In March 2019, United Nations published ” New UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration” offers an unparalleled opportunity for job creation, food security and addressing climate change”. United Nation stated that the degradation of land and marine ecosystems undermines the well-being of 3.2 billion people and costs about 10 per cent of the annual global gross product in loss of species and ecosystems services. Now, that sounds really scary!!
Many of us are fully aware that forests can prevent global warming, will help increase rainfalls, reduce air pollution, in short, a good healthy forest will help create a great habitat for all of us on this beautiful planet and the right balance for our ecosystem.
Over many years of island hopping and explorations around the Indonesian archipelago, and working closely with farmers, schools, and textile artisans, we now strongly believe that saving the planet can be done successfully if we could embrace the people we often disregard as being important in the bid to safe this earth.
Since we got very involved in promoting Indonesian slow textiles productions (textiles that are handmade by skilful textiles artisans from around the archipelago), we realised how much success we can achieve by working closely with the artisans and their family to save this broken planet, by understanding their needs and recognise and respect their ability and contribution.
The words such as “Save the planet”, “Save the Ecosystem”, “Recycled”, “Green living”, “Eco footprint”, “Global warming”, sounds so much like meaningless metaphors to so many less educated and poor people in developing countries around the world, and we know that this is the case in remote villages in the Indonesian archipelago. Although these less educated and poor people (who are often considered as the beneficiaries) are often part of the parties involved in executing large projects managed by charities that received CSR findings from large organisations, their understanding of their participation, their role, and their contribution in the long term is very vague. We often hear that people in villages will be appointed to get involved in a project, but they have no clue what the project is all about and the benefits to them in a long term.
A close “heart-to-heart” interactions with people made us believe that many things are possible. Inviting people to plant trees to benefit them and their families first is a lot easier than bombarding them with metaphors they will never understand before asking them to get involved in the projects. In our experience working with farmers and textiles artisans from around the archipelago, creating projects with less bureaucracy but more respects and belief in the power of their ability and knowledge will go a long way. It may sound really strange and not believable, that since January 2000, we have created many projects with such a small amount of pocket money, manage mainly by promoting trust, respect, faith in collaboration and hope. So far, we have achieved rather a lot using this approach.
This foundation and approach work well with our mission and vision and with the financial limitations we have to run the projects. Most of our projects are funded by our pocket money and are usually done as part of our holiday to Indonesia.
This year we are developing and nurturing our “Tree Planting Programme” working together with people who have faith, ethics, a good balance in science and economics, culture and traditions. Mata Tulu Deo Natural Dye garden which we help plan and create, was a result of long heart-to-heart interactions and communications with the weavers within this weavers group since 2016. This garden has opened a million dream and faith in everything possible and in the power of love and friendship.
We hope to continue this work for many years to come, together we can save this planet, embracing the talent of people who we often disregard as capable.