Monday, February 26, 2007

V2.C.P3= Kalimantan -final(ly)

I loved Kalimantan.

For that very reason, I will keep the story to the absolute minimum and will try to help you envisage it with as many pictures as possible...

The moment we took our little boat towards the river that would carry us to the rainforests (the Orang Utan National Park), the horror of Kumai was left behind and I was already feeling refreshed. It was a bit worrisome to hear that we didn’t have a shower onboard (see our little boat on the pics), but there was no possibility of changing that, so my grey cells quickly moved on to more important issues: who was onboard, how I was going to change the trip and how the trip was going to change me… In the middle of all these there were of course “the people”. The people, or as they have been referred previously as Harro’s mysterious gang, were worth mentioning because despite the beauty of the landscape and my moods, this trip would never be the same without them:

Vince, for easing me (about being me) / forcing me (on the concept of “discourse”) / sharing a curiosity about books,

Timme, for being the balance point and the voice of wisdom –despite putting the blame on the “waterbottle” / for teaching me a new song to play (and hopefully even sing better than he does) and making it the theme song of my trip / for recording most of it and later on editing it (well… I hope you are Tim!) / and for (probably) being the only one of us who was missing someone and therefore making us realise that life was not all about this forest and this river and the sky and the horizon… (thanks Kirsten!)

Rob, for all the silence and the talk,

Harro, for being positively surprised and having to deal with my mumblings / readings / confusions and attempts of sharing Foucault and Latour as I read through them / for allowing me to exploit his camera (which DID became an important issue as “I was out of memory”... makes me think that we do need a lot of space as people, and these days one space that we need is measured in bytes! This very fact could easily freaked me out especially if you think that I was in the utmost middle of nature)

And all, for the songs and the movies, opening and closing the doors, containing Anjis (our guide), being around and about and constantly radiating positive energy…

Then there was our cook: And I will not try to write about him but simply refer to his artwork (after a few hours of hiking in the forest, it is even more appreciated)

Then there were the small things of the previous kalimantan post: the butterflies (and Vin, with whom they fell in love with!), and the mushrooms (as I wrote, I DID FEEL like Alice!)

And then came the mammals –the orang utans: first the babies, and then the adult versions: Rosemary being my favourite, with a cloud of mosquitoes around her and coming from the back and surprising / scaring (the line is thin in a rainforest) us (see pic)…

There is more on orang utans (info + video) and their forest (here).

"The word orangutan (also written orang-utan, orang utan and orangutang) is derived from the Malay and Indonesian words orang meaning "person" and hutan meaning "forest", thus "man of the forest". Orang Hutan is the common term in these two national languages, although local peoples may also refer to them by local languages. Maias and mawas are also used in Malay, but it is unclear if those words refer only to orangutans, or to all apes in general. They are endangered species as a whole.

The Borneo species of orangutans is highly endangered, and the Sumatran species is critically endangered, according to the IUCN Red List of mammals, and both are listed on Appendix I of CITES. The Borneo population is estimated at about 50,000 in the wild, while the Sumatran species is estimated at 7000-7500 individuals.

Orangutan habitat destruction due to logging, mining and forest fires has been increasing rapidly in the last decade. A major factor in that period of time has been the conversion of vast areas of tropical forest to oil palm plantations, for the production of palm oil. Much of this activity is illegal, occurring in national parks that are officially off limits to loggers, miners and plantation development. There is also a major problem with the poaching of baby orangutans for sale into the pet trade; the trappers usually kill the mother to steal the baby.

Major conservation centres in Indonesia include those at Tanjung Puting in Central Kalimantan, Kutai in East Kalimantan, Gunung Palung in West Kalimantan, and Bukit Lawang in the Gunung Leuser National Park on the border of Aceh and North Sumatra. In Malaysia, conservation areas include Semenggok in Sarawak, and the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary near Sandakan in Sabah."

Then came the gibbons:

"Also called the lesser apes, gibbons differ from great apes (chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and humans) in being smaller, pair-bonded, in not making nests, and in certain anatomical details in which they superficially more closely resemble monkeys than the great apes do. Gibbons are masters of their primary mode of locomotion, brachiation, swinging from branch to branch distances of up to 15 m (50 ft), at speeds as much as 56 km/h (35 mph). They can also make leaps of up to 8 m (27 ft), and walk bipedally with their arms raised for balance.

One unique aspect of gibbon physiology is that the wrist is composed of a ball and socket joint, allowing for biaxial movement. This greatly reduces the amount of energy needed in the upper arm and torso, while also reducing stress on the shoulder joint. They also have long hands and feet, with a deep cleft between the first and second digits of their hands. Their fur is usually black, gray, or brownish, often with white markings on hands, feet, and face. Some species have an enlarged throat sac, which inflates and serves as a resonating chamber when the animals call. This structure is enormous in a few species, equalling the size of the animal's head."

A gang of 5 gibons decided to prove us how agile and acrobatic we could have been if and only if we evolved differently. It was better than any circus I've seen. They posed for us and played around us for at least half an hour, and naturally made our day!

And then there was the rain… and the light… and thunder… and the forest a huge WHOLE! We all were in constant amazement, and our typical day was looking out of the boat, taking pics, observing, looking out more, taking long hikes, looking our more, taking more pics (see photos)...

(Before all these of course there was Kyla, who gave us the idea of going there. It was sweet to find her notes on the campblog that we all had to sign and write to on each every camp we ended up in. we took a pic of that too...)

All in all, Kalimantan was the symbol of a huge experience that made me think it was worth all the effort to do, and to have done whatever I did and will do… It brought me back to my more-ecologist-self, which I have lost touch with throughout the time I was more into the development and justice side of environmental issues. It was big, and I felt wonderfully small and yet, almost a part of a whole that meant a lot to me and embraced me. In such a way that no existential problems would be allowed into that embrace…

feelings that passed by:

- tranquility

- absolute fulfillment

- peace

- harmony

- being at the top of the world

- longing for a shower

- desparation each time we came across the mines and palm plantations and each time we heard the speed in which the flaura and fauna was disappearing...

- absolute love towards the planet and each and every iota.

- excitement

I know what I sound like... it sounds naive/hippy-like/unreal once you are in the world of technology and modernity. but "there in the still, all that you feel is tranquility" and it was more real than any other experience...

Being back made me want to read Walden again...

Friday, February 16, 2007

webblogs as self-reflection (only this and nothing more...)

'...if you are not like everybody else, then you are abnormal, if you are abnormal, then you are sick. These three categories, not being like everybody else, not being normal and being sick are in fact very different but have been reduced to the same thing...'

Michel Foucault,

'Je suis un artificier'

click on the pic!

the cover of the last issue of the journal Foucault Studies

QuOte oF ThE DAy

"No matter what side of the argument you are on, you always find people on your side that you wish were on the other. "

Türkiye Kyoto'yu İmzala!

Yeşiller'den 2 aylık bir imza kampanyası:

Turkiye Kyotoyu Imzala

"Biz aşağıda imzası olanlar,

Türkiye’nin iklim değişikliğine neden olan gazları hızla artan oranda üreten bir ülke olarak,
dünya üzerindeki yaşamı tehdit eden küresel ısınmayı durdurmak için üzerine düşenleri yapmasını, ilk adım olarak de sera gazlarında indirim hedeflerini belirlemek için gerekli çalışmaları yaparak, Kyoto Protokolü’nü en kısa zamanda imzalamasını istiyoruz."

Metni imzalamak için tıklayın!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Iran Deal Clouds Free Trade Plans With US

(politics as usual...)
February 7, 2007

The Bush administration has put a free trade deal with Malaysia on hold after Kuala Lumpur signed an energy agreement with Iran. This Inter Press Service article argues that the US - desperate to isolate Iran over its nuclear program - is attempting to pressure the Malaysian government to abandon its deal with Iran. However, Malaysian Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz stated in response that the free trade negotiations will not be "held hostage to any political demand."
Source: Global Policy Forum

Thursday, February 08, 2007

URL of the day

Giddens vs. Foucault

The website has been keeping me busy for a while. I like their cards (click on the cards to read), which they also turned into a screen saver (you can download it here!)

There is much more to it, but I will let you figure it for yourself.
As a final touch I copy and paste their motto: "Social theory for fans of popular culture. Popular culture for fans of social theory."
(they recognise the need you see... most of us are incapable of being both...)


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

V2.C.P2= Kalimantan (trailer: butterflies and mushrooms)

It took me so long to bring myself to write about Kalimantan... I am not exactly sure why but I have ideas:

It can be because I didn’t know where to start and end, as the geographical, spiritual, intellectual and psychological merged and diverged from the beginning to the end.

Or because I wanted the sound/taste/feel/look/smell as great as it were in reality reflect on what I write –which I think is impossible- so I hesitated.

It may as well be because of what was lacking and what was abundant and how they related to one another (I’m not only talking of lack of booze and abundance of great conversations here!)

In either case, I took more than a month to start writing about the Kalimantan trip and I could only do so by giving up on the reflection bit. I will not attempt to describe what it was like. Nothing can look, feel, smell that wonderful. Nothing feels so real and so much touching my heart. Nothing so far has justified my life so straightforwardly. In no other time I felt at the top of the world without making any effort -so much for trailers… The easiest way of writing about Kalimantan is to refer to a previous post: small is beautiful.

What amazed me most was the butterflies and the mushrooms in the rainforest. The former were constantly around, and very hard to take a picture of, but they did play with us, almost constantly. They were small and fragile, and we think they have a short life... uh oh, what a life, and what an exhausting one in my opinion. Although they were particularly in love with Vince, they gave all of us some attention at some point. The butterflies alone would make it!The mushrooms, my little mushrooms...
I felt like Alice just by looking at them. They were constantly giving messages, "I'm poisonous" said one, a
nd "I'll prove you the wonders of the microcosmos" assured the other...

The smallest and most interesting of all were the ant-eaters: radiating the smell of a sweet substance and then closing their "lit" once the ants are in, they reminded me of... life? or love...
And finally, this little photo-proof, diamond-shaped spider (that looked like nothing but a spider) reminded me of a quote from the Earthsea Cycle: As the Master Hand was examining a spider web, one of his students asks if one can turn a rock into a daimond:
"To change [a rock into a jewel, to do that even to such a small] scrap of the world is to change the world. It can be done. Indeed it can be done. […] But you must not change one thing; one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow on the act.
The world is in balance, in Equilibrium. Power of changing […] can shake the balance of the world. It is dangerous, that power. It is most perilous. It must follow knowledge, and serve need. To light a candle is to cast a shadow.

A rock is a good thing, too, you know… Let the rocks be rocks..."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Climate Action Tonight: lights off @19.55-20.00


dünyada küresel isinmaya karsi ortak bir eylem!...

Eylem plani su: yerel saatlerin farkliligi gözetilmeksizin bütün dünyada 1
19.55-20.00 arasi tüm enerji kaynaklari kesilecek. Evde ya da isteyseniz
salterler inecek! Arabadaysaniz yol kenarina çekeceksiniz vs. Yapabilen
yapacak! Amaç bütün dünyada yer alacak bu 5 dakikalik kesintiyle meydana
gelecek enerji tasarrufuyla karar mercilerinin dikkatini çekmek.

Bu e-postayi ne kadar çok kisiye iletirseniz eylemin kapsami o kadar büyük

Ayrica 2 Subat'ta vizyona girecek Al Gore'un "An Inconvenient Truth" (Uygunsuz
Gerçek) adli küresel isinma ile ilgili belgeselini izlemeye davet ediyorum.

Op 1 februari doen we ALLE LICHTEN UIT van 19:55 tot 20:00 u!

Neem op 1 februari 2007 deel aan de grootste mobilisatie van de burgers voor
actie tegen de klimaatsverandering! Laat ons alle lichten doven, zodat de
(politieke) besluitvormers beseffen dat er iets mis is.
L'Alliance pour la Planète (groepering van milieuverenigingen) doet een
oproep tot al de burgers; 'gun de planeet 5 minuten rust': iedereen wordt
verzocht alle lichten te doven op 1 februari as, van 19:55 tot 20.00 u.

Het gaat er niet om enkel die dag gedurende 5 minuten energie te besparen,
maar wel om de aandacht van de burgers, de media en tevens de politieke
besluitvormers te vestigen op de energieverspilling en op de noodzaak om
dringend iets te ondernemen! Gedurende 5 minuutjes zal de planeet kunnen
uitrusten: dat duurt echt niet lang en het kost niets. En het zal de
politici duidelijk maken dat de klimaatverandering een onderwerp uitmaakt
dat weegt in het politiekedebat.

En waarom op 1 februari 2007? Omdat die dag in Parijs het nieuwe rapport van
de klimatologische experten van de Verenigde Naties uitkomt. En dat gebeurt
bij onze buren; wij kunnen dus onmogelijk deze kans laten voorbijgaan en
moeten bijgevolg de schijnwerpers richten op de dringende aard van 's
werelds klimatologische situatie. Als we allen deelnemen zal deze actie
werkelijk een mediatieke én politieke invloed hebben! Laat dit bericht
zoveel mogelijk circuleren, stuur het zoveel mogelijk door, ook naar lokale
politici; vermeld het in nieuwsbrieven, op je site...

Le 1er février 2007, dans toute la France :

Participez à la plus grande mobilisation
des citoyens contre le Changement Climatique !

L’Alliance pour la Planète lance un appel simple à tous les citoyens, 5 minutes de répit pour la planète : tout le monde éteint ses veilles et lumières le 1er février 2007 entre 19h55 et 20h00. Il ne s’agit pas d’économiser 5 minutes d’électricité uniquement ce jour-là, mais d’attirer l’attention des citoyens, des médias et des décideurs sur le gaspillage d’énergie et l’urgence de passer à l’action ! 5 minutes de répit pour la planète : ça ne prend pas longtemps, ça ne coûte rien, et ça montrera aux candidats à la Présidentielle que le changement climatique est un sujet qui doit peser dans le débat politique.

Pourquoi le 1er février ? Car le lendemain sortira, à Paris, le nouveau rapport du groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du Climat (GIEC) des Nations Unies. Cet événement aura lieu en France : il ne faut pas laisser passer cette occasion de braquer les projecteurs sur l’urgence de la situation climatique mondiale.

Si nous y participons tous, cette action aura un réel poids médiatique et politique, moins de trois mois avant l’élection présidentielle!