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Wildfires Cause Depletion of Ozone Layers and Vice Verse

Thirty-four years ago, the Montreal Protocol on efforts to reduce "Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer" was agreed. This meeting originated from scientists' findings in the late 1970s related to the emergence of a large hole in the earth's ozone layer.

 

 

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Students visit Eduforst in West Bali Forest, May 17, 2021 (Photo: Wahyu Permana)

 

  

The depletion of the ozone layers has a negative impact on living things on earth. One of the ozone layer's functions is to counteract ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Although UV radiation is needed to warm the stratosphere, but too much radiation can be harmful. UV radiation can damage plants and plankton, thus disrupting the balance of the ecosystem. Then excessive radiation also causes skin fires to cause cancer.

 

 

Global Warming and Depletion of the Ozone Layers

 

According to tirto.id, the first large hole in the ozone layer was discovered in the South Pole. The main cause is global warming. This damage happens because of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is formed from greenhouse gases. Other causes come from the use of ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and methyl chloroform. The Montreal Protocol strongly condemns those three ingredients. We can found it in air conditioners, light fire extinguishers, or pesticides.

 

To support Montreal Protocol, the Kigali Amendment was held in October 2016. This agreement is to strengthen the world community's efforts in stopping greenhouse gases that impact the depletion of the ozone layer and lead to the climate crisis.

 

 

Global Warming is Increasing, Disaster is Coming

 

In 2021, global warming more increase and impact all countries in the world. According to BBC, "Global temperatures have risen in recent decades, resulting in a significant increase in the number of disasters stemming from extreme weather." Atlas report that from 1970 to 2019, there were more than 11,000 disasters.

 

Prof. Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary, told the BBC that, "The number of weather, climate and water extremes are increasing and will become more frequent and severe in many parts of the world as a result of climate change."

 

Climate change impacts flash floods, extreme rainfall, heatwaves, droughts, and wildfires that are currently happening. Floods that occurred in Germany could be one example that surprised even climatologists. "We seem to be not just above normal, but in domains, we didn't expect in terms of spatial extent and the speed it developed," Dieter Gerten, professor of global change climatology and hydrology at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told The Guardian.

 

Some experts fear what is happening in the past decades, which shows us that our climate system has crossed a threshold and is more dangerous. They predict the trend may be increasingly "nonlinear" or bumpy due to knock-on effects from drought or ice melt in the Arctic.

 

Moreover, this year there were wildfires in several countries. Such as Evia, Greece, which needs to evacuate more than 2,500 people. At that time, the temperature in Evia reached 45℃. Then there are Russia, Canada, Australia, to the United States that experienced wildfires.

 

 

Wildfires and Emergence of Climate Crisis

 

The wildfires around 2019-2021 hit countries in Europe, which shows us that the climate crisis is real. It has increased global temperatures, causing droughts to fires. Climate change not only causes wildfires but also makes them increase due to emissions released.

 

According to The Conversation, most forests are carbon sinks. As plants photosynthesize, they take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and integrate it into their leaves, roots, and biomass. Over time, this leads to large carbon stocks in forest, right in soil like peatlands in Indonesia. Peatlands can sink carbon as much as 57 gigatons or 20 times more than tropical rain forests. When peatlands are drained or converted, the stored carbon will be released into the air and become very dangerous.

 

Not only carbon dioxide, but wildfires also release methane, a type of greenhouse gas that is more dangerous than carbon dioxide. Wildfires are driven by climate change and help drive it too.

 

In Indonesia, most wildfires are caused by big industries that dry land for monoculture industries such as palm oil and wood products such as pulp and paper. George Monbiot said, "for a few decades, forests in Indonesia have been fragmented by timber and monoculture companies. The canopy is lost, and that dry land will easily burn".

 

Wildfires also mean the loss of forest function to absorb carbon in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, restoring forest function takes a very long time, even difficult to grow back. The ecosystem in it also changes.

 

 

Mitigation and Adaptation to the Climate Crisis

 

Most of us have experienced the effects of climate change. The climate crisis is no longer a problem in the future but also the present. Disasters such as cyclones, flash floods, and wildfires have become world headlines. Mami Mizutori--UN secretary-general's special representative on disaster risk reduction--said, "This [climate crisis] is not about the future, this is about today." She also added that we need to talk more about adaptation and resilience.

 

However, some scientists and activists were concerned that people would gain a false complacency that we need not cut emissions when we can adapt. For this reason, efforts to prevent activities that exacerbate the climate crisis must continue. This step is also related to increasing 'awareness' of impending disasters.

 

Director of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Shefali Sharma told The Guardian, "There must urgent steps now to build resilience into agri-food systems. It means building soil health, agricultural biodiversity in crops and animals, serious extension work that builds on traditional knowledge and local breeds and seeds that adequate support for adaptation."

 

What Sharma said about the urgent steps has been implemented by IDEP Foundation. IDEP has been trying to build community resilience in Bali, especially Yehembang Kauh Village (West Bali Forest), since 2012. For more than nine years, IDEP has made various efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, improve public awareness, forest conservation, use of new and renewable energy, and food sovereignty.

 

 

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Assisting family in Yehembang Kauh  (Photo: Wahyu Permana)

 

 

IDEP's efforts in mitigation and adaptation to climate change begin with making a disaster map that covers the area around the West Bali Forest because the climate crisis can create flash floods and droughts that are often experienced by local communities. After knowing the risks, local community participated in disaster preparedness training and formed the Destana (Disaster Resilient Village) group.

 

In developing community resilience to face climate change and protect forests from overcoming disasters, the community is also invited to create community resilience. It started with building a family garden. "We provide assistance and training to the community in Yehembang Kauh Village so that they can raise their food sovereignty," said Sayu Komang from the IDEP Foundation.

 

Besides assisting the local community, IDEP also held mitigation efforts by planting trees in risky areas, especially watersheds (DAS). Then establishing agroforestry "... is a type of gardening that adapts to the forest," said Sayu. She also added that IDEP involves local community to make agroforestry. In this concept, they plant various types of plants.

 

 

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Planting bamboo plants around the watershed, West Bali Forest

 

 

In addition to being a disaster protector, West Bali Forest also has abundant biodiversity. There are various endemic flora and fauna, such as Kwanitan, Majegau, and Black Bamboo. It also becomes feed to endemic fauna, like Siung or Bali Owl. Therefore, they also create Eduforest to preserve the ecosystem in West Bali Forest. The area inaugurated on March 20, 2021, is a place for anyone to learn and get to know about Bali's endemic species. IDEP and the local community also build nursery houses for endemic plants. "So this nursery is devoted to cultivating endemic plants," said Sayu.

 

 

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Get to know about Bali endemic species in Eduforest (Photo: Wahyu Permana)

 

 

The inauguration of the Eduforest was also filled with the planting of various endemic plants. "From this inauguration, we hope there will be a commitment between the village, government, IDEP, BaseBali, and KTH [Forest Farmers Group] to protect the forest," said Putu Bawa from the IDEP Foundation.

 

Local community that lives near the forest are certainly vulnerable to various threats from climate crisis. However, awareness to protect the forest and potential disasters knowledge have created community resilience in Yehembang Kauh Village. "We hope that it becomes a resilient village that not only talks about disasters, but also resilient in terms of food, human resources, and resilient in nature," said Sayu Komang, who has been assisting them since 2012.(Gd)

 
 
 

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