Opinion

Jakarta hosts 24 hours
of climate reality

The catch line is short: 24 presenters, 24 time zones, 13 languages, one message. The message is that the climate crisis is real; everybody get real. That one message goes out to all four corners of the globe in all 24 time zones.

In getting that message across, former United States vice president Al Gore (1993-2001), chairman of the Climate Reality Project, has created “24 Hours of Reality”, a worldwide multimedia event broadcasting the reality of the world’s climate.

On Sept. 14–15, one presenter in every time zone will deliver a climate message in turn by the hour for 24 hours around the globe. The cycle starts in Mexico City. It travels westward and ends in New York with Al Gore speaking. In between, Asian points involved are Seoul, Beijing, Jakarta, New Delhi, Islamabad, Dubai and Istanbul. People can view live stream broadcasts in real time at 7 p.m. local time in each of the time zones at www.ustream.tv.

In Jakarta, the event takes place at @america, Pacific Place, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. Amanda Katili of the Climate Reality Project Indonesia is the organizer.

The presenters are not public figures with household names. They are people who live the reality of climate change. They can explain recent extreme weather events they have experienced — floods and storms, to name two. They can talk about the man-made pollution that causes climate change.

Each presenter has a story to tell. Jakarta’s presenter is Charles Wiriawan, a program manager with the non-profit Eka Cipta Foundation that focuses on environmental education. He can relate the massive floods that inundated at least one-fifth of Jakarta in February 2007 that he himself went through.

In New Delhi, Nitin Raikar can relate what he experienced in Mumbai on July 26, 2005. On that single day, Mumbai suffered a record rainfall of 944 millimeters. Raikar, a Mumbai resident, works in Suzlon Energy, which develops renewable energy equipment such as wind turbines.

“‘24 Hours of Reality’ will focus the world’s attention on the full truth, scope, scale and impact of the climate crisis to remove the doubt, reveal the deniers and catalyze urgency around an issue that affects every one of us,” Al Gore said in a video clip at climaterealityproject.org.

One prominent denier in the United States is Texas Governor Rick Perry. On Aug. 17 in a breakfast talk in Bedford, New Hampshire, this major Republican presidential candidate reaffirmed his view that global warming was an unproven scientific theory advanced by scientists who have “manipulated data”.

“We are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change,” Perry remarked without specifying which scientists support his skepticism.

At the Climate Project Asia-Pacific Summit in Jakarta on Jan. 8-10, 2011, Al Gore spoke about the doubters of climate change. Asked how he would respond to the deniers, Gore said he would present them the scientific arguments “politely”.

For Indonesia, “24 Hours of Reality” is another in a continuing series of “do events” with people’s participation. The training of 215 Indonesian presenters at the January summit at the Jakarta Convention Center has considerably expanded public awareness of climate change, with each presenter developing their own outreach programs.

The writer teaches journalism at Dr. Soetomo Press Institute (LPDS) in Jakarta.

Post Your Say

Selected comments will be published in the Readers’ Forum page of our print newspaper.

From Our Networks