Earlier on this blog I wrote about some of the adventures during my internship in the city Semarang in Indonesia. But I mentioned only slightly what I had been doing in this country. So, here I want to shed some more light on my tasks and activities in the country of many islands, vast forests and rich biodiversity.
My internship took place in the environmental organization BINTARI, which is involved in the climate change mitigation and adaptation activities in the upstream watershed of the Garang river. It helps the local rural communities reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by introducing and supporting agroforestry, compost and biogas production and education on the climate change issue.
My task during the internship had been to estimate the past, present and future GHG emissions from animal husbandry sector in the Indrokilo village, which is situated on the slope of the Ungaran mountain near the city Semarang in Central Java, and suggest the optimal strategies and initiatives for the village community to reduce these emissions. My results, strategies and recommendations were meant to be used by the community, BINTARI and the Indonesian government to design and implement more efficient climate change mitigation actions in Indrokilo and other villages, which were part of the recently initiated national program “1000 Kampung Iklim” (“1000 Climate Villages”).
As this was the first research on GHG emissions in Indrokilo and there was no necessary data about it available, I had to travel to the village and interview some of its residents. So, together with Mas Nuro we did two visits to the Ungaran region and Indrokilo, talked with some community leaders and observed the GHG emissions reduction initiatives in action. These were short, but quite interesting expeditions.
Firstly, we went deep into the forest on the Ungaran mountain to see how farmers there plant trees as part of the agroforestry program. This yields double benefits: the farmers can harvest coffee and fruits from these trees, and the trees capture carbon from the atmosphere.
After that we went to interview some leaders of the village community. All people we talked with were quite friendly and open, though they did not have the detailed information needed for precise estimation of GHG emissions (which had been expected, of course). Nevertheless, we spent a very nice time with them drinking locally produced tea and sharing with each other stories about life in Indonesia and Moldova. I have reasons to believe that I was the first one from Moldova they had seen in their whole life.
And at one family I even tried preparing special food for the local wedding ceremony. Mas Nuro explained me that men do such activity for several hours during the day. I was quite sweaty already after several minutes:
Some villagers took us to the local biogas and compost production facilities and showed and explained us how they make biogas for cooking and compost to apply as organic fertilizer on the fields from animal manure. As I am a member of the founding team of DreamUPS – an opensource platform for sustainable do-it-yourself solutions – I used this opportunity to make a video about compost production for our free virtual library of sustainable ideas and write an article about Indrokilo on our blog. You can check the compost production solution HERE and the “climate village” story HERE.
Finally, Mas Nuro and his friend from Indrokilo took me to the local waterfall deep in the forest. The road here was rather long, steep and tiring in the hot climate of Indonesia (the daily temperature stays around +30 oC during the whole year):
However, the trip was worth it – the waterfall was small, but still impressive.
Of course, I did not want to miss the opportunity and took a quick shower under the chilly and fresh waters falling from the edge of the rock above. In the hot and dry atmosphere this was extremely refreshing and revitalizing… especially when I found out that for some local people having shower in this waterfall is part of some sacred ceremony (although in this case they do it totally naked).
So, these were the adventures during my visits to the Indrokilo village. Upon returning to the BINTARI office, I used the information obtained from the villagers to calculate methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from livestock at the study site, suggested strategies and further actions to be implemented there and elaborated the final research report, which was then submitted to BINTARI.
All in all, I consider the official side of my internship in Indonesia to be a success.
And for this I am very grateful to Mas Nuro and the BINTARI Foundation for giving me the opportunity to explore some of the Indonesian villages and climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives there.