Reforestation, rice fields, and real life changes

Reforestation, rice fields, and real life changes

Not long ago, Health In Harmony and ASRI founder Dr. Kinari Webb, was joined where she sat in the shade, admiring the forests of Gunung Palung National Park. A man approached, sat down, and sighed in satisfaction.

"That's my rice field," he said.

Kinari nodded in shared admiration.

"I used to be an illegal logger," he went on, conversationally. And then he wove a story...

"It seemed like no matter how much money I made from logging, it all just disappeared in cigarettes. But I recently learned about organic farming and took a workshop; and now I'm making $30 a month.* And, see that? That's my motorcycle. I'm doing really well now."

"I know that the forest - right there at the edge of my rice field - is really important to keep my fields from flooding, and to keep insects from eating my rice. I try to convince my neighbors not to cut down forest, but you know what else I see? When my neighbors have a sick child or grandmother, if they don't know about Klinik ASRI, they end up paying so much for healthcare that they have to sell everything they own, even their farmland. So, what choice do they have, besides logging, if they want to eat?"

"That's why I'm so glad that I learned about organic farming, and why I am so glad that Klinik ASRI is replanting the forest. That way, we can all earn enough and be healthy."

Sometimes our many-faceted approach to health - one in which healthcare and environmental conservation, organic farming and goats-for-widows, reforestation and work-trade are all intertwined - is difficult to explain. Other times, one example captures it perfectly.

*The average household income in the communities around Gunung Palung National Park is $13 per month.

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About Kinari | View all posts by Kinari

Kinari is the Founder of Health In Harmony and it's pilot program, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI). She is based in San Francisco, CA and often travels to Sukadana, West Kalimantan, where ASRI is located.