UN Secretary General says Bali meeting crucial

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, has said there is no time to waste in addressing world climate change and its associated problems. The UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change) is due to begin in Bali on December 3rd.

Scientific reports have independently confirmed the presence of global climate change and predicted future changes. Bali sits 8 degrees south of the equator with 2 seasons, wet and dry. Compared to other places climate change itself may not affect Bali that much. However the mechanisms that are involved in climate change (CO2 emissions, pollution etc.) are things that people in Bali should be aware of.

The Secretary General has called for a ‘climate change breakthrough’ in Bali, not just a chit-chat. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said “We need a new ethic by which every human being realizes the importance of the challenge we are facing and starts to take action through changes in lifestyle and attitude.”

The fact that this important meeting is taking place in Bali is in some ways poetic. The traditional Balinese farmers were physically, mentally and spiritually connected to the land, worshiping the Goddess of the lake, from where the waters flowed and the Goddess of rice. Native Americans used to honor the buffalo they had just killed, giving thanks to a higher power, that they were able to live through the animal’s sacrifice. This was a necessary realization, in order to guarantee the ongoing supply of buffalo. Same thing for the Balinese with water and rice. Modern convenience trashes (in more ways than one) this kind of activity, focusing on the end result. Balinese farmers still do take their religious duties seriously, but the fields are now awash in fertilizers and plastic garbage.

The day after Nyepi is the day Bali experiences a breath of fresh air. Every other day of the year Balinese locals light fires outside their houses burning straw, the remains of offerings and plastic garbage. This has 2 purposes, the first is to ride the drains of mosquitoes at dusk, the second is to burn garbage. If one takes a drive through local areas such as Tabanan along the main road after dusk, one will go for miles through a kind of toxic fog, created by this burning. The only day of the year this doesn’t happen in Nyepi, so the air on the following morning is clear. If one looks down to the coast from the mountain areas the day after Nyepi, the view is unobstructed by haze / pollution. That is not the case most of the time.

The wise words of the climate change people are relevant to the Balinese also. The UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change) takes place in Bali from December 3rd – 14th 2007