U.S. Citizens Petition Bali
A group of Americans have filed a petition imploring Bali’s authorities to keep the island’s idyllic beaches and landscapes from deteriorating, amid concerns authorities are not doing enough to save the island.
Their petition read: “We are concerned that this most beautiful place is being eroded, unabated by construction projects. We understand that more and more land is being cleared for construction of housing, golf courses, shopping centers and other commercial ventures.”
The petition was signed by artists, musicians, activists, students and other professionals from the United States.
About 50,000 U.S. citizens visit the island annually, although the U.S. government has not yet lifted its travel warning on the island.
“The petitioners said they will also push for a lifting of the travel warning,” said spiritualist Anand Khrisna, who met with the petitioners during his visit to the U.S.
Most of the petitioners are residents of California, the most populous state in the U.S.
They said they were serious about climate change issues and have established the California-Bali Friendship Association to enhance cultural exchanges between the two regions.
U.S. citizen John Clark, who first visited Bali 35 years ago, said the island had undergone many changes over the past decades.
“We have seen some changes here – and some are good, but some others are not,” he said.
People around the world have long regarded Bali as one of the few places in the world boasting panoramic views of nature blended with the mysticism of a centuries-old tradition.
The island is today the symbol of prevailing natural beauty and traditional values.
It is set to host the historic meeting on climate change in December, which would see world leaders gather at the United Nations Forum on Climate Change to discuss and move on crucial issues relating to global warming.
Bali deputy governor Kusuma Kelakan said the preservation of Bali’s nature also depended on the world’s commitment especially from developed countries, including the United States and Japan -to promote and produce environmentally friendly technology.
“The developed countries must take the responsibility,” he said in response to the petition and calls for Bali to protect its nature.
He said Bali had succeeded in protecting its forests, but said it had failed to stop eroding beaches, increasing air pollution or bleaching coral reefs.
Data from the Public Works Ministry said the length of eroding coastal areas increased from 51 kilometers in 1987 to 90 kilometers in 2006. It said 2 kilometers of the island’s 436-kilometer-long coastal area was damaged annually.
The construction of new hotels on coastal areas often overlooks a proper environmental assessment and this is partly to blame for the problem, he said.
Kelakan did not deny the number of vehicles on the island had continued to increase.
Motorists have been the dominant contributors to regional revenue.
“We have compensated the problem by curbing deforestation,” Kelakan said.
“But the administration cannot stop the entrance of new vehicles to Bali.”
Given the state of public transport in Bali, nearly one adult member in every family on the island owns a motorcycle,” Kelakan said.
Anand Khrisna said,must provide good public transportation so there will be fewer vehicles on the roads”.
Agung Wardana of the Bali chapter of Walhi Indonesian Forum for Environment said he appreciated the petition made by the U.S. citizens.
But he said he wanted to remind them concerns around environmental deterioration was a global problem that required global solidarity.need concrete action that no longer gives developed countries a special right,” he said, referring to the United States as one of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emission producers.