Youth’s Outspoken Voice on Earth Day

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Screenshot of online discussion titled “Climate Action of Indonesian Youth: Inspiration from Jakarta, Gresik, and Jayapura”

The prolonging global warming has given real impact to all creatures on the earth. Unfortunately, not many peoples realize that global warming should be halted. The world leaders are not in one concern in this respect. As the most susceptible group to the impact of global warming, young generations convey their outspoken voice, and even inspire the surrounding environment to involve in global warming mitigation.

Their real action was the topic of online discussion entitling “Climate Action of Indonesian Youth: Inspiration from Jakarta, Gresik and Jayapura” organized by EcoNusa Foundation on Monday 20 April 2020. The online discussion was in commemoration of the Earth Day on 22 April 2020 with Climate Action as the core theme.

Four young people has focused on waste as their basis of their activities. Waste and single use plastics have been hot issues in past few years in Indonesia given the fact that Indonesia is known as among the top two countries in the world with poor waste management and sea debris major contributor.

The concern was addressed by member of the River Warrior Indonesia (Rewind), Aeshnina Azzahra. Nina, her nickname, refuted waste imported by developed country to Indonesia. Nina who is the student of SMP Negeri 12 Gresik addressed her protest to some top country leaders.

She wrote a protest letter addressed to the US President, Donald Trump, through the US Consulate in Surabaya. The similar letter was sent to German Chancellor, Angle Merkel, through German Ambassador to Indonesia, Peter Schoof, in Jakarta, and Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, through Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Gary Quinland, in Jakarta.

“Why young people should articulate their voices? Because we are the most vulnerable group. In the future, children will be impacted,” said Nina. As to her, plastic made of the fossil fuel will contribute to global warming. Plastics has hazardous substances that are harmful to mankind and other creatures.

Thara Bening Sandrina, the founder of Rewind and Nina’s sibling, was upset upon knowing the waste on Brantas River, East Java. As to Thara, the Government of Gresik Regency fails to provide appropriate dump site and transporter of waste to the community. In 2015, Brantas River was listed among 20 major rivers contributing sea debris. Brantas River was on the 7th with 38.9 tons of plastic waste.

Most of waste on the river was the used baby diapers. This is due partly to the community belief that baby will feel comfortable when their diapers were disposed in the river. “When we did river clean-up at Brantas River, 47 percent of the waste was diapers,” said Thara who founded the establishment of Rewind with her three colleague of Science group of SMA 1 Driyorejo.

Last February, Thara jointly with Rewind sent a letter to Gresik Regent, Sambari Halim Radianto, calling him to ban single-use plastics in Gresik, East Java. She wants Gresik to follow some other cities that have enacted such policy.

Outspoken voice of the youth was also addressed from the eastern of Indonesia. Kevin Senge who formerly participated in the School of Eco Diplomacy (SED) organized by EcoNusa in 2019, realized the danger of plastic to environment. As to Kevin, plastic waste made mangrove difficult to grow. This also contaminates biota on the surrounding mangrove ecosystem.

In collaboration with SED graduates and six other youth organizations, Kevin runs #SatuPuntungSejutaMasalah actions. The action could collect 7,256 cigarette butts from three public parks in Jayapura, Papua. Cigarette butts are one of the largest amounts of waste polluting sea. With such awareness, every Saturday afternoon, Kevin and his friends made clean-up action at public spots in Jayapura. The action gets supports from the Government of Jayapura Municipality by donating clean-up tools.

Kevin also initiates anti-single use plastic movement. “Our action is done by using tumbler. We approach the city government of Jayapura. They do not use single-use plastic in every event,” he said.

Meanwhile, the founder of Teens Go Green Indonesia, Bambang Sutrisno, said the importance of public education on waste management. Without collaboration of many parties, Bantar Gebang Dump Site in Bekasi is predicted to be fully occupied by 2021. Bambang also highlighted the contribution of 8.5 percent greenhouse gas emission contribution nationally.

“We realize that education process to raise young generation’s awareness is very long process. Hopefully, many parties will give support and synergy to this kind of activity. We hope the central and regional governments could make a synergy. This will affect the reduction of greenhouse gas emission,” he said.

EcoNusa’s Program Manager Public and Youth Mobilization, Rina Kusuma, said that young generation has very important role in ecology diplomacy. The diplomacy, as to Rina, is not only carried out by a diplomat but also by anyone. “We call young people to be active in ecology diplomacy through popular way,” said Rina appreciating young peoples’ initiatives in Indonesia.

Editor: Leo Wahyudi

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