Barasuara: Conserving Forest is Young Generation’s Responsibility

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Memanaskan dunia. Mencair di utara. Kita di ujung masa. Kita mencari celah. Untuk bertahan mencari ruang. Kita mencari celah adaptasi. Mencari guna manusia. Tiap langkah rusak semua.

[Heating the world. Melting in the north. We are at the end of time. We seek a release. To sustain in finding space. We seek release for adaptation. Seeking use of humans. Every step destroys everything.]

Those sentences are parts of the lyrics of “Guna Manusia (Use of Humans)” song title composed by an Indonesian music group, Barasuara, on its second album. Through the 2019-released album entitled “Pikiran dan Perjalanan (Mind and Journey)”, Barasuara composes various songs on human life and the disturbing issues including environmental issues. 

In addition to “Guna Manusia” that portrays the surrounding decay of environment and nature due to human deeds, the album also has “Haluan (Direction)”, a song that tells about human’s threat and deception to grab others rights. The song here is sung by the group with six personnel on the Konser Hutan Merdeka (Independent Forest Concert) #BeradatJagaHutan organized by EcoNusa on 29 August 2020. 

The disheartened issues including environmental damages are the core themes Barasuara highlights in composing lyrics and producing songs. It intends to disseminate positive messages and persuade young generations to be more sensitive amidst the current happenings. With music, Barasuara also wants to provoke young generations’ actual action and initiative as their contribution to fight against those threatening issues.

Guna Manusia is a song that calls us to have self reflection on what we have done. As humans, do we simply destroy (environment), or on the contrary (conserve the environment)?” said Iga Massardi, vocalist, guitarist and founder of Barasuara.

Iga also said that it is also probable that Barasuara will compose a song with special lyrics on forest degradation and rampant deforestation for industry. The issue has posed a serious threat to the future of Indonesia whose half of the land is covered by many kinds of forest ecosystems. It ranges from the rainforest of  which Indonesia is on the top three in the world up to the Indonesian mangrove as the largest one in the world.

Concerning the alarming level of Indonesian forest degradation, Barasuara has its words. They regretted that Indonesia has been victimized for years through deforestation of peatland and land clearance by major companies on behalf of industrialization. Whereas, forest is deemed a human shield and source of livelihood for free. Forest absorbs carbon dioxide and serves as the lungs of the world. When forests are incessantly cut off and destroyed, humans actually have committed ridiculous deeds by destroying their own shield. 

Barasuara’s statement here goes along with the fact that forest clearance, fires and forest logging never stop despite the pandemic times. During the pandemic, when human activities should be halted, Indonesia remains losing hectares of forests. Based on the monitoring done by the EcoNusa Research Team, forests in the Land of Papua remain jeopardized, noting the fact that 1,669 hectares of forests have gone from January to June 2020. This situation is against the notion that Papuan forests are the last frontiers of Indonesian forests in the future following the drastic contraction and even nearly extinction of forests in Sumatera, Kalimantan and Sulawesi. 

“During the pandemic of Covid-19, all peoples are not clearly informed of the happenings outside. We seem to be blind and know nothing about our forest out there. We hope that the Konser Hutan Merdeka will raise public awareness on what happens to our environment, particularly the forests in Indonesia,” added Iga.

Read also: SLANK: Never Make Forest Just as Wallpaper

Meanwhile, Puti Chitara, the vocalist of Barasuara who is fond of gardening, asserted that conserving forest is deemed the responsibility of all Indonesian young generations. As to her, all people should have had their own concern about the environment. Young generations are technology-savvy generations who could have made use of it to trigger more initiative to protect forests in Indonesia. 

“When this nation loses millions of hectares of forests, it will not merely harm mankind. Other creatures living side by side with humans on earth will also lose their ecosystems. The next generation in the future will get the impact. Thus, it needs awareness from within ourselves to protect the surrounding environment by starting from even the smallest thing from our daily life,” said Puti who is also keen on mountain climbing and nature devotion. 

In line with Puti’s, Iga added that when Papuan forests as the last hope are cut off, it will bring about a snowball effect impacting not only the current generation but also some years ahead. At that moment, humans will only realize that they have nothing to be the legacy for their next generations but barren land. Therefore, young generations’ roles are much required to assure that Indonesian forests are not cut off. 

‘We reap what we plant. Unfortunately, we do not plant but we cut off. Never let any chance happen to us as we have nothing but misery in the near future,” Barasuara conveys its message to all young people in Indonesia.

Interview : Lutfy Mairizal Putra

Editor: Leo Wahyudi

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