The year 2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. Other than the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to rage on, other disasters also hit Indonesia in the 75th anniversary of its independence day. Jakarta was hit by flood due to the extreme rainfall in early 2020. Extreme drought was reported in more than 300 villages in West Nusa Tenggara in July 2020, which is predicted to continue until October. Citizens of Semarang are facing temperature increase and rising sea level. These disasters are tangible climate impacts that are already here.

Climate crisis is caused by human activities, industrial as well as individual, that continuously generate excessive greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide (CO2). Different sectors from transportation, electricity and food to clothing as well as waste from human activities contribute to the generation of emission to the atmosphere. Unfortunately, one in five Indonesians still don’t believe that climate crisis is caused by human activities.

On the other hand, many of us don’t realize that everyone plays a key role in reducing GHG emission. This is particularly true when we take the necessary action together and continuously. But after we realize the importance of sustainable lifestyle in reducing emission, other challenges emerge. We don’t always know how to take tangible measurable actions to help reduce emission and act as an #EarthWarrior. Anyone can now calculate, record, reduce and sequester GHG emission through the EMISI app. Using the emission calculator feature on the app, we can calculate how much emission we generate in our mobility and transportation use. This app will then generate the amount and type of trees needed to sequester the emission generated. In the future, EMISI will also calculate emission from food consumption, electricity, clothing and waste.

Recording Emission: The first step in mitigating climate crisis

By recording the amount of emission we generate, we can calculate how much we need to reduce as individuals to contribute to climate crisis mitigation. Calculating the emission we generate in our travels is now easier than ever with EMISI. Simply input your place of origin and destination, your transportation mode and the number of people traveling with you and EMISI will calculate how much carbon dioxide and air pollutants are generated. We can also calculate emission from such travel for a period of time, say one month or one year, by recording the frequency of each travel.

Reducing Emission: Understanding how to reduce individual emission

Once we figure out the emission generated in our travels, EMISI recommends ways to reduce such emission. In general, there are three methods:

  1. Avoid, which is to reduce the distance or move the activity to a different media, such as virtual meeting or online shopping;

  2. Shift, which is to use sustainable transportation modes, for example mass transportation modes such as buses and trains or walking and biking and

  3. Improve, which is to use environmentally friendly fuel, car sharing or an electric vehicle that uses renewable sources.

Efforts to reduce emission must be prioritized to reduce the impact of climate crisis, especially for travels that are done in large scale and frequently.

Sequestering Emission: Tree planting as an emission sequestration alternative

Do you know that trees can sequester carbon dioxide and generate oxygen through photosynthesis? This makes tree planting an action in the effort to mitigate climate crisis. Tree planting is considered one of the most effective and cheapest carbon dioxide sequestration solutions in the atmosphere.

Trees’ abilities to sequester carbon dioxide vary, depending on such factors as climate condition, landscape, tree species, management practice and tree planting practice. In general, a mature tree can sequester 22 kGCO2 per year. The number will differ for newly planted trees or tree seedlings. In addition to sequestering carbon dioxide, well planned and managed tree planting can help recover forest function and generate other positive social economic impacts such as livelihood for the local community and improving our lives in general.

How individuals can calculate and sequester emission

In addition to calculating the amount of emission generated from traveling, the EMISI app provides information on the number of trees needed to sequester the emission generated. Once the number of trees that need to be planted is generated, EMISI makes it easy for us to plant trees through organizations that focus on environmental restoration in different areas in Indonesia, such as Alam Sehat Lestari (West Kalimantan), Forum Konservasi Leuser (Aceh), Mitra Aksi (Jambi) and Carbon Ethics (DKI Jakarta).

The tree planting done by these organizations serves different purposes, from expanding coverage of various trees that are useful for the community, restoring wildlife habitats to making health facility available for communities around forest areas. These organizations also work with the local communities to preserve existing trees in the effort to maintain tree biodiversity for continuous sequestration of the emission generated in our daily activities.

The EMISI app transforms the seemingly insignificant individual climate action into an impactful collective action. Through the features available, EMISI tries to make it easier for anyone, anytime and anywhere in Indonesia to take climate change action and be an #EarthWarrior. The 75th anniversary of Indonesia’s independence day is a turning point. Moving forward, we can all be an #EarthWarrior every day by downloading the EMISI app or visiting the EMISI website, inputting travel data and planting a tree to sequester the emission from such travel! This is the first step in our fight to protect the earth.