by Steve Harison
Nowadays climate change already impacted the living of hundreds of millions peoples around the globe. We are facing the hardest challenge in the history of human civilization. While many peoples enjoying their life with high consumption on natural resources and environmentally-unfriendly things, the rest are suffering a lot because of many catastrophes that caused by climate change in every corner of the planet. Indeed, climate change is a global issue, but the world already agreed that it could be solved totally by local actions, in line with the principle of think globally act locally.
In relation to that, more than half of the total global population is currently living in urban areas, so does with the Indonesia. We become more aware on the importance of cities in contributing to address climate change through both adaptation and mitigation efforts. Due to geographical type of archipelago, Indonesian big cities are located in the coastal areas making it very vulnerable to climate change. However, there are also big cities that located in inner part of the islands, mostly in mountainous areas, making it also very vulnerable to climate change but certainly with different challenges and solutions. Bandung is one of it, where the city surrounded by mountains and the climate temperature now becoming more unpredictable because of many mismanagement on land use especially for green protected areas in the mountains.
The map of mountainous area of Bandung
But, the most important thing to be done in addressing urban climate issues is the lifestyle of its inhabitants itself. Active social participation becomes a great solution to settle any global issues in local context everywhere, by anybody and at anytime. Fortunately, in Bandung city, young peoples counted for almost 40% of the city population, generating the huge potential of social participation.
Moreover, the aspect of leadership plays important role in gaining social participation and support from young peoples in the city. Ridwan Kamil, as the mayor of Bandung city has strong commitment on youth and already created a platform of urban policy that incorporating young peoples as ‘a precious resource’ in managing the city. Thanks to his dynamic personality and open-minded attitude that attract young peoples in the city to raise their sense of belonging to the city itself. Many youth-led / youth-based initiatives now emerge to actively involved in the urban waste management and environmental preservation of the city related to addressing urban climate issues.
Urban waste management performed by youth members of GPS, Bandung
First, Gerakan Pungut Sampah (GPS), in English it would be the movement of collecting trash, is good example in describing youth local participation to make the city’s environment cleaner and healthier. Although it is the Mayor’s program for all inhabitants, but more enthusiastically and regularly implemented by young peoples in Bandung. They are also creating the movement of 1000 tumbler to reduce urban trash volume especially mineral water bottled and plastic packaging. At the areas of car free day every Sunday, they collect trashes in the streets and promote cleaner city to the peoples at the same time. They also collaborate intensively with other communities and organizations in the city to altogether making change for a better, more friendly and livable city.
Second, Bank Sampah Bandung, in English it would be the waste bank of Bandung, is remarkable model in empowering urban communities to implement 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) on their waste and get financial incentives as return. Many of peoples joining the team are youth volunteers and they assist to encourage many schools around the city to also involve in that program.
Third, Greeneration Foundation, is a well-known eco-preneurship organization headquartered in Bandung which focusing on inviting peoples to have greener attitude and save the environment. They produce various environmentally-friendly reusable bags in effort to reduce the use of plastic bag. Also, they have educational program for children and waste management services. Surely, most of peoples who are active in Greeneration are young peoples.
Those initiatives would be nothing without active youth participation. However, the reason that waste becomes main challenge in Bandung at present is because of vagueness on urban waste policy in previous time. Accordingly, talking about urban climate resilience, it will closely relate to waste management. Efficient waste management would reduce significantly the carbon emissions of the city and improve the environmental quality for the peoples at the same time. In Bandung, itself, there is still much homework to be done such enhancing policy coordination, improving social engagement, ensuring legal enforcement, and so on. Yet, at least the social movement led by youth could give more power to the city to be more eco-friendly and addressing its climate issues in more inclusive and participatory ways.