Towards a Greener Future – A Partnership for environmental, social and community sustainability
By Michelle Kwan, Volunteer, September 2014
The East Bali Poverty Project has partnered with John Hardy to accelerate the essential bamboo reforestation on the eastern slopes of Mounts Agung and Abang to ensure a greener and more sustainable future for the 19 hamlet communities scattered across the 7,200 hectares of steep land in remote Ban Village, East Bali.
On Thursday 14 August 2014, eight sales representatives from John Hardy’s jewellery retailers in the United States visited EBPP’s Bamboo Centre & Field School in Daya Hamlet to learn about a new sustainable social and environmental initiative in partnership with EBPP.
As part of the company’s effort to offset its carbon emissions from their advertising, business air travel and electricity usage, John Hardy has planted over 900,000 bamboo plantlings throughout Bali. The company’s “Wear Bamboo, Plant Bamboo” initiative enables customers to participate in a meaningful cause by donating a certain number of bamboo plantlings for each piece of its Bamboo Collection sold. Since 2013, John Hardy has donated 18,600 Bamboo plantlings to EBPP’s community reforestation and sustainable economic development programmes.
EBPP Bamboo Organic Farming Programme Team Leader and Vice Secretary Ketut Suastika said: “Bamboo is an important resource for Balinese people and has been used for centuries in almost every aspect of their lives, from birth until death.
“Bamboo is a completely renewable resource. All components of the bamboo can be used, from the shoots to the Rhizomes (mass of roots), and waste materials can be used to produce bamboo charcoal – something EBPP is in the early stages of piloting.”
Guests were given the opportunity to get their hands dirty and plant bamboo at the Daya Hamlet Bamboo Centre, with each bamboo plantling marked with GPS coordinates so that visitors can monitor the growth and development of the bamboo online by Google Earth over time.
EBPP has set goals of its own. “At the moment, we plant 400 bamboo per hectare of land. Our initial goal is to reforest 50 hectares of land per year, needing 20,000 bamboo plantlings but hope to increase that to 100 Ha/year quite soon, with John Hardy’s support, for sustainable and environmental benefit”, said EBPP Founder and Trustee, David Booth to guests on the day.
The team of John Hardy retailers also visited Pengalusan Hamlet to see how the local community harvest bamboo sustainably and turn this versatile crop into high quality bamboo products.
Communities in Ban village currently produce high quality fine weave bamboo baskets of many shapes and sizes for sale at local markets, and bamboo waste bins for Bali Dynasty Resort. These are providing villagers with income, while new projects are in their early stages of development.
In February 2014, EBPP partnered with Duncan McKee, a British jazz musician, composer and educator, who has created a new eco-friendly bamboo musical instrument, the “Bambajam”, which will soon be manufactured by the EBPP Bamboo Team and communities using locally grown Bamboo. This is in line with EBPP’s vision and mission to empower the whole community to sustainable social and economic development primarily through a healthy and revitalised natural environment which will harness human and natural resources for mutual benefit.
The bamboo provided by John Hardy will have long lasting impact and enable our local communities to not only improve the environment, but also create and sustain new business ventures to improve the livelihoods for people in Ban Village. We are looking forward to continuing this great partnership with John Hardy.