changes, but have a big impact;• Make at least some of your Christmas decorations. At the EPA, we would have shared ideas about reusing and up cycling throughout the year on several television, radio and outreach programmes. This is a good time to put into practice what you would have learnt, and make attractive decorations. CDs, cardboards, mason jars, glass and plastic bottles, and many other items around the home can be creatively transformed.• Reuse packaging cartons and shipping materials when you go shopping for new furniture and other household items.• Remember to unplug Christmas lights in and around the home when going to bed or leaving home. This will help you to conserve energy and, most of all, save you some needed cash for after the holidays. It also reduces the risk of fires.• Look for energy saving lights and if you can use automatic timers to turn them on and off. This will not only be good for the environment, but also for safety; and will give you peace of mind while you’re away.• Keep it simple: One thoughtful gift is better than six wrapped packages of unwanted gifts. Plan ahead.• Give the gift of an experience: Music lessons, lessons for a new hobby, a massage, a trip to a resort or one of Guyana’s Protected Areas are perfect for friends who want to try something new; and the best part is you don’t have to wrap the gift.• Give monetary donations to a local charity and environmental clubs in your community, so they can execute projects that would enhance the community.• Make gift-giving a bit fun this year, don’t wrap gifts. Hide them and give the recipients clues. Make the search a treasure hunt.• Donate: Give used items in good condition to persons in need or to charitable organisations, instead of throwing them out. This will go a far way in reducing waste.• Make a list: Do not be carried away with all the fancy things you see; make a list, stick to your list, and purchase durable items which can be stored and reused another year. Avoid excessive and impulsive shopping at all cost!You can share your ideas and questions by sending letters to: “Our Earth, Our Environment”, C/O ECEA Programme, Environmental Protection Agency, Ganges Street, Sophia, GEORGETOWN; or email us at: [email protected] or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Click on different provinces on the interactive map to see the number of fire alerts and where they occurred. You can also hover over the bar chart to see the fire alerts breakdown by year.South Sumatra, Central Kalimantan and Riau Are Indonesia’s Most Fire-Prone ProvincesOver the last 15 years, the majority of fires in Indonesia happened in South Sumatra, Central Kalimantan and Riau. Together, these three provinces account for 44 percent of all fires in Indonesia since 2001. In the 2015, the fire alert count in Central Kalimantan and South Sumatra surpassed 27,000, compared to the 5,500 alerts each province had on average in the previous five years. In Riau, fires are decreasing overall, but 4,058 fires were detected in 2016, despite it being a wet year. That’s more than four times as many fires than were detected in the fire-prone Central Kalimantan and South Sumatra.Despite 2016 being a wet year, the Riau province experienced four times as many fires at the historically fire prone provinces of Central Kalimantan and South Sumatra. Agriculture has been the single biggest driver of these fires. More than 60 percent of the 2015 fires in Central Kalimantan and South Sumatra occurred on peatlands. In South Sumatra, 50 percent of its fires in 2015 were also on pulpwood and wood fiber concessions. 2016 fire alerts data shows that this pattern persisted in Riau, where 47 percent of the fires that year were within wood fiber concessions. Looking back further, Central Kalimantan has had more fires alerts on oil palm concessions than any other type of land in every year since 2001.The data also show that historical fire patterns may be changing. The Papua province, for example, has seen an uptick in fires in recent years. In 2015, fires alerts spiked to 14,500, compared to an average of roughly 3,200 fire alerts each year between 2001-2015. With more than 35 percent of fires detected since 2001 occurring inside protected areas and illegal burning on the rise, its relatively untouched forests are becoming increasingly threatened.Preventing Future FiresThese fire history data offer clues as to where and what kinds of fire prevention efforts may be most effective in helping Indonesia avoid disastrous fire seasons in the future, including:Prioritizing no-burn and zero-deforestation commitments in provinces with chronic fires, where the clearing of forests and peatlands for agricultural expansion needs to be contained. Moreover, companies that have already announced such commitments need to deliver not only within their concession boundaries, but also develop strategies to ensure this commitment is followed across their entire supply chains. Closely monitoring provinces with intense recent burning, such as Papua. The new moratorium on all peatlands will be crucial to preventing fires in relatively unexploited forests. Focusing restoration efforts in provinces with a long history of burning. The Peatland Restoration Agency, a new government-led effort to restore the hydrology of peatlands, should begin in South Sumatra and Central Kalimantan. Additionally, implementation and enforcement of the new peatland moratorium, which requires companies to restore peatlands they have drained in the past, should be especially stringent in those provinces. Analyzing fires more granularly in Sumatra and Kalimantan will help the Fire Free Alliance, an initiative of plantation companies and NGOs focused on fire prevention, decide where to scale up successful village-level initiatives, such APRIL’s Fire Free Village Program in Riau Province.Looking into the past can help Indonesia avoid repeating its history of devastating annual fire seasons. Together with increasingly accurate, near real-time data coming online, the fire history data may help break the cycle. This blog was originally posted on Global Forest Watch. Tersedia dalam bahasa Indonesia di sini.For decades, forest and land fires in Indonesia have been an annual environmental crisis, but the dry conditions caused by the 2015 El Niño made that year’s fire season the worst in 20 years: approximately 2.6 million hectares (6.4 million acres) of land were burned between June and October, Indonesia’s dry season. The fires, many burning on carbon-rich peatlands, exposed millions of people across Southeast Asia to toxic haze and tripled Indonesia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. This year we have not seen nearly as many fires because of wetter conditions, but the root of the problem still needs to be addressed.Nearly all fires in Indonesia are human-caused. The country’s forests and peatlands—carbon-rich, water-logged landscapes that have become another popular option for agricultural expansion—are too moist for fires to ignite naturally. Therefore, they are typically actively drained and set aflame to prepare for agriculture or drive people away in land conflicts.An analysis of new fire history data on Global Forest Watch Fires confirms that fires tend to be concentrated on agricultural concessions and peatlands in Indonesia. Seeing where fires occurred in the past can help inform fire prevention efforts, like companies’ no-burn commitments, government land use and restoration strategies, or village-level fire prevention programs to the areas of greatest need.This data show the yearly concentration of fire alerts detected by NASA’s MODIS satellites between 2001 and 2015. High concentrations of fire alerts are represented as red spots, while low concentrations are shown in blue.