Keeping Bali Green

When I first moved to Bali, now almost 18 years ago, the one thing that I found most unappealing was the proliferation of trash to be found almost everywhere.  And by everywhere, I mean, everywhere, from within the ditches that line every road, to most all of Bali’s beaches. 

A great deal has been done to eradicate this problem, and a lot more needs to be done, but without question I would have to say that Bali today is far more beautiful and with less trash about than as I remember from years ago.

The reasons for this improvement are many, and this link below is just one small example of how the locals themselves are taking action to keep Bali green, and beautiful. … pah-jujur/

I think in the south of bali , that thought would not apply ?

:lol:   To be honest, you’re probably spot on! 

I avoid the south of Bali as much as possible, and so do most of the Balinese I know in other areas of Bali.  Sometimes a trip down there just can’t be avoided, but it’s like a whole other world to me.

Perhaps I should re-title my post to read, "Keeping the Real Bali Green?"  ;)

I see both the South and as being the real Bali. To me the south represents modern day Bali whereas the north is more a Bali that hasn't yet changed so much but which is developing slowly, but will inevitably become more and more commercial and like the south, it's just a matter of time.

The south is not ever going to change back to the way it once was, so we should all accept it as the real "modern day" Bali. Indeed, if it wasn't for the south and the huge amounts of revenue that it generates, I daresay that Bali would be less significant than it is now.

However, I do like the notion of keeping Bali green, at least for as long as possible. But I think Singapore also used to be pretty green, but money talks and progress and development is inevitable and perhaps one day the "real" and "green" Bali will only be found in the western part of Bali. Perhaps foreigners will one day scorn Bali as having sold out to tourism and decide that living in Lombok is much more preferable.

i think the only chance for south bali to become green again , is when the water runs out , and it may soon ,  everyone will disappear and slowly the forests will come back.

Nah, it will cost only about 400 million dollars to build a desalination plant large enough to provide more than enough water for about 1.5 million people…more than enough for “down there.”  The eventual need for desalination plants on Bali is almost inevitable. 

As for the "real Bali" it's very easy to spot.  A)  Things are green and beautiful, and B)  One hardly ever hears Indonesian being spoken...even through I Phones!  ;)

desalination plant , hmm god knows how much the water will cost then , bloody expensive I can imagine .

we shall see , normally here things break before they get around to doing anything , I wait with interest to see what happens .

<< The cost of desalinated water, the majority of which is accounted for by plant capital costs and energy costs, is typically in the range of $0.5 to $3 per cubic meter of water (0.05-0.3 dollar cents per liter of water). The lower end of the scale corresponds to regions where electricity costs are low (e.g. Middle East) and the higher end to regions where electricity costs are high (e.g. Australia, where electricity is sometimes mandated to be from renewable energy).>>

The above according to Doctor Ronan McGovern of MIT. 

Solution?  Bring back $30 VOAs, and let Bali keep that money to pay for the water…and road repair, and…

hmmm maybe , for the moment I have 3 water tanks which will insulate me a little if the unthinkable happens .

Our "water tank" is our swimming pool.   :lol:

Now and again our water goes out, and our bore is not connected, so we gather water from the pool, boil a big pot of it, and clean as a whistle we all are! 

Worse case scenario, (and all Balinese know this option very well), there's always the nearby river or large stream.  Even today many Balinese prefer a mandi there as opposed to at home.  And that's more of "the real Bali."   ;)

ya in ubud you have those options , in nusa dua bores are a problem salt incursion  , we shall see what the future holds .

“Indeed, if it wasn't for the south and the huge amounts of revenue that it generates, I daresay that Bali would be less significant than it is now.”

Significant, versus revenue generating, are of course two completely different criteria to judge.

Bali’s significance as a world class tourist destination is not based on revenue, but rather, it is based on its appeal.  Moreover, Bali’s position, year after year as among the top ten islands in the world, and as published in all the most cited sources, viz, Travel and Leisure Magazine, Conde Nast, or even Trip Advisor don’t mention Kuta or most places in the South, (aside from Nusa Dua), at all. 

The famed book and movie, Eat, Pray, Love wasn’t based on a romance formed in the bars or at the beaches of Kuta…rather it was Ubud. 

Your typical travel brochure for Bali isn’t resplendent with photos of Kuta, Seminyak, Kerobokan, or Canggu, nor even the five star resorts of Nusa Dua.  On the contrary, they are resplendent of views of Bali from places like Ubud, Batur and the central mountains, and the hidden beaches of eastern Bali. 

If southern Bali is to be regarded as “the modern” Bali I would say that the vast majority of us outside that area would far more prefer to remain archaic.  For us, there is nothing necessarily “modern” about choking traffic, endless pavement, air pollution, throngs of people everywhere, and not a rice field to be seen. 

Indeed, the appeal of Bali is now, and has been for all of the years since it became a popular tourist destination…the culture and beauty of this island.  Beauty is all but gone in the South of Bali, and traditional Balinese culture is suffering as well.  God help us all if this is indeed something to consider as modern…or appealing in any way. 

Of course, for one to understand and appreciate this reality, one would really have to know Bali.  For certain, folks who come to Bali and spend all their time on the beaches of Kuta, or at the endless bars to be found there…none of what I write would make a flip of sense.  The same can be said for those who come to Bali and spend all their time at a five star resort in Nusa Dua (our answer to Disneyland).  While indeed they came to Bali, unfortunately, they missed the real Bali, and what Bali is all about…written endlessly in so many books since the early 20th century. 

For me, that’s just fine, and if modernity is a term to be applied to southern Bali…again, the “dark ages” will always remain far more preferable to me…someone who really knows Bali.   ;)

I really like a green Bali. Over the last 35 years I have seen Bali change enormously.

For myself, I count Bali as one of my many homes where I have lived 24/7 in the past. But I see it getting worse and worse. Now it is becoming a world class holiday destination but the locals see only money and opportunity.

I do not know what the Balinese must do to stop Bali from becoming less green, but they need to do something quickly or as I have said before in other threads, Bali will become developed like Hawaii with National parks, not that I feel that is a bad thing.

“…but the locals see only money and opportunity…”

I guess the locals I know, and know very well, must be completely different sorts of locals…as in Balinese, and not immigrated Indonesians from Java and elsewhere.  I say that because the “locals” (Balinese) I know are very concerned with far more than money and opportunity.  But of course, for all folks, financial growth and stability is important.

The irony of our disparate viewpoint is that in fact, the Balinese I know very seldom exhibit any of the characteristics I would associate with greed or avarice.  In fact, over my many years of 24/7 living with the Balinese, and being in business with them, it’s actually near impossible to find a Balinese with any of the sort of the motivation or incentive geared towards wealth building that we in the West are accustomed.  And believe me, any westerner here on Bali who has been in business for a significant time with Balinese would nod their head in agreement with this fact.     

To really understand and know Bali it’s essential for someone to have far more than the experiences of a regular tourist, and with limited exposure to only those parts of Bali which are over developed, such as southern Bali.  And for certain, I don’t know anyone who knows and appreciates Bali, who would express the sentiment that it would be fine if Bali were to end up like Hawaii.  Two of my close expats friends from Maui would cry tears upon hearing that.   

It’s understandable that someone who is out of touch with Bali today would most likely be unaware of all the changes currently going on in “the real Bali” designed to maintain Bali’s appeal, but more importantly, designed to retain the cultural integrity which most defines the Balinese.  These changes are stimulated from within…and not via outside influence. 

Sure, a great deal has changed here in the past 35 years, even in the remote areas.  Those changes include paved roads, access to electricity, better schools, medical clinics, and highly improved agriculture and irrigation.  The most important of these changes is the near eradication of poverty on Bali.  Anyone who claims to know Bali and has witnessed for themselves these changes over the years would surely recognize these positive changes.

But, one thing that hasn’t changed is the Balinese culture, their devotion to constant ceremonies and the maintenance of their temples, their reliance on family and their village communities, their living in family compounds, their dedication to the arts, both applied and visual, and their unique relationship with Bali itself.  Agama Bali Hindu isn’t a religion…rather, it’s a way of life. 

As I’ve mentioned before, for the rest of Bali, what has taken place in southern Bali has served as a huge wake up call for the rest of us.  More resolved than at any time in the past, the Balinese are committed to seeing their way of life and their culture preserved…all within a balance of sustaining growth with preservation.  You won’t see places like Ubud and its villages, or the other traditional villages of Bali looking like Kerobokan, Kuta or Seminyak in thirty five years, nor will you see the Balinese taking the same path as native Hawaiians.  Or, as I like to put it, “there will be no more puputans in Bali.”   

My Interview with

Some of my Writings on Bali:

i would suggest both hanson and ubudian are correct , in the more traditional areas of bali outside the south the more cultural side of bali is still in place .

In the south land has been sold , big 4 wheel drives and harleys have been bought .
on one hand I can understand especially in the bukit area   , where there was no water and the life was really tough for the balinese living there .

sadly the forests have almost disappeared  and replaced by by more and more tourist developments .

Unfortunately the "south" is expanding as development increases. I can remember a long time ago when Canggu was just a small village with rice fields all the way to the beach. Even just to get to the beach you could only access it on motorbike on those narrow paths between the rice fields. Sadly this has all changed. I've also seen the Bukit get more and more developed and built up over time. Not that the Bukit was ever that green in the beginning.

It's places like Negara where I still find little change, perhaps because not many foreigners live there, but even then it's the younger generations of old families who want to see change and it's very difficult to stop.

“…it's the younger generations of old families who want to see change and it's very difficult to stop.”

You are absolutely correct.  It is the young people of Bali who are most behind the movement to preserve it, as the article below so well demonstrates: … sm-project

Note the caption under the photo:

“Initially driven by young people, the anti-reclamation movement has now gone mainstream, with 28 village officially opposing the Benoa Bay tourism development project.”

The project sound questionable.

There is a glut of empty hotel rooms
Unemployment is at a lower rate than the jobs promised
The environmental promises don't seem to match with historical evidence
A significant number of locals don't want it.

One has to ask if it should be investigated a lot further before it's allowed.

This issue is not about to go "quietly into the night." … p?Id=13638

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