August 14, 2019


It’s exciting to hear and see that various major organisations and groups around the island are responding to the Bali government’s recent official ban on single use plastic bags. As perhaps you’ve noticed (while driving, perhaps?) people don’t always follow the rules here.

This time, not only are major players stepping up in response to the Governor’s call but Bali has survived an Indonesian Supreme Court challenge to this legislation. Yes, banning plastic is constitutional! So there!

For many Ubud ex-pats, this is a blessed reward after years of working in schools, supermarkets, banjars and community groups, as well as through mainstream and social media, to create awareness and understanding of this enormous problem.

This week we’ve seen news that Ulawatu temple no longer permits worshippers to bring offerings in disposable plastic bags, nor are local warungs and food stalls allowed to put purchased goods in disposable plastic bags. Other major temples will follow suit.

In Ubud, the local Payangan community leaders recently took part in a socialisation program to learn about the formation of a garbage bank unit for the banjar. The training team is offering to run similar programs in the banjars of Laplapan, Petulu, Ubud and others. Contact Pak Pande Dodik Sukadana via WhatsApp on 0822 3629 7396, for more information.


Ubud-based international disaster support specialists, IDEP, are working on several significant projects around the country at the moment, using their expertise with both pre-disaster training and post-disaster recovery programs.

Recently the non-profit partnered with YPAL Poso to run Disaster Risk Reduction (PRB) training in two remote villages of Central Sulawesi’s Donggala district.

Damaged road access and unreachable telecommunications signals left Amal and Saloya residents completely isolated for two weeks in September last year, after the 7.4m earthquake that ravaged the island. With encouragement from the IDEP team, community members worked together to create a Disaster Risk Reduction plan, including strategies to make local authorities more effective in response to future disasters.

Also in Sulawesi, IDEP have run permaculture training in Pasigala to support post-disaster recovery there, and organised “Earthquake-Safe House” training for 14 construction builders in their home village of Jono Oge, Sigi.
A horrific 80% of Jono Oge’s buildings were damaged or destroyed by the shocks following the same 7.4m earthquake in 2018. Much of the earth’s surface was heavily damaged, with one hamlet sinking out of sight through liquefaction of the ground beneath it, forcing its inhabitants to flee the area permanently.


Soundscape artist Amber Riya joins Kul Kul Farm founders, Maria and Orin, at the end of this month for a playful three-day “Gathering”. It’s a creative sleepover for grown-ups! The idea is to nourish our creativity, rekindle our connection with nature and make some great new friendships, whilst living on an organic farm.

We’re offered bamboo yurt living, morning live music, tea ceremonies, some practical permaculture and gardening (yes, we’ll get dirt on our hands) and lessons on concocting useful plant-based mixtures and tonics for a natural herbal remedy kit.

There will be delicious farm grown smoothie-bowls and relaxed chats around the campfire, plus music, writing, movement, soundscapes, sacred ceremonies, yoga asana and mindfulness.

It’s only two weeks away, from August 29 to September 1, so book now. You’ll find Kul Kul Farm just 30 minutes south Ubud in Abiansemal village, next to Green School.


Would you like to play a vital, practical role in helping an Indonesian family recover from earthquake, flood, fire or other disaster? Seriously, for less than $200 you can ensure a family’s survival for around two weeks!

The IDEP Foundation has developed the “Family Bucket”, an aid package delivered in a very useful water storage
bucket, containing basic needs for an average family for two weeks. Contents include food and beverage supplies, water treatment, baby needs, medicines, sanitation equipment, shelter equipment and some really useful educational materials related to disaster.

Go online to the IDEP Foundation website to see where these buckets have been delivered all over the Indonesian archipelago. IDEP first conceived the concept – easy to store, relatively simple to deliver to remote locations by truck or boat – after the 2004 disaster in Aceh, and they’ve improved in response to lessons learnt on Mt Agung, in Lombok and other disaster locations. IDEP stores, puts together and delivers as many buckets as your donations supply, whenever a disaster hits. That’s where all the money goes.

The photo shows some of the 140 families living across five villages around Banten who received the aid buckets early this year. These villages are remotely located, with bad access that became almost impassable for a while after they were after hit by the Sunda Strait Tsunami on December 22, 2018.

One bucket full of basic supplies, including vital water purification materials, will cost you only $US150/ $AU200 or a little over 2 million rupiah. Visit for more detailed information about Family Buckets.


Kirtan – not a piece of Scottish apparel but a collection of musicians and singers joined in harmonising and meditation – has made a significant place for itself in the lives of Ubud’s expats and tourists.

Over the years, we’ve joined kirtan evenings at the Yoga Barn, Sayuri and Radiantly Alive. Adiwana Svarga Loka Resort is a similarly zen place, usually led by expat Vasudev.

For the past month with Vasudev away, Om Ben, a joyful, fun-loving Anglo-American with a good voice and a heart of gold, has filled in beautifully. Together, “Om Ben & Friends” have created what he describes as a “playful, devotional space”.

You don’t sing? No problem. You are not sure about all that meditation stuff? It won’t matter. Wander along to any kirtan with an open mind and a smile on your face and the experience will do your heart good. Join in or just listen.

Where: Adiwana Svarga Loka Resort, Jalan Penestanan Kelod (at the top of the hill after the bridge, at the beginning of Penestanan). When: Tuesdays 6:30-8pm. Cost: tourists 160,000rp, 80,000rp for expats. Gratis untuk orang lokal. You can find Om Ben leading open mike sessions around Ubud at Titi Batu, Café Paradiso and Bali Bohemia.

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