Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Climate change stops here – Dam mission completed by Chuck Baclagon

A few days ago, Swiss Forest Campaigner Asti described her first impressions of the camp. Since arriving she has been busy helping the local community finish a dam that will help preserve the precious peatland and help save the climate.

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The latest from Asti:

The dam site near the Climate Defenders Camp has probably never seen so many workers, as it did on the last day of its accomplishment. Even a group of around ten Indonesia boy scouts joined the work, putting up their flags all over the place. I do hope that Indonesian scouts are soon going to be called “forest rescuers” all over the country.

The number of heavy sandsacks which were filled and carried up to the dam are almost uncountable – I hope not too many people are feeling it their backs now.

The dam has created a real pool in which you are able to swim – we call it ‘Whiskey Lake’. Whiskey Lake contains reddish-brown peat water. If you taste this water, you might instead call it ‘Lemon Lake’ – it’s incredibly acid. After having tasted it you understand right away why these peatland canals are having a negative impact on the water balance and its fish population.

Draining peatlands is not only devastating for the peatland soils – it is also lowering the ground water, and can massively reduce fish and shrimp stocks because of the acidity added to the water (see Ashish’s and Corinna’s posts).

I’m sure those who took part in the beginning would be surprised how quickly this dam grew to its actual size. Our chief of construction, Arif M and everyone who contributed manpower during the past weeks can be proud of the result. To celebrate the completion of the dam, Whiskey Lake turned for once into a water fun park, with a special jump competition for the crew.

“Climate change stops here” – with this slogan on the banner and in our mind we leave this dam site now – already thinking about where to go next – there are loads of peatland canals just waiting to be dammed 😉

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