Warief Djajanto Basorie, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Opinion | Mon, December 16 2013, 11:01 AM
Nurul is a junior high school student at SMP Al Azhar, Palu, Central Sulawesi. Dominggus Sinanu is a fisherman in Ambon, Maluku. Despite their age difference, both have three things in common. First, the two residents of eastern Indonesia have a genuine concern about the environment.
Second, both have won prizes that recognize their go-green advocacy. Nurul won a speech contest in English on the environment. Dominggus is the winner of the coveted annual Kalpataru Award from the Environment Ministry in 1981 and recipient of the 1995 Satya Lencana Medal in National Development. His work was in planting mangroves to protect marine life and to check abrasion and seawater intrusion along Ambon’s coastline.
Their third common interest is that they want real action on climate change that starts with the individual.
Nurul and Dominggus spoke at separate dialogues in a survey that the National Council on Climate Change (DNPI) undertook in eight provinces in September and October 2013. Its results were presented on Nov. 25. The survey was on public perspectives of post-2014 climate change priorities. It was designed to get a reading on what people want on climate change from the nation’s leaders, especially the legislators Indonesia will choose in the April 9, 2014 general election and the new president on July 9.
Dialogue participants were members of local legislatures, local governments, university students, senior high school students, lecturers, teachers, environmental activists, fisher folk, farmers, journalists and disabled people. Including the dialogue partners, the survey took in 1,137 respondents.
The eight cities covered in the survey were Denpasar, Bali; Bengkulu; Pangkal Pinang, Bangka Belitung; Manado, North Sulawesi; Ternate, North Maluku; Mamuju, West Sulawesi; Palu, Central Sulawesi; and Ambon, Maluku.
The survey found that 90 percent of the respondents want to choose leaders committed to managing climate change. Further, 82 percent are keen to monitor pledges on managing climate change to see that they are kept. Climate change management comes in four priority areas. First is forest conservation with 72 percent of respondents demanding it. Second with 44 percent is an improvement in public transportation. Third with 39 percent is energy efficiency in industry. Fourth with 29 percent is water reservoir construction.
Six development sectors which leaders should give priority to are, in descending order: education, health, climate change management, poverty alleviation, jobs and infrastructure, the survey found.
The DNPI survey is a sounding board on what Indonesians want from their leaders, and should thus present its findings to the 12 political parties that will compete for the 560 seats in the House of Representatives. The campaign teams of the political parties could incorporate the survey findings into their party platforms with climate change management as a distinct plank.
Moreover, whoever becomes the nation’s new president and takes the oath of office in October 2014 should pledge delivery of the demands of the people. These demands are explicitly stated in the survey’s six priority development sectors.
“The survey results show the public views climate change as a development issue. The respondents can feel climate change is happening in their area,” said Emilia Bassar, the climate change communication specialist and a core researcher in the survey. “They want leaders committed to offering solutions to the causes and impact of climate change.”
The writer teaches journalism at Dr. Soetomo Press Institute (LPDS), Jakarta.