There’s a growing resistance – particularly among young Bali locals – to rampant development on the island and tourism at any cost so they’re mobilising.
They’re angry about the environmental and cultural impact of millions of international visitors, the staggering hotel and commercial development that’s gobbling up their island, and they’re uneasy about a creeping ‘Kuta cancer’ that’s spreading, they fear, from the Bintang boulevards of the island’s busiest beach all the way to the spiritual heartland of Ubud up in Bali’s high country.
“I remember when I lived 200 metres away from Kuta Beach and at night I could clearly hear the sound of the waves from my room. Now you can hear people say f***off!”JERRING, Bali Rock Star
On a deeply personal odyssey back to his favourite surfing getaway, Indonesia Correspondent Matt Brown meets the leaders of a new generation determined to stop the overcommercialisation of Bali and to put a lid on development.
Matt surfs the now sullied waters of Uluwatu with local board-rider Mega who’s time on the global pro surfing tour has opened his eyes to concepts like sustainability and environmental responsibility.
“If every place is like Kuta with high-rise buildings everywhere then Bali is not like Bali anymore. If that happens it’s like, our souls are lost.” MEGA, BALI SURF PRO
Over in family friendly Nusa Dua, in the shadow of another massive 5-Star hotel development Matt hears from impassioned activist Gendo.
“(Even) when we know Bali is being destroyed, Balinese people are like lemmings. An animal that, consciously, knows when he gets near the ocean, he’s (going to) kill himself. But (lemmings) keep on doing it.” GENDO, Environmental Activist
Up in the relative peace and tranquillity of Ubud Princess Arry Nova Dewi Putra fears the encroaching development.
“We don’t want Ubud to turn into Kuta” she cautions.