SDSN Indonesia Webinar asks: Should We Change for the Environment?

SDSN Indonesia Webinar asks: Should We Change for the Environment?

Written by Network Secretariat
July 4th 2020


World Environment Day

Conservation International Indonesia

Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS)

On June 5, 2020, SDSN Indonesia organized a webinar to commemorate World Environment Day, featuring five SDSN member institutions: Conservation International Indonesia, Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), Universitas Andalas, Universitas Cenderawasih, and SDGs Center Bengkulu. The discussion explored why humans should change our behavior to protect the environment and how we can apply sustainable principles in our daily lives. Over 60 people attended the webinar to learn from the experiences of the SDSN members’ in implementing SDGs.

Vice Director of Conservation International (CI) Indonesia, Ketut Putra, highlighted the importance of investing in local people through capacity building and shared the progress of CI Indonesia’s work in Raja Ampat, Papua. He suggested we visit conservation areas more often in Indonesia as a way to support local ecotourism.

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) represented by Arisman, shared CSEAS’s experience in research programs partnered with ASEAN and Norway in plastic waste management and the circular economy in the Citarum River, West Java. Arisman encouraged us to apply the 3R principle (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) in our daily lives, despite various challenges. Applying the 3R principle suggests we minimize our consumption, reuse materials, and recycle our waste instead of disposing of it or burning it.

Yansen, on behalf of SDGs Center Bengkulu, emphasized the local community initiatives from Bengkulu. He shared several programs including preserving forests to build food security for women, mangrove conservation as a youth community initiative, and utilizing SDGs school as a local capacity building activity to teach sustainability.

Samuel J. Renyaan, former Dean of Universitas Cenderawasih, shared local wisdom from Papua. He explained that the locals call the environment “mama” or mother. Nature, similar to mother, has provided a living for humans and therefore humans should care and protect it as a way to reciprocate. Samuel also highlighted the importance of wetland plant conservation, from nipah, sagu, kangkungan, ngaduar plants — since they can benefit the local community's health, education, and economy.

Prof. Helmi of Universitas Andalas emphasized our current unsustainable way of life. One of the key factors explained is the divergent disciplines of natural and social sciences. He suggested that the key to sucess is to employ an interdisciplinary approach and to break down silos to address complex problems regarding sustainability issues.

The Q&A session, moderated by Aditya Benyamin, a master student of Environment & Sustainability at the University of Michigan, covered the challenges that non-state actors often face when advocating environmental issues, particularly in reference to infrastructure and development projects. It is a common occurrence for local governments to give project permits without fully considering their environmental impacts. The speakers suggested one way to combat these issues is to encourage local voices and actors to be more proactive and to advocate for environmental considerations early on during the project design phase.

The full recording and material are accessible via SDSN Indonesia Youtube Channel (Indonesian) and (English & Indonesian).