Man walks backwards to save forests

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 5 August 2019

A 43-year-old Indonesian man has decided to raise awareness about preserving the island nation’s forests.

Medi Bastoni, who comes from Dona in the province of East Java, plans to walk backwards for 800 kilometres to the Indonesian capital Jakarta in the west.

The father of four hopes to average between 20-30 kilometres of walking backwards each day, with the aid of a rear-view mirror attached to his body and positioned in front of his face to allow him to see where he’s going without falling over, or straining his neck. He plans to overnight in mosques, police stations and security posts along the way.

En route to Jakarta, Medi Bastoni might well have passed through Oro Oro Ombo

Bastoni set out on 18 July and has calculated each day of walking in such a way that he will arrive in the capital in time for Indonesia’s Independence Day celebrations on 17 August. Bastoni is also appealing to President, Joko Widodo, whom he hopes to meet on the seventeenth, to give him a symbolic tree seed to be planted and named after Widodo.

His reasons for this campaign stem from a concern for the Mount Wilis forests near his village in Dona, in East Java. According to The Guardian, Bastoni’s odd campaign gesture coincides with the 74th celebration of Indonesian Independence Day and looking back into the country’s history and at the heroes who’ve fought for worthy causes, much like he believes he is.

‘Not only me, people on the slopes of Wilis and the younger generation, all must care about the nature of Wilis,’ Bastoni told a local news platform. ‘I hope that everyone is involved in caring for the sustainability of Wilis.’ It’s understood that there are currently environmental projects underway on Wilis, but Bastoni believes that the support of President Widodo will send home a stronger message.

Image: Unsplash

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