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Japan and Indonesia—Connecting the Communities

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“Indonesia Officially Excludes Japan from Bullet Train Project.” This was the title of news in the Jakarta Post on September 30, 2015.[1] And the title the Asahi Shimbun had on the same day, September 30, 2015, was “Japan Loses Indonesian High-speed Rail Link to China.”[2] The Indonesia’s fast train project case has shown that Indonesia is an important market for Japan, and China is Japan’s competitor. But I will not analyze or discuss why Indonesia preferred China to Japan.

According to the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board, foreign direct investment in Indonesia increased by 18.1% (year-on-year) in the third quarter of 2015 with US$ 21,337.21 million in 11,594 projects. Singapore, Japan, and Netherlands were the top three countries with the largest investment.[3] Japan has invested US$917.27 million in 399 projects.[4] Furthermore, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)’s annual survey on the current trends and future outlook of overseas business operations by Japanese companies shows that Indonesia is the first place as for Japan’s foreign direct investment in 2013 and the second place in 2014. China is third place in 2013 and fourth place in 2014.

Therefore, I could say, Indonesia is expecting more foreign direct investment from Japan in the future. Compared to China, Indonesia is more preferable for Japanese companies to invest in because of several reasons. Just as Japan and China, Japan and Indonesia were in conflict during World War II when Japan occupied Indonesia for 3.5 years. However, Indonesia has forgiven Japan.

Indonesia is a big market with 255.7 million people in 2015 and 321.377 million people in 2050.[5] The data from Standard Chartered showed Indonesia’s middle class (earning in the range of US$2–US$20 a day) numbered 149 million in early 2015, and will be around 171 million in 2020.[6]

According to a survey of Indonesian consumers by Deloitte Consulting Southeast Asia for households making 5 million rupiah (about US$416) per month, slightly more than 20% of income is devoted to luxury items related to leisure activities. The figure jumps to 26% for households making 7.5 million to 10 million rupiah (about US$ 625 to 833).[7] Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions index for Indonesia in 2013 was 123 points, with Philippines 121 points and India 118 points,[8] while the Central Statistics Agency data shows that 27.7 million people are under the poverty line in September 2013.[9]

The question is “Is foreign direct investment good for Indonesia?” Definitely it is good for the government in terms of macro economy performance and to create jobs. It is also good only for a small number of Indonesians while it does not help many who live in villages. And in most cases, the projects will create a big impact on the social and the environment.

Among six top sectors of foreign direct investment are 285 mining projects and 142 food crops and plantation projects.[10] Those two sectors are exploiting natural resources and will create a great impact on the communities in villages and the environment. In July 2015, Sumatera and Kalimantan Islands were covered by haze from forest and land burning. Since then, 10 people died because of the forest fire and haze.[11] And now, as of October 2015, hundreds of thousands of people are suffering from respiratory illnesses because of the smoke. Who are they? They are villagers, local people, and indigenous people who depend on the forests. Wild animals that could not run from fire will be burned or dying very slowly because of respiratory illnesses.

Police have arrested 127 suspects who started the fire and 10 companies—among them were foreign companies—allegedly started the fire in their peat land concession areas.[12] Most of the areas burned were prepared for oil palm plantations. Companies used fire for land clearing because it is cheap. But it is difficult to extinguish the fire in peat land. Japan, to a certain extent, contributes to the forest fire in Indonesia. In 2010, Japan imported 570,000 metric tons of palm oil, in 2011, 580,000 metric tons, in 2012, 595,000 metric tons, in 2013, 598,000 metric tons, and in 2014, 618,000 metric tons. It is increasing every year.[13]

The forest fire is only one example of how investments have impact on the environment and the lives of Indonesians, especially the poor and the indigenous people who live near the forests. In 2014, about 28 million people are in absolute poverty—based on the poverty line at US$ 25 monthly per capita income defined by the Indonesian government. If we apply the poverty threshold as is used by the World Bank—less than US$ 1.25 a day as poor—the number will rise.[14]

In 2011, partner with Ruai TV—a local television station in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, I helped empowering communities in West Kalimantan. I created a communication model and opened a communication channel named RuaiSMS. The idea was that through opening access to media, it would help the community resolve their problems and hold oil palm plantation companies accountable.[15] And after about a year, an indigenous peoples community was able to resolve its conflict with an oil palm plantation.

What is the lesson learned from my program in West Kalimantan? There are two important underlying factors to explain the lesson learned. First, in many countries, including Indonesia and other countries in Asia, mass media is not a public sphere any more.

According to Jurgen Habermas,[16] a German sociologist and philosopher, public sphere is an imagined space of communicatively mediated social life or a discursively constructed social space between the state and civil society. Public sphere represents the infrastructure for social integration through public discourse. No specific social norms and regulatory rules limit citizens’ access to the public sphere and no specific knowledge and competences are needed for them to participate in it.

The public sphere could be the sphere of public-ness, such as communication spaces created and maintained by the media, which involve relations of power and dominance. It could be the sphere of the public or publics consisting of free and equal citizens participating in public reasoning.[17] Media is supposedly a public sphere, which can be accessed by citizens. In the reality, however, media as business entity is not a real public sphere as defined by Habermas.[18]

In Indonesia, while the mass media have their own agenda and some are very close to parliament members, media is not a public sphere anymore. Most of Japanese believe in the mass media such as newspapers and television. When media cannot be functioned as a public sphere, how we can create a new public sphere?

Second, the community concept is becoming relevant again, especially in the era of social media with different forms and purposes. What is community? The word “community” is used in many ways— in community service, Christian community, gay community, etc. The simple definition of community is a group of people who have lived in the same way for a long time and do not like newcomers changing it. Examples include indigenous peoples communities and religious communities.

Community can also mean a gathering of a small group of people having something in common or lifestyle, family, class, such as a “movie star fan club.” A community is where everybody knows each other; all pull together in times of crisis. Or, a community is a group of people who come together sharing or having something in common. Or, a community is a place where everyone feels safe. “Each community is unique [and special], with values, beliefs, and religious practices that are rooted in tradition and continue to evolve and exist because they meet the community’s needs.”[19] No other community is quite like to each other.

Are community people? There are clear distinction between community and the people. As defined above, a community is a collectivity or a group of people and people are an unbounded group of individuals sharing few things in common rather than a universal social nature and political character or nationality.

McKenzie explains the human communities as an ecological product, which is the outcome of competitive and accommodative process that gives spatial and temporal distribution to human aggregations and cultural achievements.[20] Communities are in constant competition with one another, and any advantage in location, resources, or market organization is forthwith reflected in differential growth. The core of community is its people—their history, characteristics, values, and beliefs. For McKenzie, “the human community differs from the plant community in the two dominant characteristics of mobility and purposes, that is, in the power to select a habitat and in the ability to control and modify the condition of the habitat.”[21] McKenzie’s works are useful in understanding modern society.[22]

The concept of community is important and used in economic analyses and marketing (Otsuka and Kalirajan 2010; Jonathan 1990; Hunter and Tietyen 1997; Jaffe 2007; Kolb 2008), health issues (Anderson and McFarlane 2011; Laverack 2006; Cook, Halsall and Wankhade 2015), developmental and political issues (Kaufman and Alfonso 2007; Grabosky 2009), and environmental issues (Gordon 2009). Community is actually a fundamental part of our life on the planet. We are longing for community. It is part of our human nature. We are born into community. We define ourselves by our communities: family, work, clubs, schools, churches, and mosques.

Modern life has, however, moved us in the opposite direction, toward individualism and a sense of self as discovered in separateness, away from community and connectedness. We can clearly see the lives in big cities such as Tokyo or Jakarta or Bangkok or Beijing and other modern big cities but not in villages or remote areas. According to the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago, there are around 50 million people classified as indigenous. They live in communities, thousands of communities throughout Indonesia. The communities have done many initiatives without involving the governments.

During the Asia Leadership Fellow Program (ALFP), we met Arai Norihito and Hamaguchi Mariko from a civil society organization named Peace Seeds. With farmers in Chiba Prefecture, they are conserving indigenous seeds. We met another community, Share Okusawa. Horiuchi Masahiro is providing part of his old house to community members for having discussion, cooking together, screening movie, music performance, etc.

In Kamikatsu Town, we had the opportunity to learn about the Zero Waste Project, which the residents are involved in and support by recycling papers, plastics, and composting organic waste. The Project is also supported by the local government. Another initiative is from a citizen group in Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture, who edited and published a booklet entitled “Doctor Masaharu Tsubokura’s Easy-to-Understand Lecture on Radiation, from Minamisoma Fukushima” in August 2014.[23]


The lessons learned from my program in West Kalimantan are:


  1. Community is important and we need to identify or form communities to help villagers resolving their problems.
  2. The communities need to share important information or problem that they are facing with the outside world and they need to get important information for their community members from the outside world.
  3. To empower them, they need to connect to media as a public sphere or create a new public sphere.
  4. As community they will have bigger opportunities in resolving their problem
  5. People in each country could not depend on the government all the time for resolving their problems, even when government policies, especially economic policies, create more problems for the people. Foreign direct investment from developed countries to Indonesia creates more environmental and social problems such as forest fire.


My proposals for next activities are:


  1. Identify communities in every country in Asia and then transfer the real communities to the cyber space. In virtual world of Internet, we can easily form communities, which are difficult to form in real world because of distance.
  2. Create a new public sphere in each country using Internet technology as tools and medium to share information among communities or community members and open the public sphere for the communities.
  3. Create a regional public sphere as the place to share common threat or common concerns or common problems or share resources among communities in Asia.
  4. Since Asian has many languages, there should be volunteers helping translating the information from one language to other languages through crow sourcing.




Anderson, Elizabeth T. and Judith McFarlane. Community As Partner: Theory and Practice in Nursing. 6th Edition. Philadelphia: Walters Kluwer and Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2011.

Boswell, Jonathan. Community and the Economy: The Theory of Public Co-operation. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Cook, Ian Gillespie, Jamie P Halsall, and Paresh Wankadhe. Sociability, Social Capital, and Community Development: A Public Health Perspective. New York: Springer Cham, 2015.

Gordon, Iain J. The Vicuna. The Theory and Practice of Community Based Wildlife Management. New York: Springer Sciecantist, 2009.

Grabosky, Peter. Community Policing and Peacekeeping. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis Group, 2009.

Habermas, Jurgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Translated by Thomas Burger. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1991.

Heiney, Sue P., Linda J. Hazlett, Sally P. Weinrich, Linda M. Wells, and Rudolph S. Parrish. “Community Connection in African American Women with Breast Cancer.” Reseach and Theory for Nursing Practice: An International Journal, Vol. 25, No. 4 (2011).

Hunter, Victor L. and Tietyen David. Business to Business Marketing: Creating a Community of Customers. Lincolnwood: NTC Contemporary, 1997.

Jaffe, Joseph. 1970. Join the conversation: How to engage marketing-weary consumers. New Jersey – John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Kaufman, Michael and Haroldo Dilla Alfonso. Community Power and Grassroots Democracy. The Transformation of Social Life. Ottawa: Michael Kaufman, 1997.

Kolb, Bonita. Marketing Research for Non-profit, Community and Creative: How to Improve Your Product, Find Customers and Effectively Promote Your Message. Elsevier Inc.: Kuran lebat, 2008.

Laverack, Glenn. Improving Health Outcomes through Community Empowerment: A Review of the Literature: J Health Population, 2007.

MacDonald, Dennis W. “Beyond the Group: the Implications of Roderick D. McKenzie’s Human Ecology for Reconceptualizing Society and the Social.” Nature and Culture (6) 3 (Winter 2011): 263-284.

McKenzie, Roderick D. “The Ecological Approach to the Study of the Human Community.” American Journal of Sociology (30) 3 (1924.): 287-301.

Otsuka, Keijiro and Kaliappa Kalirajan. Community, Market and State in Development. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Splichal, Slavko. “Public Sphere and the Media.” In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, vol. 19 (2015) Elsevier Ltd.

[1] “Indonesia Officially Excludes Japan from Bullet Train Project,” Jakarta Post, September 30, 2015, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/09/30/indonesia-officially-excludes-japan-bullet-train-project.html.

[2] Masanobu Furuya, “Japan Loses Indonesian High-speed Rail Link to China,” Asahi Shimbun, September 30, 2015, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201509300057.

[3] Trading Economics, “Indonesia Foreign Direct Investment,” http://www.tradingeconomics.com/indonesia/foreign-direct-investment/, and Investment Coordinating Board, http://www4.bkpm.go.id/file_uploaded/public/PERKEMBANGAN%20REALISASI%20INVESTASI%20PMA%20BERDASARKAN%20NEGARA%20Q3%202015.xls.

[4] http://www7.bkpm.go.id/file_uploaded/public/Bahan%20Paparan%20-%20ENG%20-%20TW%20III%202015.pdf.

[5] Population Pyramids of the World from 1950 to 2100, “Indonesia 2015,” http://populationpyramid.net/indonesia/2015/ (accessed October 2015).

[6] “Wealth Management Products the Right Fit for Emerging Middle Class,” Jakarta Post, March 27, 2015, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/03/27/wealth-management-products-right-fit-emerging-middle-class.html.

[7] “Indonesians Splurge When Monthly Income Passes $375,” Nikkei Asian Review, July 15, 2015, http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Consumers/Indonesians-splurge-when-monthly-income-passes-375.

[8] “Indonesian middle class most optimistic in the world: Nielsen,” Jakarta Post, July 24, 2013, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/07/24/indonesian-middle-class-most-optimistic-world-nielsen.html.

[9] “The Overview of Poverty in Indonesia on September 2014,” (January 2, 2015), http://www.bps.go.id/website/brs_eng/brsEng-20150130161955.pdf.

[10] http://www7.bkpm.go.id/file_uploaded/public/Bahan%20Paparan%20-%20ENG%20-%20TW%20III%202015.pdf.

[11] “Darurat Kesehatan : Asap Akibat Kebakaran Hutan dan Lahan Gambut Mulai Timbulkan Korban Jiwa,” eMaritim, October 2015, http://www.emaritim.com/2015/10/darurat-kesehatan-asap-akibat-kebakaran.html.

[12] “Sebanyak 127 Orang dan 10 Perusahaan Jadi Tersangka Kebakaran Hutan,” Nasional, September 16, 2015, http://nasional.kompas.com/read/2015/09/16/00320091/Sebanyak.127.Orang.dan.10.Perusahaan.Jadi.Tersangka.Kebakaran.Hutan.

[13] Index Mundi, “Japan Palm Oil Imports by Year,” http://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?country=jp&commodity=palm-oil&graph=imports.

[14] “OECD Economics Surveys Indonesia,” (March 2015), http://www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/Overview-Indonesia-2015.pdf.

[15] International Center for Journalists, “New Mobile SMS Service Helps Indonesian Villagers Hold Company Accountable,” (December 1, 2011), http://www.icfj.org/news/new-mobile-sms-service-helps-indonesian-villagers-hold-company-accountable.

[16] Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, translated by Thomas Burger, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1991).

[17] Slavko Splichal, “Public Sphere and the Media,” in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, vol. 19, (Elsevier Ltd., 2015),

[18] Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society.

[19] Elizabeth T. Anderson and Judith McFarlane, Community As Partner: Theory and Practice in Nursing, 6th Edition, (Philadelphia: Walters Kluwer and Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2011).

[20] Roderick D. McKenzie, “The Ecological Approach to the Study of the Human Community,” American Journal of Sociology (30) 3 (1924): 287-301.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Dennis W. MacDonald, “Beyond the Group: The Implications of Roderick D. McKenzie’s Human Ecology for Reconceptualizing Society and the Social,” Nature and Culture (6) 3 (Winter 2011): 263-284.

[23] Japan for Sustainability, “Citizen Group in Disaster Area Publishes Booklet to Provide Basic Information on Radiation,” (October 24, 2015), http://www.japanfs.org/en/news/archives/news_id035380.html.

The article – a final report as ALFP Fellow 2015 – was published at Asia Leadership Fellow Program site. You can read from the original site here.


Written by Harry Surjadi

16 August 2016 at 21:15

Please, wash your hands before eating!

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Here is the typical picture of worst slum areas in Jakarta and other big cities in Indonesia: most of the houses made of recycled wooden pallets, plastic or cardboard boxes, or used asbestos; houses usually have only one room and usually packed with five or more people. The environment surrounding the slums is as poor as the inhabitants: lack of proper sewerage system, no electricity, lack of clean water supply, and sanitary facilities.

In Penjaringan subdistrict, one of slum areas in North Jakarta, people lives in better houses. Most of houses are two stories wooden houses with only two rooms of 3m by 3m. The houses are jammed together, side by side and back to back. The houses hug each other.

There are narrow alleys cross the complex. The houses are the wall of the alleys. Since the alleys are so narrow, the sun disappears from view upon entering them. The alleys have 40 cm wide drainage ditches which clogged with plastic bags, plastic bottles, food scraps, and other household waste. And the garbage not only in sewerage system, they are almost everywhere.

Combination of poor environment and wrong perception on healthy behaviors is cause of high mortality rate of children under five years old. According to Indonesian Demographic Survey 2003, diarrhea is the cause of 19% death amongs children under five years old. About 75 of 100,000 children under five years old of die every year in Indonesia because of diarrheal diseases.

Baseline survey on healthy attitude and behavior done by Environmental Services Program funded by USAID in 18 regencies from eight provinces found that diarrhea prevalence of children under three years is 28%. “Actually diarrhea deseases can be prevented through easy healthy or hygiene behaviors such as washing hands before eating,” said Ms. Nona Pooroe Utomo from ESP-USAID in a discussion with media on how to fight diarrhea through access to clean water and proper sanitation, in Jakarta, 18 January 2007.

The Baseline Qualitative Survey objectives are to understand connection between water and behavior of hygiene life; to identify factors that discourage or encourage people to adopt hygiene life behaviors; to understand attitudes, believes, motivations, and perceptions of hygiene life of the people surveyed.

Val Curtis (a senior lecturer in hygiene promotion) and Sandy Cairncross (a professor of environmental health) from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in British Medical Journal 5 July 2003 edition and other publications wrote the impact of improved water, sanitation, and hygiene on reducing diarrhoeal diseases.

By improving the quality of water supplies cuts the risk of diarrhea by only about 16% (although it has other benefits) and making water more available reduce the risk by 20%. Installing adequate facilities to dispose of bodily exretions and promoting hygiene, however, are twice as effective. “A recent systematic review of the impact of washing hands with soap show that this specific practice may be almost three times as effective as improving water quality, cutting the risk of diarrhea by 47%,” wrote the two experts.

It is easy to understand for people of developed countries or rich people of developing countries who live in expensive housing complexes that if hand washing is practiced before eating, it will prevent diarrhoeal diseases. But not for people who live in slum areas Penjaringan or other slum areas in developing countries.

According to the ESP-USAID survey most of people (men and women who have children under three years old) believe that diarrhoeal diseases do not relate to cleanly behavior and good sanitation. They said it because of food contamination, climate, or relate to supernatural power. Some believe that it is a sign that their children are growing up. And some of them who believe that diarrhoeal diseases have connection with cleanliness, garbage and flies are the main infected agents.

How do diarrhoeal diseases spread and get into their children? They said they go from garbage to flies, from flies to food eaten by their children. Or it can be from garbage in the dirty playground to the hands of their children or from garbage in dirty environment to hands of their children.

Most of respondents know how to ward off diarrhea diseases with simple step such as fluid and electrolyte replacement (although they do not really know the reasons). They know when to find medical help. But they also believe that herbals and traditional medicine, even tradisional doctors can cure the diseases.

Perception of cleanness

When respondents were showed pictures of clean people in focus group discussions, they chose Dian Sastro, a famous young Indonesian movie actrees, not ordinary people such as them, explained Utomo. Their perception of cleanness is related to clean physical appearances, good morally and mentally.

In their perception, a clean people, such as Dian Sastro, is physically clean, smells good, always changes clothes after taking a bath, that only rich people can have such kind of cleanness. They believe that poor people is not clean people.

They understand there is strong relation between clean houses with their environment. A clean house has to have garbage cans, good ventilations, trees that create beauty and comforts. They associate health with sunlight that penetrates houses. And in their head, clean environment relates to a better garbage management. It is all citizen responsibility to make cleaner environment.

Clean behaviors

The ESP-USAID survey examined three things related to hygiene behaviors, which were washing hands, preparing foods, and exreting of total 7,137 women respondents who have children under three years old. The results showed that most of them do wash their hands but without soap, although it is easy for them to get soap. Only few women said that they wash their hands with soap, especially after taking care of their children faces.

Soap is used when their hands look dirty, feel sticky, or smell bad, e.g. after handling garbage. For them, dirty is associated with visual appearances not with hygiene.

Housewives surveyed have behavior to wash raw food before cooked them. But the way they wash the food, do not use running water, can contaminate the food with bacteries. They do not comfortable using running water because they cannot see the dirt being washed away. If they use running water, they have to use more water that means they have to spend more money on water.

Most of respondents have no access to proper sanitation facilities. They have no toilets or bathrooms in their houses. They prever to use public open air privies near the rivers or small lake, especially for people live in rural and suburban areas or in slum areas. Economic, cognitive and emotional factors are behind of this behavior.

They believe that excreting in open space does not harm the environment. And everybodies has been practicing it since ever, therefore they do not facing a moral sanction. They said using open air privies are more comfortable because of they can see natural sceneries, breath clean air, and everybodies do it.

Other reason is economic, to save money for other things rather than for water or build toilet inside their houses.

Wash hands campaing

In September 2006, Mercy Corps Indonesia and people of Petojo, another slum area in Jakarta, have built four hand-washing stations in their neighborhood, in areas where children play. Like many other urban poor areas in Jakarta, the residents in Petojo do not have proper sanitation facilities.

Ideally in the stations there should always be a bar of soap, a clean towel ready, besides clean water. There are also pictures drawn at the stations to show “the correct way to wash your hands – by rubbing your hands together with soap.”

A “Wash your hands with soap” campaign, a program of Coalition for Healthy Jakarta supported by Shell Indonesia, proved that people can change their behavior. Before the campaign been conducted in Petamburan district, a poor urban area in Central Jakarta where has children mortality rate 30 of 1,000 children in 2003, only 65% have behavior of washing hands with soap. After the campaign, it increased to 96%.

It is possible to encourage people who live in rural, suburban, or slum areas in the big cities to adopt “wash hand before eating” behavior. The problem is where they can get clean water, or quite cheap clean water. If the water used for washing hands is contaminated especially with human excreta (since most of the privies channel excretes directly to rivers), how can we guarantee that germs are not transmitted.

Municipal Water Corporation can only supply 35% of cities residents. Most of residents get their water from traditional wells or rivers. Indonesian government definitely has to improve sanitation facilities, clean water supply, while NGOs help the residents of urban-poor areas to change their improper behavior to reduce death of diarrhea diseases.

(The article was published in 2007)

Written by Harry Surjadi

13 August 2016 at 01:05

Media and Climate Change: Engage the Audiences

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Public perception and understanding of climate change were varies. The public wrongly perceives climate change as weather. They think ozone hole also causes climate change. And there are many misperceptions among the public.

The media plays a critical role in communicating the climate change to the public. If the media workers or reporters and editors also understand climate change wrongly, it will transfer the incorrectness to the public. Meanwhile, media has important role to inform, and even more to raise public awareness on climate change.

It’s not easy to answer how media can increase public awareness and understanding on climate change and on the same time to encourage citizen to become more involve with environmental issues, especially climate change.

Researches have shown that their surrounding environment can influence beliefs about climate change or global warming. Global warming correlated positively with outdoor temperature. Respondents who thought that the day was warmer than usual expressed a stronger belief and a greated concern about global warming than respondents who thought that the day was colder than usual. Even they also donated more money to a global warming charity if they thought that the day seemed warmer than usual (Li, Johnson, and Zaval, 2011).

In an experimental condition showed that participants were more likely to believe in global warming in presence of the tree without foliage in the room (Gueguen, 2012). This belief increased in presence of three rather than one tree without foliage. Other beliefs not related to global warming were not affected by the present of plant without foliage or with foliage. These researches revealed that surrounding physical cues do affect beliefs about global warming. And media – as the main source of information on climate change – should aware of this.

Media has limitations.

  1. Media coverage on climate change was driven by event as shown in monitoring data done by Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Colorado at Boulder. [1]
  2. Numbers of environmental journalists around the world is decreasing
  3. It’s not easy for journalists to understand complicated and complex issues such as climate change. It implies to low interest among journalists to cover climate change issues
  4. Climate change issues do not touch everyday lives. Therefore it’s difficult for media trying make connection from experiences and observation. It’s also difficult for media audiences to comprehend climate change.
  5. Media has follow journalistic norms such as: objectivity, fairness, accuracy, balance, dramatization, personalization, novelty, and authority order.
  6. Mainstream media, especially in developing countries, only serve 30% of people on the top of population pyramid and neglect about 50% people on the bottom of the pyramid

Then, what media should do.

  1. Media or journalists should use global warming term rather than climate change
  2. Media should answer four important questions from audiences: why is it important; what does it mean to me (audiences); what can/should I do about it; and what is the point.
  3. Journalists should take position
  4. Media should use the new trend in journalism that is data journalism to produce interactive and easy to understand stories
  5. Journalists should frame the climate change or global warming issues in “sustainable consumption and production” that will keep the issue down to earth
  6. Media should engage the audiences more with two ways:
  7. Open access for 50% people on the bottom of population pyramid. The last three years, I developed the climate change communication model for grass-root community in West Kalimantan.[2]
  8. Engage media audiences in activities such as environmental expeditions


Li, Y., Johnson, E., & Zaval, L. 2011. Local warming: Daily temperature change influences belief in global warming. Psychological Science, 22: 454459

Guéguen, Nicolas. 2012. Dead indoor plants strengthen belief in global warming. Journal of Environmental Psychology 32: 173177

[1] See: http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/icecaps/research/media_coverage/world/index.html. Accessed 20 November 2014

[2] See https://harrysurjadi.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/information-broker-communicating-and-monitoring-climate-change/ Accessed 20 November 2014

Written by Harry Surjadi

20 November 2014 at 12:14

Indonesia Bukan Tempat Pembuangan Limbah Beracun

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SEJAK tahun 1980-an, Indonesia sudah menjadi tujuan negara maju sebagai tempat pembuangan limbah beracun, baik legal maupun ilegal. Pulau Ayu (Papua) mengajukan izin untuk menjadi tempat pembuangan limbah. Tanjung Ucang, Batam, berencana menjadi tempat pengolahan limbah sisa hidrokarbon kapal tanker. Sejumlah pengusaha meminta izin mengimpor limbah B3 hasil cucian tanker dari Singapura untuk bahan bakar pembuatan kapur.

Taiwan sudah lama berupaya membuang limbah radioaktifnya ke wilayah Indonesia. Taiwan pernah mengajukan permohonan menyewa satu pulau untuk tempat buangan limbah radioaktif, tetapi waktu itu ditolak oleh Badan Pengendalian Dampak Lingkungan (Bapedal). Maka, Taiwan pun berupaya menyelundupkan limbah radioaktif− dicampur dengan barang bekas− ke pelabuhan tanpa pemantauan ketat di Indonesia timur.

Pada tahun 2000, Kota Sangata, Kabupaten Kutai, Kaltim, setuju menerima abu vulkanis dari Gunung Ohyama, Pulau Myake, Jepang. Limbah piroklastik itu akan digunakan untuk membuat jalan, jembatan, dan fasilitas lainnya, termasuk sebagai bahan bangunan. Pemda Sangata tergiur karena gratis ongkos kirim dan ada kompensasi uang sesuai jumlah abu.

PT Indosolor Sakti mengajukan izin mengimpor limbah non-B3 untuk diolah di Solor Timur, Pulau Flores bagian timur, dengan alasan antara lain kegiatan itu akan memberikan lapangan pekerjaan untuk 600 orang. Bahkan, PT Indosolor Sakti sudah membangun sarana penampungan sepanjang 120 meter dan sudah mendapatkan izin dari Ditjen Perdagangan Luar Negeri untuk mengimpor logam bekas (scrap metal) dari Taiwan.

PT Dunia Abad Baru Prima mengajukan izin mengimpor ”urban organic waste” alias sampah lagi-lagi dari Taiwan untuk membuat kompos di Pulau Sangiang, NTT. Jumlahnya 100.000-200.000 ton sampah per bulan, seolah-olah itu sampah organik semua. Kenyataannya, Taiwan menjadikan Indonesia tempat pembuangan akhir.

PT MG bermitra dengan Malaysia, Singapura, dan negara maju lainnya terang-terangan mengajukan izin mengolah limbah industri di Berau, Kaltim. Limbah berupa karet dan kulit sisa produksi, plastik, limbah medis (seperti jarum suntik), logam bekas, limbah kemasan, limbah dari industri pangan fermentasi, dan berbagai bahan kimia beracun. Jika proyek ini disetujui, PT MG akan membayar 500.000 dollar AS ke pemda setiap tahun untuk proyek 10 tahun, plus pajak 2 juta dollar AS per tahun.

Semua itu adalah limbah B3 yang coba dimasukkan ke wilayah Indonesia. Industri di dalam negeri sebenarnya sudah menumpuk banyak sekali limbah B3 karena hanya ada satu tempat resmi pengolahan limbah B3, yaitu di Cileungsi, Jawa Barat.


Semua upaya memasukkan limbah B3 ke wilayah Indonesia baik secara legal maupun ilegal bisa digagalkan karena dua hal.

Pertama, ketika itu masih ada Bapedal dan Bapedal Wilayah. Bapedal—seperti Environmental Protection Agency di AS—berwenang mengendalikan pencemaran limbah di seluruh wilayah Indonesia. Bapedal bisa menutup pabrik yang melanggar peraturan. Sayangnya, Bapedal dilebur ke dalam Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup oleh Presiden Megawati Soekarnoputri sehingga pengawasan limbah B3 dan pencemaran oleh industri kurang diperhatikan.

Kedua, karena UU Perlindungan dan Pengelolaan Lingkungan Hidup No 32 Tahun 2009 (revisi UU Lingkungan Tahun 1982) yang melarang siapa pun membuang limbah (bukan hanya limbah B3) ke wilayah Indonesia dan Peraturan Pemerintah No 85 Tahun 1999 mengenai Pengelolaan Limbah B3.

Emil Salim merencanakan akan membangun empat fasilitas pengolah limbah B3, yaitu di: 1) Cileungsi (untuk menampung limbah B3 wilayah Jabodetabek); 2) Jawa Timur; 3) Kalimantan Timur; 4) Lhokseumawe. Namun, yang sudah beroperasi hanya Cileungsi. Konsekuensinya, semua limbah B3 di Indonesia harus dikirim ke Cileungsi.

Rancangan PP Limbah B3

Saat ini sedang dibahas rancangan peraturan pemerintah mengenai pengelolaan limbah B3 dan dumping. Rancangan peraturan pemerintah dengan rekor 283 pasal itu sangat teknis, dengan semangat yang kental memberikan izin sebagian ke pemda tingkat I dan II dan izin dumping ke laut.

Ketika pemda tingkat I dan II—tergantung wilayah kerja yang mengajukan izin—bisa memberikan izin untuk pengumpulan dan penyimpanan limbah B3, apakah ada yang bisa menjamin tidak akan menyimpang? Apakah cukup kapasitas pemda memberikan izin?

Pasal 213 sangat jelas membolehkan setiap orang membuang (dumping) limbah B3 ke lingkungan dengan legal karena ada proses pengajuan izin. Apakah pesisir di seluruh Indonesia siap menerima limbah B3? Di AS, EPA memang tidak melarang dumping tailing ke laut, tetapi persyaratannya sangat tidak memungkinkan dipenuhi.

Pertanyaan mendasar sebenarnya, apakah perlu merevisi PP Limbah B3 yang ada? Apakah dorongan revisi ini datang dari para pengusaha tambang dan industri penghasil limbah B3? Bagaimana harusnya sikap pemerintah?

Sebelum tanah-air-laut dan manusia Indonesia terlanjur tercemari limbah beracun, batalkan revisi PP limbah B3 karena peraturan yang sudah ada sudah cukup.

Kepada siapa pun yang menjadi presiden RI mendatang, bentuk lagi Badan Pengendalian Dampak Lingkungan dengan kewenangan penuh (seperti Environmental Protection Agency di Amerika Serikat) mengeluarkan izin, mencabut izin, dan mengendalikan semua persoalan pencemaran di Indonesia.

Terakhir, lanjutkan rencana pembangunan tempat pengolahan limbah di sentra industri yang pernah direncanakan Bapedal zaman lalu. Semua limbah B3—termasuk tailing dari kegiatan pertambangan−—harus diolah di tempat itu dengan pengawasan ketat dari Bapedal.

(Tulisan ini sudah disiarkan di Kompas siang tanggal 12 Maret 2014)


Written by Harry Surjadi

12 March 2014 at 21:29

News That is Node-Worthy: An Idea For Connecting Community Radio Stations in Indonesia

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Worldwide, media outlets are increasingly mastering two-way communications channels. Radio and television stations are equipped to receive text messages, phone calls, and social media inputs. Staff can then decide to respond over broadcast, or back through the incoming channel. Yet these communications are often restricted to a single node; one community radio station, or a single television outlet, connecting to its own audience. There are often gaps in transmitting that information to other outlets who might also find that information relevant.

To take a specific example, there are thousands of community radio stations in Indonesia. While many are able to communicate in two-way channels with their audience, there is no standard service to share breaking news and other important information with other nearby stations. There is, in essence, a knowledge transfer gap between each singular node.

We propose that this problem can be addressed, and that Indonesia holds a particularly interesting possibility, because a structure exists that could relay information between relevant stations. Namely, hundreds of radio stations are organized under voluntary consortiums; the organizing bodies of these consortiums can serve as a hub to coordinate information to its various member stations. In developing such a network, we could create a wire service of sorts for low-bandwidth environments.

Organizing such a wire service could be done with FrontlineSMS, enabling local radio stations to exchange SMS, or text messages, with one another or with their parent organizing body. Further, the SMS can be broad enough to allow communities to participate in creating and reporting news via community information brokers (link to Harry’s post). The mechanism would create a dynamic, community-focused news network that will allow for the rapid transmission of critical information across a given region.

We could organize a pilot as follows: as a community radio station learns information that may be relevant to others, they can send a short message to the consortium headquarters. From there, staff can forward the message to any other member station that could be potentially affected by the news. This might include emergency alerts, news about government service delivery, or even off-air collaboration about common challenges. In the long term, radio stations might be able to share information directly with sister outlets, or receive and verify reports from community information brokers.

Even a small pilot project could connect hundreds of radio stations in this manner, with a reach of thousands of listeners. Best of all, this type of network can scale by connecting a variety of information nodes with simple, easy-to-use tools. It doesn’t rely on high-tech or high-bandwidth needs. The result would create unprecedented coverage capabilities, and build a stronger sense of connection across thousands of island communities.

This post was jointly written by Trevor Knoblich, Project Director at FrontlineSMS, and Harry Surjadi, Knight International Journalism Fellow and freelance journalist

Source: http://www.frontlinesms.com/2013/09/10/news-that-is-node-worthy-an-idea-for-connecting-community-radio-stations-in-indonesia-2/

Written by Harry Surjadi

11 September 2013 at 00:16

Ekonomi Komunitas

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Sejak partai-partai mengumumkan calon presiden dan calon wakil presiden (capres-cawapres) mereka, pernyataan paling banyak adalah mengenai isu ekonomi. Semua pasangan mencoba membangun citra mereka yang peduli pada rakyat dengan menempelkan kata “ekonomi” dengan kaa “rakyat,” menjadi jargon kampanye tiga pasangan capres-cawapres.

Kata-kata “neo-kapitalis” ikut muncul ketika SBY mengumumkan Boediono sebagai cawapresnya. “Neo-kapitalis” seakan-akan lawan kata dari “ekonomi kerakyatan.” Boediono  dan tim kampanye SBY-Boediono “mati-matian” membantah tuduhan itu dengan segala jurus, informasi, dan data, yang menunjukkan bahwa Boediono juga berperspektif “ekonomi kerakyatan.” Selain JK-Wiranto, pasangan Mega-Prabowo ikut menyanyikan lagi “ekonomi kerakyatan” atau ekonomi yang pro-rakyat. Tapi, sejauh ini, tidak ada penjelasan utuh mengenai “ekonomi kerakyatan” yang dimaksud tiga pasangan capres-cawapres itu.

Adalah Julie Graham (http://www.communityeconomies.org/people/Julie-Graham) dan Katherine Gibson dalam buku mereka, A Postcapitalist Politics (2006 – http://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/a-postcapitalist-politics), yang memperkenalkan ekonomi komunitas sebagai alternatif ekonomi non-kapitalis sesungguhnya. Bentuk ekonomi mandiri yang mencoba mengurangi ketergantungan pada ikatan ekonomi global dan nasional serta pengaruh buruk pergerakan kapital.

Apa bedanya ekonomi komunitas dengan ekonomi arus utama, yang dominan saat ini? Dua bentuk ekonomi ini sangat kontras satu dengan lainnya. Ekonomi komunitas melekat pada tempat atau lokasi, sedangkan ekonomi arus utama berskala global atau berdasarkan spasial. Ekonomi arus utama terspesialisasi. Misalnya, perusahaan otomotif hanya berbisnis otomotif. Sedangkan ekonomi komunitas bervariasi, tidak hanya satu rupa. Ekonomi arus utama berskala besar, kompetitif, dan terpusat. Ekonomi komunitas berskala kecil, mengedepankan kerja sama, dan terdesentralisasi.

Ekonomi arus utama berada di luar budaya, tidak melekat secara sosial, jauh berbeda dari ekonomi komunitas yang sangat berdasarkan budaya dan melekat secara sosial. Pemilik ekonomi komunitas adalah masyarakat lokal dan menyebar. Ekonomi arus utama tidak memiliki masyarakat lokasl dan pengumpul (agglomerative).

Ekonomi arus utama berorientasi ekspor, sedangkan ekonomi komunitas berorientasi pasar lokal. Investasi ekonomi komunitas berjangka panjang, sedangkan ekonomi arus utama lebih mementingkan pengembalian modal jangka pendek. Ekonomi arus utama berorientasi pada pertumbuhan, ekstraktif, dan mengalirkannya ke luar sumber daya yang diekstrak. Ekonomi komunitas lebih berorientasi pada vitalitas dan menyirkulasi sumber daya di wilayah lokal.

Ekonomi komunitas adalah milik komunitas dan dikendalikan komunitas. Ekonomi arus utama dimiliki pemodal yang dikelola oleh manajemen dan dikendalikan pemilik modal. Ekonomi komunitas berkelanjutan dari segi lingkungan, mengutamakan etika, harmonisasi dan percaya yang lokal. Sebaliknya, ekonomi arus utama tidak berkelanjutan dari segi lingkungan, terfragmentasi, amoral, dan mengandalkan krisis.

Ekonomi komunitas memanfaatkan sumber daya lokal untuk memenuhi kebutuhan komunitas, bukan untuk memenuhi permintaan pasar yang jauh. Harga komoditas global tidak menentukan produk apa yang akan mereka hasilkan. Tidak seperti bentuk ekonomi sekarang ini. Ketika harga kopi dunia naik, pertani berbondong-bondong menanam kopi. Ketika harga cokelat jatuh, petani menebang pohon kakao mereka.

Richard Douthwaite mencirikan ekonomi komunitas, terkait dengan kelestarian lingkungan, harus berkelanjutan dengan memanfaatkan sumber daya alam sebatas kebutuhan komunitas, dan setiap siklus produksi bisa bertahan lebih dari 100 tahun tanpa merusak ekologi. Ekonomi komunitas tidak bisa mengandalkan pertumbuhan ekonomi untuk mempertahankan kesejahteraan.

Apakah mungkin ekonomi komunitas? Masyarakat Baduy adalah bukti praktik ekonomi komunitas. Komunitas Baduy memenuhi kebutuhan hidup tanpa bergantung pada ekonomi di luar komunitas.

Dalam format yang lebih maju adalah kelompok gerakan petani organik. Mereka berupaya memenuhi lebih dahulu kebutuhan sendiri. sisa penenan barulah dibarter atau dijual ke komunitas konsumen.

Memang bentuk ekonomi komunitas tidak bisa murni seperti yang dipraktikkan komunitas Baduy. Bagaimanapun, setiap komunitas masih akan bergantung pada komunitas lainnya. Hal paling mendasar yang barus dipenuhi komunitas pelaku ekonomi komunitas adalah kebutuhan akan pangan. Lalu, dalam skala kecil, komunitas-komunitas bisa saling mendukung. Untuk satu produk tertentu, komunitas A adalah produsen. Tetapi untuk produk lainnya, komunitas A adalah konsumen.

Ekonomi komunitas sangat pas untuk masyarakat Indonesia, yang terdiri dari komunitas-komunitas. Ketika masyarakat tidak bisa menunggu kesejahteraan yang dijanjikan negara (pemerintah), menentukan nasib sendiri melalui ekonomi komunitas memberikan kepastian kehidupan yang lebih baik.

(Tulisan ini dimuat di Majalah Gatra, No 35 Tahun XV, 9-15 Juli 2009)

(8c) Gatra Ekonomi Komunitas

Written by Harry Surjadi

8 January 2013 at 16:29

Climate Change Communication Model to Help Community Conserving and Monitoring the Forests

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On 14 November 2011, Hendrik – the Head of Asmoja Cooperative of oil palm farmers in Silat Hilir Sub-District, West Kalimantan, blasted the SMS message to the Cooperative members:

pt. rap membuka lahan utk perkebunan sawit diluar konsesi yang diterbitkan oleh kabupaten Kapuas Hulu (sumber: Pak Husni/Kabid Dishutbun Kapuas Hulu)

“PT RAP cleared the forest for oil palm plantation out side its concession area issued by Kapuas Hulu District (source: Pak Husni – the head of Plantation Division of Kapuas Hulu District)”

Husni informed that PT RAP (Riau Agrotama Plantation) illegally cutting and clearing forests areas not in its concession area.

The SMS also sent to several local government officers of Kapuas Hulu District and Asmoja Cooperative’s members.

On 29 November 2011, Hendrik blasted the follow up news that Kapuas Hulu District has ordered PT RAP to stop the illegal clearing activities: “Pemda Kabupaten Kapuas Hulu memberhentikan kegiatan PT. RAP dlm buka lahan di Desa Rumbih dan Nanga Nuar Kec. Slt Hlr Kap Hulu.”

On 30 November 2011, Hendrik went to local police office in district level to report that PT RAP has done illegal logging activities. Then the police took action to stop the illegal logging activities.

Hundreds of oil palm farmers have received the information through their cell phones. The SMSes also were sent to local government officers. Using an open source program fronlinesms (http://frontlinesms.com), Hendrik easily informed his farmer colleagues only using his cell-phone.

A local television station RuaiTV (http://ruaitv.co.id/), Internews (http://internews.org/), and Knight International Journalism Fellow (http://www.icfj.org/our-work/fellows) helped Hendrik to install the frontlinesms and trained Asmoja Cooperative members as citizen journalists. All Asmoja Cooperative members monitor the oil palm company and environment using their cell phones.

RuaiTV has developed RuaiSMS using the same program and trained 180 community members in West Kalimantan as citizen journalists. Trained citizen journalists file their reports to RuaiSMS. RuaiTV blasted the reports to around 600 RuaiSMS subscribers.

Based on experiences of RuaiSMS, REDD+ Task Force is using citizen journalism developing a communication model to monitor REDD+ pilot projects in Central Kalimantan Province. Trained citizen journalists have new added role. This new citizen journalists who named “information brokers,” will not only report news, they will monitor forests and REDD+ pilot projects.

Information brokers are community members trained on basic journalism knowledge and skills. Information brokers, with capability in observing and reporting facts and data, have high awareness of what happen in their communities.

They will not only focus on reporting news or data, they have responsibility to raise awareness of their community members on certain issues including climate change and REDD+. They are also sources of information for community members. They will inform community members about climate change, FPIC (free and prior informed consent), REDD+, community rights, regulations related to forest issues, and other important information.

Using their cell-phone, information brokers will send news to local media and report information or data to the organization that manage the communication channel.

Their reports will be received by the SMS reporting system using frontlinesms program. The system will forward the SMS news/information to specific cell phone numbers belong to government officers who responsible for certain issue.

The SMS reporting system can be set to forward the SMS news or information to subscribers. The SMS news/information can be pushed to a web site or to social media.

The information brokers will report any changes of land-use, social indicators, economic indicators, and physical changes of forest areas near them. They will also send report on the FPIC (free and prior informed consent) processes as important phase of REDD project.

When the REDD+ project is in the phase of MRV (measurement, reporting, and verification), the information brokers need to join a training how to collect data that needed in measurement (M of MRV) the carbon sequestrated in a species of tree. They will learn how to measure the diameter of a tree, identify certain kind of tree, and other important indicators. They will be equipped with GPS trackers, digital cameras, and (if needed) video cameras too.

The pilot program of independent monitoring on REDD+ pilot project with the Indigenous People Alliance of Archipelago (AMAN) has started in August 2012. The program has trained more than 100 indigenous people community members from all districts where REDD+ pilot projects located.

The trained information brokers will submit their report, data, information to the system using frontlinesms hosted in AMAN office in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. AMAN will compile all information and data and then submit them to the local government or the REDD+ pilot project owners and to mainstream media.

Beside with AMAN, the REDD+ Task Force partnered with PNPM Mandiri Pedesaan and local NGOs in Central Kalimantan to develop four information broker communication systems to monitor the peat-land area of former “peat area project” (x-PLG). The program has trained around 120 community members in the x-PLG areas. The program will put community members as part of REDD+ project. They will help the REDD+ projects managed transparently and gave benefit to the communities.

The program will help the communities knowing what are happening or will happen to them when there are changes in their villages and how to response to the changes. The information brokers are the source of information, the eyes, ears and voice for their communities to create accountability and transparency in REDD+ projects.

Written by Harry Surjadi

26 November 2012 at 15:01

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