Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sarawak Intends To Cultivate Bamboo On Bigger Scale

KUCHING, May 22 (Bernama) -- Sarawak is toying with the idea of bamboo cultivation on a bigger scale and the manufacturing of various products from the commodity, state Land Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr James Jemut Masing said Tuesday.

"Bamboo has about 1,500 documented applications, including as a building and reconstruction material," he said.

They are used to produce household items like chopsticks, salad bowl, bamboo veneer trays, brief case and can also be used for producing medicinal products, apart from their bamboo shoots being edible.

"Our research has indicated that the cultivation of bamboo has great economical potential. My ministry is giving a serious thought on bamboo cultivation and processing," he said when winding up the debate on the Yang Dipertua Negeri's adress at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly, here today.

Dr Masing said about 2.5 billion people used bamboo globally while annual turnover for the industry was estimated at around US$10 billion and this has been projected to shoot up to US$20 billion in 2015.

He said research activities were also being conducted to utilise bamboo for efficient fuel generating system.

"The industry in Malaysia is still at a rudimentary stage," he said.

"The Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) has given very high priority for bamboo development," he said.

On the prospects of the palm oil industry in Sarawak, Dr Masing said the state was expected to produce 1.7 million metric tonnes of Crude Palm Oil giving a projected export value of RM3.57 billion calculated based on CPO price of RM2, 100 per metric tonne, this year.

He said the high CPO projected production was attributable to the increase in mature area and improvement in Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) yield expected to be at 15.58 metric tonne per hectare this year.

"If the trend in palm oil price remains stable over the next five years, the state can earn sales tax amounting to RM93.16 million this year and by the year 2010, it would increase to RM130.6 million," he said.

During his presentation, Dr Masing also criticised the anti-palm oil groups and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from European countries, which alleged the palm oil originating from the state as the reason for the loss of biodiversity, emission of carbon dioxide from peatland development, haze incidence and the loss of fauna particularly the Orang Utans and the Sumatran tigers.

He explained that the land development in the state was planned and zoned into plantation and agriculture, industrial, township, protected forest, conservation areas, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

"Oil palm plantations are developed on secondary jungles, either logged-over areas or ex-farm-land.

"No virgin forest has ever been cleared purely for the purpose of oil palm cultivation," he added.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Climate change will 'seriously harm RI'

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

It is no long shot. Indonesia is facing serious threats on many fronts from climate change, a government report says.

A country report on the impact of climate change says that water scarcity is a clear danger to Indonesia, with some coastal areas facing the real prospect of disappearing off the map.

"Indonesia is vulnerable to climate change. Floods, droughts, landslides and forest fires are common climate-related hazards here," Rizaldi Boer, the coordinating author of the central government's report Climate Variability and Climate Change and their Implications in Indonesia, said Wednesday.

The executive summary of the first-ever official report on climate change was delivered at an international seminar on water and climate change Wednesday.

The report will be published next month before being submitted to the United Nations.

The report says climate change will lengthen the dry period caused by El-ni¤o and deplete sources of surface water.

Warmer temperature are expected to lead to a rise in sea levels and worsen the quality of groundwater, which has long been the main source of drinking water in urban areas.

The report says saltwater intrusion is already occurring in Jakarta, Surabaya and Semarang.

In Jakarta, the problem has been evident since the 1960s. The shallow groundwater of coastal areas was brackish before major groundwater developments in previous decades.

Saltwater intrusion in the shallow and deep aquifer has reached 15 kilometers from the coastline in Jakarta and caused serious land subsidence that will make the areas more flood prone, the report says.

Indonesia has around 81.000 kilometers of coastline.

Many industries such as oil and gas, fisheries, agriculture and tourism operate in coastal areas.

The report says a one meter rise in sea levels would flood 405,000 hectares of coastal land and could lead to the disappearance of small islands. This would have serious implications for Indonesia's state borders.

The report says a water crisis would negatively affect crop yields in farming areas, while an increase in temperatures and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations would also affect rice yields.

The report also predicts global warming will make more people become vulnerable to outbreaks of water and vector-borne disease such as malaria and dengue fever.

Indonesia is currently the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases due to the significant release of carbon dioxide from deforestation.

Powerful quake sparks panic, tsunami warning

Panca Nugraha and Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Mataram, Kupang

A powerful undersea earthquake struck the Nusa Tenggara island chain Thursday, sparking panic among residents who took the initiative to flee homes and buildings on an island near the epicenter, officials said.

The quake struck near Sumbawa island at a depth of 19 kilometers, Fauzi, head of seismology at Indonesia's Meteorological and Geophysics Agency, said.

According to Indonesian seismologists, the quake reached a magnitude of 6.5, while the U.S. Geological Survey measured it at 5.5.

The earthquake prompted a brief tsunami warning, but there were no reports of injuries or casualties.

"We canceled the warning because the quake had no tsunami-generating potential," Sri Woro, head of the geophysics agency, told Reuters.

"It was quite a strong quake and created panic," said Iwan, a journalist based in Sumbawa, who added he had not seen any damage in the island's main town of Raba, the capital of Bima regency.

Residents ran out into the streets as buildings trembled in villages and towns on Sumbawa, fearful the quake would cause houses to collapse or send debris flying.

"All civil servants here rushed out of the building (of the Bima regency administration) and were reluctant to go back in for hours after, fearing aftershocks," said Bima regency spokesman Abdul Wahab.

Wahab said a similar wave of panic occurred in a number of locations around Raba, especially in the districts of Sape, Lambu and Langgudu.

"People were screaming and running out of their homes," said Indra, a bank employee in Sape, as quoted by AFP.

"People are still traumatized by an earthquake that occurred at the end of last year, which destroyed buildings and killed three people," Wahab said.

The regency administration deployed several teams to calm the situation, including one to Sape, the only port in Bima which links West Nusa Tenggara to East Nusa Tenggara.

The teams urged people to remain calm and monitored signs of a possible tsunami.

Burhanuddin Abdullah, who resides near Raba, said his first concern was for his family.

"I immediately instructed my daughters and wife to get out of the house," he said. "But actually, this earthquake was not as strong as the one we experienced last year."

The tremor was felt in a number of cities in East Nusa Tenggara, including Labuan Bajo, the capital of West Manggarai regency; Ruteng, the capital of Manggarai; Waingapu, the capital of East Sumba; Waikabubak, the capital of West Sumba; and Rara, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara.

Initial reports have suggested the quake did not cause major damage. A police officer on duty in the Sumbawa town of Dompu said no damage or casualties had been reported there, according to AFP.

The tsunami warning was lifted less than an hour after it was issued and no tsunami was recorded, the officer said.

Unilever to sell environmentally sustainable tea

By Marcy Nicholson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The company that produces Lipton tea, one of the world's biggest black tea buyers, aims to obtain all its tea from plantations deemed sustainable, a U.S.-based watchdog group said on Friday.

Announcing its first such agreement with a tea company, the Rainforest Alliance said Unilever, which owns such well-known brands as Lipton and PG Tips, will begin selling Rainforest Alliance certified tea.

"This decision will transform the tea industry which has been suffering for many years from oversupply and underperformance," Unilever Chief Executive Patrick Cescau said in a release.

Rainforest Alliance certification requires three levels of sustainability - worker welfare, farm management and environmental protection. The first certified tea will come from Kericho, Kenya, an estate expected to be certified within weeks, to be sold in European restaurants and to caterers in August.

Read More ....

Friday, May 25, 2007

KL, RI reaffirm biodiesel plans despite industry uncertainty

The Jakarta Post

KUALA LUMPUR (AP): The Malaysia and Indonesian governments Friday reaffirmed plans to set aside a combined 12 million metric tons of palm oil a year for biodiesel production despite uncertainty about the future of the industry.

The world's two largest palm oil producers said in 2006 - when biofuel projects were flourishing - they would each set aside 6 million tons of palm oil a year. Since then crude oil prices have fallen from their highs and palm oil prices have soared to nine-year highs, putting many biodiesel projects in jeopardy.

"We are far from reaching 6 million tons. What we are that 6 million tons is our commitment. The rest is up to the private sector," said Peter Chin, Malaysia's Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister.

"If the present (palm oil) price is deemed too high, then manufacturers will have to make their own commercial decisions whether to proceed," he said.

Chin spoke with reporters after a delegation meeting with Indonesian Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono.

Both countries have agreed to maintain the allocation despite renewed doubts about the future of biodiesel, Chin said.

Malaysia has approved more than 90 biodiesel manufacturing projects but only six are in operation so far, producing a combined 107,000 tons in the first quarter of 2007, officials said.

Anton didn't provide any details on biodiesel production in Indonesia.

Both ministers said their governments would step up a campaign to counter allegations in the Europe and the U.S. that the expansion of oil palm plantations has caused massive deforestation and loss of habitat for the orangutan in Southeast Asia.

Over the next two months, government and industry officials from both countries will meet legislators and nongovernment organizations in Europe to allay concerns about the impact of plantation growth on the environment.

Yusof Basiron, chief executive of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, said about 500,000 tons a year of potential palm oil sales have been lost because of environment-related concerns.

Anton said criticism of the industry was unfair as palm oil wasn't the main cause of deforestation in the region.

"(In Indonesia), about 64 million hectares of forest have been opened and oil palm plantations account for only 5.5 million hectares. The (loss) of forest is...mainly because of illegal logging," Anton said.

"So, it's not true at all that orangutan have diminished because of palm oil.

Quake hits Maluku province

JAKARTA (JP): A 5.9-magnitude earthquake jolted Maluku province Friday, said Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG).

There were no report of any casualty or damage.

BMG said at its website that the epicenter of the earthquake occurred 1.32 local time was some 182 kilometers northwest of Saumlaki Island, Maluku province.

Megacity leaders must see more green: Experts

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Enormous strains on the environment, caused by huge increases in the city's population, will be the foremost challenge for decision makers in a future megacity, experts said Thursday.

Economist Howard Dick from the University of Melbourne said that the more populated Jakarta of the future would consume more productive land and energy and worsen traffic congestion and public health.

"We must make sure the environment has been taken into account from the very beginning because heavy environmental footprints cause bottlenecks," Dick said.

Dick was a speaker at a Thursday seminar on Leadership in Megacities organized by The Jakarta Post.

Also speaking in the seminar was Zao Muyao, deputy chairman of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress.

Zao said his administration had made public transport issues its main priority in order to better control long-standing traffic problems and ward off the risk of large-scale congestion.

"We keenly feel that, due to structural problems, optimizing traffic structure and increasing the appeal of mass transit will be the most effective way of dealing with the root causes of (congestion)," he said.

Transportation is considered to be the main contributor to air pollution worldwide.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates air pollution kills around 130,000 urbanites a year in developing nations.

Zao said the Shanghai administration planned to build a conservation-oriented and eco-friendly city to help conserve energy and protect the environment.

"In this way, resources will no longer be a bottleneck for development, pollution will be eliminated and a scientific and harmonious development path will then unfold," he said.

The Shanghai administration has issued a three year plan of action for environmental protection.

The initiative has been aimed at protecting aquatic environments, air quality, the reuse of after-treatment solid waste and the treatment of industrial and agricultural pollution.

"(The plan) must help improve urban management and the living standards of citizens," he said.

Plans are underway to form Jakarta and its neighboring cities of Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi, Puncak and Cianjur into a megacity collectively dubbed Jabodetabekpunjur.

The planned conurbation will consist of 9,624 square kilometers of land with a total population of over 23 million.

The concept was refloated by Governor Sutiyoso last year as part of efforts to resolve environmental problems such as air pollution and the capital's water crisis.

A megacity is generally considered to be an urban area with a population of over 10 million people

'Magical' waste bin takes three students to Sweden

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A "magical waste bin" designed to compress organic waste has seen three Indonesian students named as finalists in an international inventors competition in Goteborg, Sweden.

The young team from Indonesia is made up of Agnes Santoso, 21, Vania Santoso, 15, and Wening Pranayadipta, 15. The team is one of 15 invited to present their work in Sweden on May 31.

Agnes said their waste bin idea was supposed to be user- and environmentally friendly.

The invention was called the magic waste bin because with it they could produce fertilizer from organic waste in a magically easy way, she said.

"We wanted it to be easy to use," Agnes said.

"The bin doesn't have to be expensive, but it has to be perforated to allow oxygen in," the law student from Airlangga University in Surabaya told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Vania Santoso said it was easy to create a magic bin.

The first step is to perforate the bin, she said.

"Then you find two burlap (natural fiber/Hessian) bags, one to be placed in the bottom of the bin, while the second is used to cover the top of the organic waste put into the bin.

"The bags are meant to hold in the moisture.

"The bin should have a lid of some kind," she said, explaining a cardboard box would do.

"We cut the organic waste into small pieces for placement in the bin.

"Then we stir the waste, which should be kept at about 60 Celsius degrees, every day.

"After two months, we remove the resulting fertilizers and sieve and aerate it.

"Then it is ready to use," said Vania, who is in the ninth grade at Petra Lima Junior High School of Surabaya.

Wening Pranayadipta -- or Dipta, said their community welcomed their cleanliness projects.

Besides the waste bin project, the team also recycles inorganic waste into bags, souvenirs and toys.

The Surabaya municipality administration has given its support to the project by donating choppers and other equipment.

"The projects have decreased the amount of waste in Surabaya by one third, or 88,600 cubic meters per month," said Dipta, a ninth grader of Ciputra Junior High School in Surabaya.

She said people in one sub-district could get two tons of compost per month from 1,218 cubic meters of waste using the magic bin.

In another sub-district, people were able to make as much as Rp 8 million (US$ 889) per month from recycling inorganic waste into souvenirs, while reducing the 1.1 tons of waste usually produced in the area by 80 percent.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

High tides expected to continue for a week

The Jakarta Post): The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said large waves that have been pounding the southern coastlines of Java, Sumatra and Bali since Thursday have weakened, but are expected to continue for another week.

The agency said the waves were caused by persistent winds from the Indian Ocean coinciding with the arrival of the lunar tide.

The head of the maritime meteorology information subsection at the BMG, Suratno, said Monday high atmospheric pressure in the southern part of the world, especially in the Indian Ocean, and low atmospheric pressure in the northern part of the world, especially in India and Japan, had caused strong southerly winds, which subsequently had caused massive waves around Indonesia.

"High atmospheric pressure causes only normal winds of between 25 to 30 knots, but because this is persistent, it has caused massive waves," Suratno told The Jakarta Post after a closed-door meeting to discuss the phenomenon. (Matheos Viktor)

Quake of 6.5 on Richter Scale Jolts East Nusa Tenggara

Thursday, 24 May, 2007 | 17:03 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Kupang: An earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale hit the west part of Flores and Sumba Island, East Nusa Tenggara, this morning (24/5).

According to the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) in Kupang, the earthquake had the potential to cause tsunami waves.

According to BMG in Kupang, the epicenter was in the sea, more or less 76.31 kilometers Southwest of Waikabukak, East Nusa Tenggara, 19 kilometers deep.

The epicenter was at 09.92 South Latitude, 118.77 East Longitude, that took place on 09.06 WITA (Central Indonesian Time).

However, there have not been any reports yet from the quake-affected area about any tsunami waves or the damage that occurred.

Communication access to western Flores or Sumba Island was still cut.

In the East Nusa Tenggara capital city, Kupang, the quake was not noticed.

BMG Kupang Head, Rifai Marulak, said that he was coordinating with the quake-affected areas.

“Up to 10am WITA, communication was still down,” he told Tempo.

Jems de Fortuna

Serang dump a new site for Jakarta garbage

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Banten

Serang regency in Banten, about two hours east of the capital, is planning to build a new garbage dump in Bojong Menteng, Tanjung Teja district.

Deputy regent Andy Sujadi said Tuesday the dump was designed to accommodate more than 6,000 tons of Jakarta's waste per day.

"We're opening our door to Jakarta's garbage... as long as there's compensation to the region from the Jakarta administration."

Andy explained that the 119.5 hectare dump site will apply a sanitary landfill system that will separate organic and non-organic waste.

The dump, which will be located next to the railway connecting Merak and Jakarta, will produce fertilizer and other products. The processing will be handled by local residents.

"We certainly hope the final dump site will open job opportunities. (We also hope) the application of the sanitary landfill system will be able to minimize environment impacts," Andy said.

Ubaidillah Kabier, the chairman of Commission B at the regency's legislative council, which handles environmental issues, said the council had no objections to the administration's plan to accommodate Jakarta's garbage.

"But there should be an agreement made with the community living in near the dump and a fee (should be paid by Jakarta) to cover the operational costs of the dump," he added.

Ubaidillah said the regency administration need to settle emerging problems with land acquisition soon.

"If these problems are ignored, they will hamper the construction project itself. The administration must also soon disseminate information on the construction of the dump to the community."

A number of residents living near Bojong Menteng have rejected the administration's plan to build the dump.

"It would affect our health," said Marhin Sofawi, a neighborhood unit chief at Bojong Menteng village.

"Many residents intend to move, but they want the administration to find them new houses."

The regency administration has allocated Rp 3 billion from this year's budget to release 30 hectares of land occupied by residents, while the physical construction of the dump, costing around Rp 100 billion, is being financed by the World Bank.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Decades old Herbarium moves to new building

Theresia Sufa, The Jakarta Post, Bogor

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is slated to open the new building of the Herbarium Bogoriensi center in the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) complex in Cibinong, Bogor, on Wednesday.

The 4,000 square meter building holds over two million species of florae, all dried or preserved in alcohol (see photo). Some specimens are 190 years old, having been preserved right after the establishment of Bogor Botanical Park in 1817.

The construction of the building and research facilities was funded by the Japanese government, channeled through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The herbarium center's old building in Jl. Juanda, downtown Bogor, was no longer suitable for the whole collection, according to head of LIPI's biology research center, Dedi Darnaedi.

"Moreover, LIPI intends to develop its Cibinong complex as a center of biodiversity studies," he said Tuesday.

Besides the herbarium, LIPI already has a zoology center and its Ecopark in the complex.

The herbarium's opening ceremony will be in conjunction with the 300th anniversary of the birth of Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Indonesia and Australia Agree to Breed Wild Animals

Tuesday, 22 May, 2007 | 15:32 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The Forestry Department followed up cooperation with the Australian Zoo Authority to breed wild animals threatened by extinction. The Letter of Intent was signed in Jakarta yesterday (21/5).

Earlier, the Wildlife Park Authority bred the Sumatran orangutan in Australia. The orangutan called Tamara was brought from Bukit Dua Puluh National Park, Jambi.

Last October, Tamara was returned to Indonesia. Tamara gave birth to 12 orangutans, now being reared at the Perth Zoo under the auspices of the Australian Zoo Authority.

In the Letter of Intent , the base of cooperation continues. It was agreed that Australia will support the conservation activities of other animals from the national park such as the Sumatran elephant and the Sumatran tiger.

Australia will be involved in the activities of habitat protection and security, rehabilitation and release of the orangutan to its natural habitat, elephant and tiger conservation especially the handling of conflict with humans also Javan gibon conservation.

Australia will also help to increase human resources in the national park by the staff exchange program, population survey and research through to technical aid for infrastructure development.

Ministry to build silos for corn

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA: The Agriculture Ministry will construct silos to store corn harvested in 15 provinces this year to improve product quality, the director general of agricultural products processing and marketing, Djoko Said Damardjati, said Sunday.

"We will use the silos to improve corn quality because now farmers do not have proper storage. This leads to lower prices due to the poor quality of corn," he was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

The silos, able to hold 50 tons, will cost some Rp 900 million (US$102,000) each. They will be built in a total of 39 regencies and mayoralties with more than 1,000 hectares of corn farms.

"We expect farmers will return to planting corn when the prices go up after quality improves," Djoko said.

Indonesia produces 12 tons of corn every year, well above its domestic need of five tons.

Poor distribution, however, forced Indonesia to import 1.6 tons of corn last year.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Green science: Biofuels and the Future of the environment

Arnawa Widagda, Contributor The Jakarta Post , Jakarta

The rising prices of petroleum fuel have pushed alternative fuels such as biodiesel and bioethanol into the spotlight. Despite their rising popularity, many seem to misunderstood what biofuel is.

Unlike traditional fossil-based fuels such as diesel and gasoline, biofuels are environmentally friendly, renewable fuel. As the name implies, biofuels are extracted from plants -- biodiesel is typically made from new or used vegetable oils and animal fats, while ethanol is made from any plant life rich in sugar, like corn and sugar cane.

Currently available biofuel offerings on the market use a blend of biodiesel or ethanol with traditional petroleum fuel. For example, biodiesel is typically made up of 20 percent biofuel and 80 percent petroleum, called B20 fuel. Bioethanol blends are made with 5 to 10 percent ethanol.

For its Bio Pertamax, Pertamina uses 5 percent of ethanol. In this sense, biofuels can be regarded as additives rather than replacements for fossil-based fuels such as petroleum.

However, much higher blends of biofuel exist that can be considered "real" alternatives for petroleum.

Neat biodiesel, or B100, is made entirely from biodiesel, while ethanol-based biofuels such as E85 and E95 use 85 percent and 95 percent ethanol, respectively.

Such high-level blends will certainly reduce significantly the world's dependence on fossil-based fuels; however, they are not without drawbacks.

Ethanol is much more corrosive and burns at lower combustion temperatures than traditional gasoline. The corrosive nature of ethanol and biodiesel means cars -- or engines in general -- must use additional protection to prevent damage to fuel-related systems if they use high biofuel blends.

With lower blends (10 percent for ethanol and 20 percent for biodiesel), engines and fuel systems do not need the additional protection. Due to its lower combustion temperature, gasoline engines still need a 15 percent blend of gasoline; otherwise, the engines will fail on a cold start.

However, diesel engines are much better suited for low-burn temperature fuel, making E95 a better choice for diesel engines.

It is also true that biofuel generally produces less energy than petroleum, meaning slightly lower mileage for users. This is because traditional gasoline and diesel engines are built without biofuels in mind.

Biodiesels have more oxygen content than traditional diesel, while ethanol-based biofuels have more octane but a lower combustion temperature. Biofuel-aware engines such as flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) engines in newer cars should have no problems with E85 for gasoline engines or in the case of biodiesel, neat biodiesel for diesel engines.

These two characteristics of biofuels actually have a positive effect -- a more efficient combustion, which means less pollution. So the use of biofuels should help the current energy crisis and even protect the environment.

Various studies show that neat biodiesel reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 75 percent compared to petroleum diesel. Using B20 biodiesel reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent.

Tests at the National Center for Vehicle Emissions Control and Safety at Colorado State University document a 25 to 30 percent reduction in carbon monoxide emissions when automobiles burn a 10 percent blend of ethanol.

Let's not forget the economic impact on farms and the national workforce.

The different characteristics of biofuels do present new challenges for distribution and storage.

Such facilities must be vigilant about water produced either from condensation due to cold weather or seepage. Rust, microbes and other deposits sticking to the insides of a fuel tank or container detach more easily with biofuel.

A high enough buildup will lead to blockage in fuel systems and failed starts in engines. Of course, this doesn't just affect cars and engines -- it also means fuel pumps and gas stations must invest in new pumps, storage tanks and other equipment.

In fact, Indonesia's entire fuel distribution pipeline will likely require an upgrade to be biofuel-ready.

Biofuel certainly has the potential to replace traditional petroleum -- a clean, renewable energy upon which we can all depend.

At this time, biofuel contribution to the country's energy consumption is still very small.

For biofuel to gain widespread use, the necessary infrastructure -- more FFVs on the market, upgraded biofuel-ready supply and distribution channels, including a quality standard on biofuels -- must be in place.

A paper written by Soni Solistia Wirawan and Armansyah H. Tambunan of the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) titled The Current Status and Prospects of Biodiesel Development also cites other necessary steps. These concern "how to accelerate the construction of new biodiesel plants, plantations as a key driver in the continuity of raw material, which is supported by committed government policy and regulation. This implies all biodiesel stakeholders should work harder for the success of the biodiesel program in Indonesia".

Such a project will likely be costly, but the rewards would be well worth the effort. Biofuels are not just a solution to our energy problem, but also a long-term environmental solution.

“England Must Oversee Origins of Oil Palm”

Friday, 18 May, 2007 | 16:50 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: England, as the biggest palm oil importer in the world after the Netherlands, must set up tight regulations on the origins of palm oil, which is to be a bio-fuel base commodity. This is because the development of a palm oil estate is closely related to deforestation and the orangutan slaughtering.

“We hope that the palm oil plantation will not destroy forests or habitats,” said Director of the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP), Hardi Baktiantoro, during a rally in front of the British Embassy, Wednesday (16/5). In the rally, four COP activists wore the uniform of plantation officers and carried orangutan puppets, also fuel jerry cans.

Throughout 2006, said Hardi, the rescue team from the Forestry Department and the Nyarumenteng Orangutan Reintroduction Center, Central Kalimantan, managed to save 368 orangutans from a number of palm oil plantations. The plantation workers generally consider orangutans as pests as they eat palm oil leaves. They also chase orangutans from palm oil plantations. As a result, orangutans lose its habitats, water and food sources.

“This cruelty is a violation against the Decree No. 5/1990 on Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation. The perpetrators could face five year imprisonment or Rp100 million fine,” he said.


Dry season spells death for conserved trees, flowers

Theresia Sufa and Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Bogor, Jakarta

Climate change may have taken its toll on the Bogor Botanical Gardens, with treasured trees and flowers at risk of dying due to drought, an official said.

Head of the gardens' management team Irawati said that plant collections have been affected by warmer temperatures in Bogor as a result of climate change.

"This is the first time in our history that we have been forced to water our collections due to fewer downpours," Irawati said at the gardens' 190th anniversary celebrations on the weekend.

The anniversary was attended by State Minister of Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman and chairwoman of the Indonesian Botanical Garden Foundation Megawati Soekarnoputri.

As part of the conservation efforts, Irawati said the gardens has offered its collection of rare plants to the Bogor administration to be planted outside the complex to save them from extinction.

"The gardens is almost full. We're also developing an eco-park in the Cibinong Science Center to accommodate some of our collections," Irawati said.

There are currently 2,000 flowers and trees planted in the 32-hectare eco-park in Cibinong.

Minister Kusmayanto said the Bogor Botanical Gardens played an important role in conserving flowers and trees from other countries.

The complex contains collections of thousands of types of flowers and trees from around the world, including the sakura or cherry blossom tree from Japan and the kimilsungia flower from Korea.

Climate change has been a hot topic around the world due to its impacts on the environment. It has slashed rainfall in many regions and has subsequently caused droughts.

State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar said that climate change had hit several areas in the country.

The environment ministry said that huge floods in February which inundated more than half of Greater Jakarta were a strong indication of the affects of climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world's top authority on the issue, said that Indonesia had experienced rising temperatures of between 0.2 and 1 degree Celsius per year.

Environmental guru Emil Salim warned that global warming could threaten the country's agricultural production.

"Climate change has frightened those involved in our agricultural sector," Emil, who is also environmental advisor to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said during a seminar on the impacts of climate change on the agriculture sector.

Emil said that an increase in temperature of one degree Celsius could boost the intensity of droughts and floods as well as cause cyclones. He said the condition would then reduce the availably of surface and river water.

"The impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector are very harsh in equator countries like Indonesia," Emil said.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Massive waves pound beaches in Bali, Java

The Jakarta Post, Bandung, Yogyakarta

Massive waves have pounded Indonesia's coastlines since Thursday destroying fishing boats and shacks and creating widespread panic in Bali where thousands of tourists are holidaying for the long weekend, Reuters said Friday.

The weather pattern is unusual and not in-line with annual forecasts, officials said. No casualties have been recorded to-date.

Parts of the southern coast of Java island and Sukabumi area in West Java have been affected by water coming into villages and forcing residents to evacuate.

Weather officials have warned fishermen against sailing off southern Java and authorities have forbidden people from surfing at Kuta beach until the weather subsides.

Some officials and media reports have referred to the weather phenomenon as a regular set of tidal waves that have been exaggerated because the moon is in line with the sun, Reuters said.

Waves as high as four and five meters have struck Bali's Jimbaran resort area, destroying more than 100 fishing boats and forcing the popular restaurant strip to be evacuated.

At Kuta beach in Bali, three- and four-meter-high waves also forced tourists to desert the area.

The Water Tourism Safety Agency office in Bali asked its workers on Friday to take special preventive measures because the waves were expected to continue into Sunday.

"We are working hard. We have fielded 80 workers to keep tourists from coming to the beach," Bali's water safety agency coordinator I Made Suparka told Antara.

"Many of the workers will keep their eyes on tourists using 12 towers along the 20-km Bali beach."

The guards have also asked vendors selling food, beverages and handicrafts to abandon the beaches and avoid the dangerous waves.

Bali Police spokesman Sr. Comr. AS Reniban told marine tourism operators and all fishermen to stay out of sea.

On Friday the waves destroyed fishing houses on Kedongan and Jimbaran beaches in Bali, as well as other houses and food stalls in the popular Pangandaran beach in Ciamis, West Java.

The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency in Bandung, West Java has asked tourists spending the long weekend in the area to avoid beaches.

Agency head Hendri Subakti said the tidal waves might reach as far as 100 meters inland and would continue for the next three days.

The tides have struck West Java southern coastal areas, from Sukabumi to Pangandaran, damaging hundreds of food stalls, kiosks and houses.

Much damage has been recorded at Pelabuhan Ratu beach in Sukabumi.

Hendri said hundreds of kiosks on the beach, which is located 160 km from Bandung, were swept away by the four-meter-high waves.

"We have asked tourists and fishermen to abandon the sea to avoid casualties," Hendri said.

"This is dangerous because we had no indication the waves would strike."

Hendri however offered another explanation for the tidal waves. He said they were a natural phenomenon and an accumulation of monsoon weather near the Indian Ocean adjacent to Australia.

He said the wind associated with the weather had reached speeds of 25 knots per hour.

Nana Sukarna of the Sukabumi regency disaster mitigation coordination unit said 61 houses and food stalls in Pelabuhan Ratu beach had been swept away by the tides.

"Currently, hundreds of families have been evacuated to the representative office of Pelabuhan Ratu regent," Nana said.

In southern Garut, the tides have damaged 13 houses, according to Garut Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Eko Budi Sampurno.

"The sea suddenly rose and reached 100 meters inland," he said.

In Yogyakarta's Samas beach, two-meter-high waves have destroyed more than 10 houses and food stalls, as well as damaging approximately 60 fishing boats.

Head of Yogyakarta's Samas beach fishermen association, Rudjito, told The Jakarta Post on Friday the waves had made people panic.

"There were no strong winds or any storm -- but suddenly the waves struck.

"This kind of phenomenon is the first I've experienced ever. Nature is no longer friendly," he said.

Violent waves have also made tourists abandon West Sumatra's busy beach in Padang since Thursday, with the seawater flooding roads located 10 meters away from the beach.

-- Syofiardi Bachyul Jb. contributed to the story from Padang, West Sumatra

Households, traders seek cheaper cooking oil

Oyos Saroso H.N. and Suherdjoko, The Jakarta Post, Lampung, Semarang

Rising cooking oil prices have prompted some businesses and households in Semarang and Lampung to seek cheaper alternatives, or to cut back costs in other areas.

Mahfudi runs a small business in Gunungpati, Semarang, making banana crackers. He makes about 400 bags of crackers a day, which he sells for Rp 1,500 to Rp 1,750 each.

Because cooking oil makes up a large part of his operational expenses, he has been scrambling to cut costs in other areas.

"I use 16 kilograms of cooking oil a day, which I buy directly from an agent at a price of Rp 7,600 per kilogram. I can't cut the use of cooking oil," he said.

The businessman, who employs five people, has come up with another way to cut costs -- by saving on the fuel for his stove. Instead of buying 15-kilogram canisters of kerosene for Rp 36,000, he now buys 50-kg bags of wood chips from a sawmill for Rp 1,500 that he uses to fire his stove.

"At first, I didn't expect that I could save that much money by not buying kerosene. When I first tested it, the wood didn't work very well. Then I made a simple stove that could use the wood. I have been using the wood chips ever since."

Rising cooking oil prices have meant a change of menu for housewife Rika Saraswati in Semarang.

"I am trying to save money by not frying food too much. I usually fry eggs, but now I boil them. I will only fry food if the children really want some fried foods."

In Lampung, several housewives have begun making their own cooking oil using coconut. With just three coconuts, they can produce a liter of cooking oil.

"Although making our own cooking oil means more work, it saves money," said Sudarti, a resident of Suburbatu in Bandarlampung.

"When I'm tired of making my own cooking oil, I don't fry food, I just steam it."

For others, however, there is little they can do about the higher cooking oil prices.

Fried snack seller Setiawan said he usually uses five kilograms of cooking oil a day in running his business in the heart of Semarang city, Central Java. Two months ago, a kilogram of cooking oil cost Rp 5,500, and now it is Rp 7,800.

"I don't know how I can maintain my prices. I use a kerosene stove and I have to make sure the snacks are dry and hot all the time in order not to disappoint my customers," said Setiawan, who sells fried banana, tempeh and tofu from a simple pushcart.

For Setiawan, higher cooking oil prices mean he takes home less money.

"What else can I do? I try to save on the cooking oil but it doesn't make any difference. I still use four to five kilograms of cooking oil."

A fried snack seller in Bandarlampung, Margono, has not worked for the past two months because he was losing money as a result of cooking oil prices.

"When the price of cooking oil rose from Rp 6,800 to Rp 8,000 a liter, I turned to used oil. But when the used oil supply ran out, I stopped my business since I wasn't making enough to cover the costs," said the resident of Kampung Sawah subdistrict.

Before prices rose, he spent Rp 75,000 a day running his business, which generally brought in around Rp 120,000 a day. But with the higher prices he was having to spend Rp 110,000 a day, while still earning the same amount.

"I can't raise the prices of my snacks, even though in addition to the cooking oil the prices of tempeh, tofu and flour have also gone up."

Local trade offices and associations have introduced efforts to bring down cooking oil prices.

In Central Java, the trade and industry office, in collaboration with the Association of Indonesia Vegetable Oil Producers, is selling cooking oil in markets for Rp 6,700 a kilogram.

Around 5,000 liters of the oil is being distributed to each market, and each buyer is limited to 10 kg. Officials hope this initiative will bring down the price of cooking oil to Rp 6,500 a kilogram by the end of the month.

"We have also asked six cooking oil distributors in Semarang to support the move," said trade office executive Edison Ambarura.

In Lampung, the administration has asked five cooking oil factories to back an initiative, set to begin May 21, to sell the oil at Rp 6,750 per kilogram. Cooking oil prices in traditional markets in Bandarlampung are currently hovering between Rp 8,500 and Rp 9,000 a kilogram.

The factories have agreed to provide 1,000 tons of crude palm oil per month, between May and July, to be processed into cooking oil. This is far below the 15,000 tons of CPO per month requested by the administration.

"Based on the agreement, each factory will allocate 200 tons of CPO per month," said the Lampung administration's assistant secretary, Djunaidi Djaya.

Bandarlampung trader Mu'anah, however, is pessimistic the efforts will drive down prices.

"The government needs to watch out for CPO producers and agents. They sell cooking oil at high prices. Frankly, we're confused. The administration is working to bring down prices by selling cooking oil at cheaper prices. But how can prices come down if it's already high from the agents?" asked the 50-year-old trader at Kangkung market.

Thousands face food shortages in villages

Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Kupang

Thousands of residents in 27 villages in Timor Tengah Utara regency in East Nusa Tenggara have asked the government to distribute more rice, with 334 tons of rice distributed in March having already ran out.

"The food shortage this year is terrible. Each family received a ration of 20 kg of rice in March, but we have finished it. We need help from the government because many of us are starting to face hunger," said Edmundus, a resident from Humusu village, Insana Utara district, on Friday.

According to Edmundus, residents are surviving by selling their livestock or working as laborers.

"Many people are facing hunger now, forcing some of them to resort to theft to have food. Thieves, who have started roaming the north coast, have stolen a lot of livestock," Edmundus said.

Timor Tengah Utara Vice Regent Raymundus Fernandez said his office was making efforts to seek help from non-governmental organizations, relief agencies and the East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration in Kupang.

"The provincial administration has promised to provide 60 tons of rice from the social welfare office and will immediately send supplies to affected locations," Raymundus said.

However, he admitted the assistance would be insufficient to overcome the food shortages in the affected areas.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Earthquake rattles Banten, sparks tsunami alert

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (Antara): An earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale jolted Banten province at 6.37 a.m. on Thursday, causing residents on alert for possible tsunami.

But there was no such an extraordinary seawave following the tremor, whose epicenter is located at 6.98 degrees south latitude and 104.93 degree east longitude about 65 kilometers southwest of Ujung Kulong at the depth of 30 kilometers under the sea level.

Koko, an officer with the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG), said that there was no immediate report of damage or casualties.

"We have also contacted relevant officials in a number of cities around the epicenter such as south Banten and Lampung but they did not even feel the tremors," he was quoted by Antara news agency as saying.

After the quake, people living on the Banten coastal areas of Ujung Kulon, Labuan and Carita, however, were on the alert for possible tsunami.

An official at the Ujung Kulon National Park, Endjat Sudrajat, said just after the tremor he and his colleagues were preparing for possible tsunami. "We were observing the sea waters to see signs of possible tsunami," Endjat said.

RI to host 2nd ASEAN wildlife law enforcement network conference

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (Antara): The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will hold its 2nd Wildlife Law Enforcement Network (WEN) conference at the Safari Park in Bogor, West Java, on May 21-24, the Forestry Ministry said.

Officials from ASEAN's 10 member countries as well as 100 participants outside the group will attend the forum, the Indonesian Forestry Ministry said in a release issued Wednesday.

ASEAN groups Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

The observers would come from Australia, China, Japan, Nepal, and the United States among others as well as international agencies including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

ASEAN WEN was set up in Bangkok in 2005 to uphold laws on endangered flora and fauna. Police, customs and excise offices, attorney general's offices, forestry offices and conservation agencies in the 10 ASEAN member countries are members of the network.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Indonesia to introduce national standards for agricultural products

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government will issue a regulation requiring agricultural commodities to meet a national standard (SNI) for agricultural commodities to prevent entry of low-quality imported products into the country, an Agriculture Ministry official said here on Tuesday.

The director general of agricultural product marketing and processing, Djoko Said Damardjati, said many low-quality imported agricultural products had so far been sold in the country at a low price thus damaging the price of domestic produce.

"Our country has so far been like a waste dump. Low-quality or even reject imported products have entered the country freely," he said.

The situation was like that because no rule had been made to require compliance with standards for the products, he said.

He said the SNI meanwhile was already being applied to imported industrial products.

Djoko said the application of the SNI to imported agricultural products would be done in stages starting with garlic this year whose import reached 90 percent.

"With the application of SNI, the quality of imported products sold in the country will be good while its price will also be higher," he said.

He said other products to be affected by the SNI regulation next year would be cocoa and apples.

To meet the implementation of the SNI he hoped farmers in the country would strive to improve the quality of their produce so that they could compete in the market.

He said the SNI regulation would also be applied to domestic produce. Therefore, he called on farmers to start implementing good agriculture practices to improve the quality of their produce.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bogor eyes China's dump management

The Jakarta Post

BOGOR: Bogor officials told visiting delegates from Nanning, China, Monday they would like to cooperate in managing the city's Nambo dump.

Bogor regency secretary Iyang Saputra said the Nambo dump was a success, despite being located in the middle of the city.

"It doesn't stink up the city ... We might be able to cooperate in garbage treatment and learn from their technology."

The delegation, led by Nanning mayor Xie Zeyu, met with Bogor regency officials and talked about cooperation in agriculture, tourism and technology.

According to Iyang the visit was a reciprocation of last year's visit by a Bogor delegation to the Chinese city.

"There are a lot of things we can learn from Nanning, including consistent city planning. They also have a very good water management plant and industrial waste is handled well. Infrastructure planning in Nanning has been very good," he said.

Tiger trade continues

The Jakarta Post

JAMBI, Jambi: The poaching of and trade in wild Sumatran tigers (panthera tigris Sumatraensis) in Jambi province continues, threatening the species with extinction, and official said Monday.

Head of the Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Center Agung Setyabudi blamed the problem on the lack of supervision.

He said that poaching of Sumatran tigers was widespread in the Kerinci Seblat National Park and forests in Merangin, Sarolangun and Bungo regencies. "The animals are usually sold in Jambi city, Sarolangun, Bangko and Muarobungo," Agung said.

According to Traffic, an environmental group from Malaysia concerned with issues on endangered animals, 39 traders in Jambi have been found selling tiger parts since 2002.

The tiger population has drastically dwindled due to poaching and trading practices. Based on data from Traffic, there were only 76 Sumatran tigers still living in the Kerinci Seblat National Park in 2004.

RI to increase cotton production to 70,000 tons in 2010

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia plans to increase its cotton production to 70,000 tons in 2010 to reduce its dependencw on imports, Director General of Plantations Achmad Manggabarani said here on Monday.

He said domestic need for cotton at present reached 550,000 tons a year but only 5,000 tons of it could be met by domestic production and the rest had to be met with imports.

"To meet the production target we plan to open 50,000 hectares of cotton plantations until 2010 and raise productivity to 1.4 tons per hectare," he said.

He said at present productivity of cotton plantations in Indonesia reached only 0.6 tons per hectare because the seeds the farmers used were of low quality.

The cotton plantation development program would be implemented in 55 districts in seven provinces, namely Central Java, East Java, Yogyakarta, Bali, East Nusa Tenggara and South Sulawesi.

At a production rate of 70,000 tons a year, national cotton plantations` contribution to the domestic textile industry and textile production would reach 4.7 percent or up 0.5 percent from the present level.

In 2006, cotton plantation development reached 8,980 hectares producing 4,191 tons of raw cotton equivalent to 1,397 tons of processed cotton to contribute 0.3 percent to the textile industry and textile production.

Manggabarani said three companies would be involved in the development of cotton, namely PT Nusa Farm in West Nusa Tenggara, PT Sukun in East Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta and Bali and PT Sebo Fajar in South Sulawesi.

The president director of PT Ade Agroindustry, Ii` Tjahyadi, said the textile industry needed a large quantity of long-fiber cotton. "The seeds are mostly imported and the results are good," he said.

He said the country actually had large potentials for cotton plantation development but it still had yet to overcome irrigation problems because the plantations were located on marginal land.

Commenting on the irrigation problem, director of water management of the directorate of water and land management of the ministry of agriculture, Gator Irianto, said his office would strive to exploit water sources from shallow and surface water supply for cotton plantations.

"We will use local equipment for easy operation by local farmers ," he said.

Monday, May 14, 2007

AC Nielson study shows Indonesians demand CSR

Patrick Guntensperger, Contributor The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

While most corporations are now devoting human and financial resources to the practice of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), there remains a prevailing belief in some myths that surround the entire realm of socially responsible behavior.

At the top of the list of CSR myths are: that CSR is a luxury add-on that corporations can indulge in only when they are highly successful and when controlling costs is no longer a first-level priority; and that CSR is of minor, if any, significance to consumers in Indonesia and in other developing nations.

However, a recent study by AC Nielsen might just drive a stake through the heart of those two pernicious fables.

The study was carried out in March and April of this year, the results of which were provided to Oxford index, a UK-based international CSR consultancy doing work in Indonesia, and consisted of questions to Indonesians in five major cities across the archipelago.

While the average Indonesian might be unfamiliar with the term CSR, the survey suggests that the principles of social responsibility are of real concern to Indonesians.

Although the term CSR was only recognized by 29 percent of the respondents, deeper investigation revealed that the vast majority, 81 percent, nevertheless believe that social responsibility on the part of corporations is important.

Even more significantly, an overwhelming 84 percent of potential customers would support a corporation they recognized as socially responsible.

These figures indicate that CSR is far from being an unnecessary frill. It is clearly something for which there exists a demand in Indonesia. Or, as they say in the world of advertising, "The market has spoken."

When over 80 percent of consumers make their wishes clear, it is time for businesses to start listening.

AC Nielsen's executive director and head of the company's social research division, Catherine Eddy, said, "There is a whole range of inferences that can be drawn from such a strong positive response."

Farquhar Stirling, managing director of AC Nielsen in Southeast Asia, said, "We now have real evidence that social responsibility provides companies with a distinct advantage in the marketplace."

That competitive edge would, in economic terms, offset many of the short-term costs that a manufacturer might incur in the process of switching to more sustainable methods and products.

We might also conclude that corporations that were recognized as meeting Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) criteria would enjoy an edge in the stock market among investors looking for ethical investment vehicles.

A company with a high CSR profile and credibility would attract individuals with an interest in SRI. It would also be more likely to meet the criteria of institutional ethical investment funds -- a highly lucrative, rapidly growing and much sought-after market segment.

Most market analysts will agree that consumers and investors who demand SRI criteria have a common trait. They refer to them as "picky but sticky". That is to say, they are discriminating in their selection of purchases and investments, but once they have committed, they have intense loyalty.

This would lead us to conclude that the smart money is on those corporations that get in the green game early. They will pick up the first wave of customer loyalty and will be likely to retain those purchasers.

The data also lead us to conclude that the market clearly needs a consistent, comprehensive and credible system of assessing and recognizing corporations and products that meet the public's demand for social responsibility.

The author advises Oxford index on corporate communications and can be reached at