Welcome to Bali where Mother Nature continues to breathe her blessings from the caldera of the active Mount Agung. The threat of disruption from volcanic ash (and of course there is a possibility of actual danger to aircraft if they are not 100% careful) caused great havoc with the tourism industry early in the year but now, I hope, is just seen as a distraction and an added attraction rather than a reason to cancel a trip.


In fact there was really very little danger to tourists from even a catastrophic explosion since the affected area was predicted to only be a radius of 15km. The villagers within that “danger zone” were the ones who suffered having been – rightly – evacuated from their homes for safety. But many people and organisations stepped in to help and took care of most of them. Of course the loss of livelihood is hard to compensate. But other than that there was no actuagvb vl damage, only financial losses because of cancellations (and even those were mitigated to some extent by rich companies paying off poor daily workers to protect their bottom lines , a shameful practice).

Why am I telling you this? Because we are so scared of nature that we cancel holidays because of it, that we avoid areas where danger warnings are posted for tsunamis, floods, earthquakes and forest fires. But in fact it is nature that should be more scared us than we of it.

We are the biggest cause of damage to Mother Earth and here in Bali is no exception with serious loss of productive and beautiful rice fields to development over the last 30 years, and appalling plastic waste pollution on beaches and rivers, amongst many others. There is soon going to be a water shortage but the cutting down of trees continues unabated. (Never mind the noise pollution which no one seems to worry about!).

But Mother Nature fights back and as we have seen with the devastating landslides caused by forest clearing and flooding caused by the concreting of catchment areas in different parts of Indonesia, Her wrath can be nearly as mighty as a volcanic eruption.

So let us try, as the Balinese do, to live in harmony with nature: respect and take care when she is angry and let us try very hard to avoid provoking her with idiotic development, destruction and pollution. I’m sure She will smile in return!

Take care and have a harmonious holiday!

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G Speirs, OBE, is the Publisher of NOW! Magazines. He has been in the publishing, advertising and PR business for the last 25 years. He started both NOW! Bali and NOW! Jakarta as each region's preferred community magazine.