The Balinese Hindu Day of Silence, Nyepi, reduced the island’s CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions by up to 30,000 tons, according to an NGO.
“Nyepi contributes significantly to the island’s environment. It greatly reduces the island’s CO2 emissions and, to a certain extent, brings a temporary stop to the environmental damage experienced by the island,” Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) Bali chapter deputy head Suriadi Darmoko said on Sunday.
During Nyepi, Balinese Hindus partake in the Four Abstinences, including Amati Geni (abstaining from lighting any fire or turning on electricity), Amati Karya (abstaining from working), Amati Lelungan (abstaining from going outside the family home) and Amati Lelanguan (abstaining from indulging in any pleasurable activities).
For 24 hours, seaports, the airport and streets are closed down and television and radio broadcasts are stopped.
At night, only hotels and emergency medical facilities are allowed to turn on their lights.
“There are no motorcycles or cars roaming the streets during Nyepi and that alone reduced CO2 emissions by 30,000 tons.”
Darmoko pointed out that the 24-hour-long cessation of all activities had reduced fuel consumption to a level never recorded on any normal day. Fuel consumption is the main contributing factor in the production of CO2 emissions.
According to research by the Bali Collaboration on Climate Change (BCCC), an umbrella organization for numerous NGOs campaigning for a global-level Nyepi called the World Silence Day, one liter of gasoline can produce 2.4 kilograms of CO2.
A motorcycle consumes an average of 4 liters of gasoline, while a car consumes 10 liters of gasoline per day. According to the provincial transportation agency, there were 2,040,618 motorcycles and 309,381 cars in Bali in 2011.
“We have yet to calculate the other factors, including the airport and seaports shutdown. The level of CO2-emission reduction will be much higher if we factor in all those things,” he added.
“We hope that Nyepi could be adopted by all the people of the world. Nyepi could be an inspiration for all people around the world to do something for their environment,” Darmoko said.
The BCCC proposed World Silence Day in 2007 to participants at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali. Inspired by Nyepi, World Silence Day is observed every March 21.
It is designed to be a moral movement calling on people to save the planet by saving energy and reducing their carbon footprints on a personal and at community levels.
Hindu scholars Ketut Wiana added that the protection and preservation of nature is one of the main philosophical messages of Nyepi.
“In Nyepi day, we allow the earth to take a deep breath, to take a rest, to be free from any pollution for one single day. It is a small way to show our dedication and gratitude to God,” he said.
However, Wiana stressed that the spirit of Nyepi had to be implemented in daily life.
“It is not about one single day in a year. We must invoke and implement the message of environmental preservation every other day.”