Constant environmental disasters can leave us feeling powerless. But there are solutions! Read on for news about what SDIA members are doing to protect biodiversity, livelihoods and food security now and for the future...
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The Susila Dharma Network eNews – Issue 104, November 2017

Weathering the storm, protecting our future

   Forest fires, extreme weather events, disappearing species, droughts and famines ... there seems to be no end to the catalogue of environmental disasters that are besetting our planet. They can leave us feeling powerless and overwhelmed, but there are solutions to conserve biodiversity and protect our environment without jeopardising our own survival.
   Some of these solutions are the mission of member organisations of the Susila Dharma International Association (SDIA). What do these projects teach us? They show us that nature can survive and thrive despite the presence of humans. Or put another way, that we can protect the planet at the same time as safeguarding the means of subsistence and the future of human beings.
   This is the essence of sustainability. According to the 1992 Bruntland Report for the World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainability is about
‘Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ i.e. by degrading the environment to such an extent that earth would no longer be able to support human life.
   By the same token, SDIA member projects are helping forward several of the environment-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 15 – Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.
   Let’s take a closer look at the battle for the environment in the Susila Dharma network.
Top image: Río Bravo, Valle del Cauca, Colombia. David Ramírez
Weathering the Storm
Image above: Proudly showing produce from Anisha's Kitchen Garden Project, Martalli, India
Fundación Trópico – Safeguarding biodiversity and livelihoods, side by side
   The Río Bravo Reserve (Valle del Cauca, Colombia) is part of one of the world’s most biologically rich and threatened areas. It is home to 1,446 Species in 34,110.82 hectares, including 552 species of birds, 105 mammal species and 56 Amphibian species. Río Bravo is located in the Tropical Andes, one of 36 biodiversity hotspots​ and an area facing a variety of threats including mining, timber extraction, oil exploration, and narcotics plantations.

   Fundación Trópico is committed to protecting the rich biodiversity of the region of Valle del Cauca, in Colombia, including Río Bravo, as well as supporting communities that want to live in harmony with nature.
   Despite working in challenging and sometimes dangerous conditions, Trópico has had a major impact in the region over the past 21 years, through the declaration of protected areas and the strengthening of the participation of social stakeholders in the different areas of the Cauca Valley.
    According to Celmira Zúñiga, Chair of Asopanaleros de Río Bravo (pictured opposite): “The Trópico Foundation has raised our awareness of what we have here. Sometimes you have things but don’t appreciate them. Now we know that all this wealth is precious – especially for us.”
Image: David Ramírez
One of the most important aspects of Trópico’s work is helping people living in protected areas find ways of making a living without damaging their environment. Find out more.
Video in Spanish about Trópico’s work in the Ríobravo area which is part of one of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots​, Earth’s most biologically rich and threatened areas.
Anisha Foundation – Food security with respect for the environment
   Despite what Big Agriculture would have us believe, the tide of opinion is changing about whether organic farming can feed the world.
   It is pretty widely accepted that organic farming yields benefits such as lessened rates of erosion, chemical pollution of drinking water, death of birds and other wildlife. However, a study published in 2016 also showed that organic farming could feed the world. (More detail here). 

   Organic farming is what the Anisha Foundation does best. Anisha is based in the Martalli Region of southern India.  Since 2006, Anisha has worked with 21 villages in this impoverished drought-prone area of south-eastern Karnataka State, 190 km south of Bangalore.  
   In this context, Anisha is working hard every day to promote the benefits of organic farming along with these people to help them improve their lives and standard of living. It is hard to imagine a family living in the 21 targeted villages of the Martalli area that has not experienced some kind of positive impact from Anisha's work.
Image: Anisha's Rajan with students involved in its school kitchen garden project.
What has the impact of Anisha’s work been on communities in Martalli? You can find out here.
And you can watch videos about Anisha and support Anisha’s Kitchen Garden Project here.
The Permakultur Kalimantan Foundation – Building resilience in Indonesian Borneo
   The landscape of Central Kalimantan is a critical ecosystem and is known as one of the last remaining ‘lungs of the earth’. It is still home to an array of threatened and endangered plant and wildlife species.
   However, the natural integrity and rural livelihoods of Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) are threatened by illegal logging, mining, and the expansion of industrial-scale monoculture, such as oil palm plantations. Every year large-scale fires cover the area in a toxic smog that reaches as far as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.  
   Within the last 10 years, Kalimantan forests have declined by more than 9%, mostly converted for commodity crops such as palm oil, with severe associated losses of carbon, biodiversity and other ecosystem services.
   Into this context have come Jayadi and Frederika Paembonan, a couple from Australia and Indonesia who, in 2014, set up Yayasan Permakultur Kalimantan (YPK) to work on sustainable solutions to these challenging environmental and social issues.

Image: Participants of a YPK training courses.
Through working with communities on sustainable and natural rehabilitation of infertile areas YPK aims to help them to improve their livelihoods and environmental conditions.
   As its name suggests, it does this largely through permaculture – an integrated sustainable land and livelihood management approach that creates agriculturally productive ecosystems leading to ecological diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems.
   YPK carries out local/community-centred and culturally appropriate education programs, establishing farming demonstration sites and running other activities.

   One activity YPK has recently begun is a collaboration with the Bina Cita Utama school in Rungan Sari (also a member of SDIA).
   Working with school staff, students and management, YPK has designed and created a school kitchen garden by converting unused land behind the school and the green corridor alongside the river into a productive space.   
Image: Jayadi Paembonan in action at the BCU school in Rungan Sari. Photo - Solen Lees.

Find out more.

Feeling inspired? Support YPK's work!
Documentation of the first Permaculture Design Course for local farmers from the One Million Tree Project. The training is a partnership between Borneo Institute and Yayasan Permakultur Kalimantan.
Looking to the future: SDIA members educating about the environment

   As well as carrying out important work to help people live sustainably, several of our member projects are active in educating people – especially young people – about the environment and sustainability.
Video by Clara Rust of the Human Force camp 2016 edition - held at YPK in Kalimantan.
Human Force aims to raise awareness about global issues, including sustainability.
   Anisha and Yayasan Permakultur Kalimantan (YPK) have both hosted the Human Force camp which aims to engage and involve young people in learning about global issues, including sustainability. Human Force was held at Anisha in 2012 and at YPK in 2016.
Illène Pevec, leader of A Child’s Garden of Peace (ACGoP), works with schools to educate children about the environment, local food sustainability and nutrition, by helping schools create and maintain school kitchen gardens and training staff in how to use them as a teaching resource. ACGoP has worked in Brazil, the USA and Mexico, where it co-hosted the Human Force camp in 2014. Now Illène is working with the Wawa Illari project in Peru, a multi-theme project involving several SDIA members aimed at improving the health and care of young children in a deprived area of Lima. Stay tuned for further updates on this project!
Image: Children shelling beans at Casa Cuna daycare centre in Puebla, Mexico where ACGoP created a kitchen garden as an educational resource.
Yayasan Usaha Mulia (YUM) in Kalimantan trains local farmers in organic agriculture through a 3-month training programme rolled out to 5,100 future farmers in the area. In Cipanas (Java), YUM’s organic farmers provide training to local communities and school students and are regularly invited to take part in farming workshops in Jakarta. YUM also hosted the Human Force camp, in 2011.
Copyright © 2017 Susila Dharma International Association, All rights reserved.

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