26 May 2008

Mommy, What Does Chicken Mean?

Who on earth does not know chicken? We are lucky that we know what chickens or birds mean, how delicious and nutritious they are. When someone talks about chicken, I cannot help myself imagine two of my favorite menus at most Chinese restaurants, Chicken with Chilies and fried chicken a la Thai. As we are living in this very moment, the moment where we still can find birds fly over the sky, across our roof or in front of the window of our apartment balcony. The picture we should feel thankful. Who on earth does not know chicken? They might be our son, daughter, grand children or great grand children who have no chance to get to know those creatures, let’s say in 10 or 20 years to come, may God forbid.

How come they do not know about chicken at all? Because we, their ancestors, have burnt all poultry, any flying creatures or what we call now as birds, any kind of birds in this century. Chicken, birds or any kind of poultries have become our dangerous enemy ever. I still remember when I was a kid, I was running around with my friends, on bare feet. My childhood was so wonderful that I still cherish it in my heart. One day, we were playing hide and seek, and I was trying to find a place to hide, I ran so fast that I didn’t see some little chicks, like 10 day-old chicks were running between my feet. The saddest thing was, I accidentally stepped my feet on one of those chubby chicks, when I realized, the chick was dead. I was so shocked to see what happened. I cried and took the chick, I felt the soft yellow furly motionless chick on my palm, I murmured to the chick how sorry I was. If only I could hold on my step. God only knows I never meant to harm the cute chick, let alone kill it. That’s the story of my childhood. Now, what we see, burning thousand chickens or birds seemed to be normal scene. Normal might be insufficient word to describe, actually it’s a must do scene.

It has been known that birds or chickens have been the carrier of contagious virus, H5N1 avian influenza (Bird Flu), it is called. We just know that if there are suspects of bird flu in our neighborhood, all the chickens or birds around the neighborhood would be blamed for that. The official agents will come to the suspect’s home and burn all poultry they found. It seems that we have found the solution for our problem, is it final? Nope, of course not.

Have we all known that burning all birds will not settle the problem? Have we noticed that the H5N1 avian influenza was caused by the damage to ecosystem? According to information launched at WHO website, out of 113 cases confirmed to date in Indonesia, 91 have been fatal.
The transmission of infection from bird to human has been caused among other things by the disturbance of ecological system in our lands. When the harmony of ecosystem is disturbed then the chaos and deviation begins. According to experts, Virus and bacteria are killed by ozone (O3) and O nascend. It is produced by the exposure of ultraviolet on oxygen. Apparently we need more and more oxygen to be exposed by the ultraviolet. The fact that our forests are experiencing deforestation is really painful. We know forests have produced great supply of oxygen and its derivatives. Now, that the deforestation has reached critical conditions, we must fear of our future. What life will be without enough oxygen. If the deforestation takes place rapidly, soon we lose our supply of oxygen.

The problem has come for decades. As long as people have no similar perception on our responsibility to our children then the slideshow on water crisis era will come true. We must have similar thought that this climate change has weakened virus and bacteria killer namely oxygen and its derivative. Global warming has been greatly caused by human acts. In the name of business, the industrialist will get rid of rain forest. Rain forests are replaced by palm plantation all over the place, or by other kind of plantation that supports pulp related industry or by factories. When the developed countries contribute a lot in the emission of green house gas, followed by most developing countries, including Indonesia, we also have worsened the condition by allowing the deforestation continues.

I sensed the half-hearted of most developed countries in making real effort to minimize the effect of green house gas emission. This could mean restructuring all aspects of their lives, the lives they have lived for many decades. If I am not mistaken, the energy consumption in USA or most developed countries is so high, that is one of the consequences of the high-tech lifestyle. Surely, the government of USA or other developed countries will seek any possibility or opportunity to support such lifestyle. However, if we keep pointing out to each other and wait the other to make the move to save the situation, we might not make any good to ourselves. There are many factors that have caused this disaster. The green house gas emission has contributed a lot to this trouble, as well as the deforestation.

Since we are living in the tropical region, there are rain forests in the country. I think we can do something to prevent from greater disasters. The least we can do is to stop deforestation. Forest produces oxygen, less oxygen means more virus or bacteria, something like that. Until when we should burn the poultry, God’s creature. Solving problem by burning everything is not a solution at all. After no more chicken, birds or any single poultry on this earth, what next? We also heard about mad cows, anthrax, etc. They have killed and burnt those suffered animals but how if the virus transmission starts from dogs, cats, or human themselves? Should we burn our friends, brothers, sisters or parent, once they are suffered those fatal diseases? If to solve the problem means eliminating the victims, it’s not bringing any good to us.

I really fear of climate change, nowadays, in Jakarta, every time rain comes, it is accompanied by heavy wind, like cyclone. I could not remember we ever had cyclone like in 5 or 10 years ago. We only heard or saw cyclone through radio or television but now, we are experiencing it. Trees fell all over every where. They hit cars, billboards broken and fell on cars. It has become normal scene after the heavy rain in Jakarta. People start taking out trees to prevent them from falling in the next rains. Just like burning chicks or birds or poultry whenever someone’s died. Then the deforestation is not only happening to the rainforest but also the city trees.
If to prevent our car from being hit by trees is taking the roots of the tree itself, then what will be left for our children? I feel pity for them, they will not just ask what chicken is but also what were trees looked like.

Can we have new perception in our mind now that the rain forest is very important to our life, for mankind. If we don’t stop the deforestation, sooner we will have desserts in Indonesia. With this unpredictable weather, soon the agriculture industry will be in trouble, harvest failure in major rice supplying regions of Indonesia, famines will be everywhere.

If now, we have already started to import rice, I cannot imagine in few years to come. Import means spending more money, do we or, be specific, does the government of Indonesia have money to buy some rice from other country? Perhaps not, too many goods to be imported, not enough money left. We must import oil and gas, while our nation known for its wealthy of mineral reserves. We must also import sugar, whilst we are considered as one of the biggest agricultural countries in the world. Maybe, next we also have to import fresh water because most fresh water springs are polluted or not much water can be reserved under the ground because not many trees left.

There are major factors affecting the climate that lead to global warming we are experiencing now, namely green house gas emission and deforestation. Green house gas emission has caused among other things, air pollution, climate change and global warming. Deforestation has caused the reduction of oxygen supply. We need more oxygen to maintain the harmony of ecosystem. The biggest challenge for the government of Indonesia might be the effort of stopping the deforestation. The dilemma faced by the government, is it money or mankind on the other side, to be chosen. Anyway, if the government chose money over mankind, seems the government has failed to serve his fellow citizen. In my personal view, the government should choose mankind over money, they still can generate money from other justifiable sources rather than selling our grand children’s lives.

Rasuna, 25 November 2007
Nela Dusan (Gusnelia Tartiningsih)
This article was published in Jakarta Post undere different title.

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