Written by Safira Tafani Cholisi, Content Writer Intern Project Child Indonesia
You might be familiar with the term ‘climate change’. It has been a primary topic of discourse around the world, ranging from governments, business corporations, non-governmental organizations and even private individuals. Climate change is an environmental process where the temperature of the Earth increases due to the heightening level of greenhouse gases produced by human activities, subsequently causing a shift in the regularity of climate conditions around the globe (What is climate change? A really simple guide, 2020). It is known to be one of the most dangerous threats for humanity as changing climate conditions can lead to rain and snowstorms or the opposite such as drought and erosion. Inevitably, this directly impacts daily human activities in a range of sectors including agriculture, food production, and health.
However, this environmental catastrophe actually poses a more pressing threat to developing countries. Most are geographically located around the equator, making the temperatures naturally warmer. Reasonably, climate change will only increase the already high temperatures in these countries. According to the World Bank, 100 million people could be dragged under the poverty line by 2030 due to the impacts of climate change (Climate Change and the Developing World: A Disproportionate Impact, 2020). Considering that developing countries mostly depend on natural resources and agriculture for economic growth, the direct consequences of climate change will challenge the economic resilience of these countries. Indonesia as a developing country itself is not exempted from these impacts.
As observed through various media and news channels, Indonesia has recently been hit by severe flooding in areas around the country. Earlier this year, intense rainfall and extreme weather conditions caused severe flooding in South Kalimantan. The flood lasted for more than two weeks and is estimated to have affected 712,129 people and displaced more than 110,000 (South Kalimantan Flood a Gloomy Picture of Natural Destruction, 2021). Additionally, the calculated loss in several sectors including agriculture and fishery sector reaches almost IDR 100 billion. Just last week, houses and buildings were awash by severe flooding in Jakarta and surrounding areas (Paat, 2021). Jakarta is notorious for being a hotspot for flash floods for a number of reasons such as uncontrolled groundwater drainage and rising sea levels. While these cases of floods are classified as natural disasters, it is undebatable that both climate change and our involvement has played a part in exacerbating this issue.
The causes of floods in Indonesia are mainly attributed to three factors: loss of tree cover, extreme weather and topography (Sulaeman, Pradana & Hamzah, 2019). However, illegal logging and mining as well as wild forest fires are some of the man-controlled causes of the loss of green spaces in Kalimantan forests. Without tree covers to facilitate water absorption by soil, sudden increase of water volume from extreme rainfall becomes uncontainable and leads to flooding. Climate change further aggravates this condition as higher global temperature causes rising sea levels due to ice melting in the polar regions. In fact, rising sea levels are one of the primary factors behind the prediction of Jakarta’s submergence by 2050 (Mulhern, 2020). These predictions do not only seem terrible and frightening, but they also threaten our wellbeing, particularly those most disadvantaged and marginalized without secure economic safety nets.
Are you wondering about what we can do to face this difficult challenge? There are many actions that we, as an individual, can do to reduce the damages of climate change. You can learn about what climate change is and how it can pervasively impact our lives both individually and collectively through various free learning platforms in your local community library or even the internet. Local organizations can also be a starting point for you to connect with your surrounding community and environment and contribute to social work and mutual aid. Project Child Indonesia recognizes that environmental and disaster issues are pressing to our local communities and incorporates disaster risk management lessons in some of its programs such as Sekolah Sungai and Sekolah Pantai. Whatever it is that you do to act on the danger of climate change, it is a huge step to do good to your community and environment. In resonance with Project Child Indonesia’s motto, “Everyone Can Do Good”, we believe that you too can also do good.
Photo Credit: CNN
BBC. 2020. What is climate change? A really simple guide. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-24021772> [Accessed 20 February 2021].
KOMPAS. 2021. South Kalimantan Flood a Gloomy Picture of Natural Destruction. [online] Available at: <https://www.kompas.id/baca/english/2021/01/25/south-kalimantan-flood-a-gloomy-picture-of-natural-destruction/#> [Accessed 20 February 2021].
Mulhern, O., 2020. Sea Level Rise Projection Map – Jakarta. [online] Earth.org. Available at: <https://earth.org/data_visualization/sea-level-rise-by-the-end-of-the-century-alexandria-2/> [Accessed 20 February 2021].
Paat, Y., 2021. Weekend Floods Force Hundreds to Leave Home in Jakarta. [online] Jakarta Globe. Available at: <https://jakartaglobe.id/news/weekend-floods-force-hundreds-to-leave-home-in-jakarta> [Accessed 20 February 2021].
Sulaeman, D., Pradana, A. and Hamzah, H., 2019. 3 Main Causes of Floods in Indonesia and How to Prevent Them. [online] WRI Indonesia. Available at: <https://wri-indonesia.org/en/blog/3-main-causes-floods-indonesia-and-how-prevent-them> [Accessed 20 February 2021].
U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. 2020. Climate Change and the Developing World: A Disproportionate Impact. [online] Available at: <https://www.usglc.org/blog/climate-change-and-the-developing-world-a-disproportionate-impact/> [Accessed 20 February 2021].