Jakarta, 4 June 2023 – In commemorating the world environment day, the Indonesian forum for the Environment (WALHI) invites public to participate in Environmental People’s Week 2023. The event which runs from 5-5 June commenced with a carnival from Bundaran HI to the Indonesian Legal Aid office (YLBHI). This event is supported by various elements of civil society to consolidate ideas in saving and protecting the sources of life.
On the inauguration of Environmental People’s Week 2023, WALHI holds five series of events with the participation of civil society who voice for changes they are; 1) Carnival for World Environment Day 2023, 2) National oration, 3) Cultural stage 4) Exhibition and discussion with environmental activists 5) Talk show of young people talking about environment and politics.
The voices and demands of the people for changes in Indonesia that are more just are conveyed through the carnival. With the theme "Our 24: Changes in Indonesia 2024", involving civil society organizations, youth movements, grassroots communities and various other elements of society, everyone is able to express their voices by using the distinctive attributes during the carnival.
The Environmental People’s Week is opened by a remark form the Chairman of the WALHI National Council, Reynaldo Sembiring, in his remarks he notes that Indonesia is currently dealing with three crises, the economic crisis, the climate crisis, and the crisis of truth. “ Entering the political years, unfortunately none of the political actors talk about protection of the environment. Everyone is busy discussing their elite agendas. This is a setback in democracy,” says Reynaldo.
The national oration is officially opened by a speech from the Executive Director of WALHI National, Zenzi Suhadi. In his speech, Zenzi highlights that the destruction of the environment in Indonesia occurs due to the country's political decisions in choosing an extractive economy and failing to identify and explore characteristics of the economy of its people.
“This happens when a country [Indonesia] cannot distinguish between shareholders and mandate holders. State administrators run this country as if they are the owners of this homeland," says Zenzi. He also adds that, we as Indonesian people, are the legitimate owners of the archipelago's wealth which is currently being seized by a handful of people. ”We have to stand in our land, we have to swim in our sea, so that those criminals who steal, confiscate the rights of our people know that this archipelago has its rightful owners,” concludes Zenzi.
The people’s week was symbolically opened with the opening drum beat by the Executive Director and the National Council. The event is then followed with a "national oration" which serves as a reflective opening forum to summarize the nation-wide condition at the Environment People's Week 2023. This national oration is a symbol of united strength to see positive changes in Indonesia. The activity also involved figures from various elements such as Muhidin M. Dahlan, one of the humanists, Unang Sunarno from the General Chair of KASBI, Dewi Kartika from the Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA), and Umbu Wulang Tanamaah Paranggi from WALHI. This oration is also an invitation to all of us Indonesian people to believe in the people's ideas, then take steps to fight for and implement them together for the sake of the progress of an Indonesia that is more socio-ecologically just.
Muhidin M. Dahlan in his oration brought a reflection on the national situation which actually represents the extractive economy. He reminded that Soekarno, with his charismatic characteristics, used an intaran tree as a diplomatic tool during the pilgrimage, no gold, no nickel and so on. "This shows how closely the founders of this nation are with ecological politics. Even Pancasila itself was born under the shade of a tree” he says.
Unang Sunarno, General Chairperson of KASBI in his oration stated, "A lot of our workers today are not guaranteed job security, especially since the Job Creation Law passed," he says. "I invite all of us to work together in joint force to restore rights, including workers' rights, to address our common struggle, reinforcing the oligarchs' avarice," he states.
In her oration, Dewi Kartika, the Secretary General of Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA) reiterates that agrarian reform is a constitutional obligation since it is a mandate for the values of independence. "The country has not implemented agrarian reform in the 22 years since the TAP MPR 2001," says Dewi. In fact, the ideals of agrarian reform should be implemented as an effort to overhaul the imbalance of control and monopoly over land due to the remnants of feudalism and colonialism that have existed for so long. “This is also the reason why the environmental crisis continues to break out,” she says.
Umbu Wulang, Executive Director of WALHI East Nusa Tenggara, in his oration emphasizes that the majority truths that have been taught to us so far are the result of truths controlled by those in higher positions. The truth from the existing majority is intertwined with a splendor that we should always criticize for. The Indonesian government has always stated that Indonesia needs investment, and must follow the existing global order to lead to a prosperous Indonesia. But is that what our country really needs? "This country is rich in ecological talents, not only natural resources, but also the knowledge of indigenous peoples, biodiversity, however, all the talents of the archipelago have never been managed by our own trajectory, all of them are forced to follow the schemes that have been provided," he says.
The opening ceremony of the Environmental People's Week 2023 is then closed with various concluding activities in tandem starting from the cultural stage activities, where on the cultural stage there will be performances of Indonesian cultures that describe the situation of the environment and natural resources in Indonesia-including the current condition of the people. There is also an exhibition of products from the communities, which in principle is to show that natural resource management that is carried out in a sustainable manner by many communities is actually the foundation of this nation's economic strength. There is also a talk show for young people talking about the environment and politics, which reminds us of the importance of the principle of justice between generations as the foundation of the state that must be realized. The 2023 WALHI Environment People's Week will continue with a public discussion on June 5, 2023, at the Park Regis Kemang. In this public discussion, WALHI invites all layers of society to participate together in exploring the five values of Pancasila, as a collective reflective material to consolidate ideas towards an ecologically just Indonesia.
WALHI Public Engagement – (+62 811-5501-980)