Haze and Civil Society
From grassroots to transnational activism
This is our 2nd Anti Haze webinar series with CERAH. As we were planning for this, the state of Kalimantan in Borneo has declared state of emergency as 700 hotspots were reported during the weekend.
Situation looked grim as the people are battling covid19 and haze at the same time. Indonesia's Cov-19 case is the highest in Southeast Asia.
In this webinar, Heng from Greenpeace spoke about how the quest of sustainable palm oil in Southeast Asia comes with a set of challenges. He further outlined the legal implications of this and how international bodies and community can pressure Jakarta for more transparency in battling corruption and haze. However, the burden does not only fall on Jakarta alone. Malaysia subsidiaries makes up a large portion of palm oil companies in Indonesia.
Blaming and bickering between Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia is an annual spectacle following the annual transboundary haze season. The spillover effect of transboundary haze to civil society debates has always taken the downstream narrative and speaking about solutions even when the history of haze is less talked about in mainstream discourse over the years.
Most of Malaysian's are less informed about the history of haze, and how the 1997 Southeast Asian haze came about. Nadiah from KAMY reminded the viewers and shed light on the failed Mega Rice Project in Kalimantan which has drained nearly 2 million hectares of carbon rich peatland in the heart of Kalimantan Tengah which saw millions of Dayak killed, displaced and dispossessed of their ancestral lands over the military campaign during the Suharto's regime. The ecological devastation has seen species extinction and about 0.81 – 2.57 Gtonnes carbon being released between July -October in the 1997 peatfires which burned about 6.8 million ha of peatland forest in Indonesia.
Today, the Dayak is fighting back as Jokowi is planning to re-hash the failed mega rice project, citing food security during covid19 as the main drive behind the food estate revival.
Listen to the FB-live here