There are not many organizations, specifically the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) ones, which have the endurance to keep working for the community development for 20 years. IDEP is one of the few organizations in that category. This year, on May 15th, IDEP celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Of course, it is not an easy journey considering the dynamic challenges that must be faced from time to time, both locally and globally, internally and externally. Within the past two decades, IDEP was also faced with a series of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, tears and laughter that come in and out. Nevertheless, the firm desire to serve the ideals of community resilience and sustainable environment has kept the organization survived to this day.
To give appreciation as well as reflect on the whole journey, IDEP held the celebration of 20th Anniversary at the Taman Baca Kesiman, a public library and co-working space in Denpasar, on May 18. The celebration itself was filled with a series of interesting events. The following are eight important things that are briefly summarized from the entire event:
1. Renewable-Clean Energy is Possible
The use of clean renewable energy is no longer an impossible thing. As proof, the energy used in the IDEP 20th Anniversary comes from solar energy. Thanks to the help of Bio Solar Farms, the solar energy can be harvested through a series of solar panels which are then used to supply all electricity needs from morning to night. In fact, music shows that have huge electricity needs can be fulfilled through this environmentally-friendly technology.
IDEP’s 20th Anniversary is not the only example. Previously, Nosstress, a Bali-base folk band, and Komunitas Pojoks, Bali-based artist community, had also successfully exercised it in their respective activities. With those examples showed, turns out that shifting from fossil fuel to renewable-clean energy that doesn’t damage nature is possible.
2. Public Discussion on Human Responsibility for the Environment
The fact of environmental damage is often not considered as something serious. Even though the impact has been increasingly felt in the form of drought, clean water crisis, crop failure, floods, landslides, as well as waste and air pollution. Even in many places, casualties began to fall due to the impact. However, environmental damage is still not a matter of priority to be resolved.
There are many things that are revealed as the cause. Ironically, all have the same connection, namely humans. However, the human’s excessive exploitation of nature often has fewer efforts to “give back” good things to nature as a way of caring for them. Then how to solve all the environmental crisis? That question was then tried to be examined, discussed and answered in two public discussion sessions at IDEP’s 20th Anniversary.
The first session specifically discussed the application of permaculture as a way to answer the challenges of food sovereignty. In this session, permaculture practitioners such as Hira Jhamtani, Robi Navicula, and Krisna Waworuntu shared their knowledge and experience in applying permaculture as a sovereign way of food. The principles of permaculture, which are in line with the local culture of ancestral heritage, are used because through its application humans can be economically independent while at the same time actively involved in preserving nature.
In the second session, the discussion on the theme of the Bali ecological disaster had more diverse speakers. They are Lilik Sudiajeng and Suryanegara Dwipa who are researchers from the Bali State Polytechnic, Agus Suwestnawa from Green Peace, Wayan “Gendo” Suardana from the Bali Resists to Benoa Bay Reclamation movement (ForBali) and Ade Andreawan from IDEP. The five speakers shared data and analysis related to environmental damage and the impacts that followed it from the perspective of political economy, development policy and local culture.
From the intense discussion, it was revealed that massive environmental damage was caused by development policies with all the political-economy interest behind that neglected the environmental impacts. At the same time, local cultural values that maintain the balance of nature are no longer fully translated into proper practice. Therefore, in the same route, efforts to improve and reduce environmental damage and its impacts should also be pursued through the application of policies, local culture and also multi-stakeholder collaboration based on the principles of sustainability.
3. Various Interesting Workshops
There are three interesting workshops that were held from morning until noon at that time, including plasticology, and batik. Finding all three were new, the participants seemed determined and enthusiastic about learning each step from the start. Plasticology and xylography sessions were participated by students from 18 elementary schools around Bali, while the batik session was participated by their accompanying teachers and several other interested visitors.
The plasticology, a term developed by Made Bayak which is also a facilitator for the workshop, is the concept of plastic waste management in which they would be crafted as artworks. Here, the students learned to process various plastic waste into works of art. The artworks are not just relatively good in an aesthetic way, but also came with strong messages. Ultimately on the students’ concern about the environmental damage caused by human destructive behavior.
The xylography session, which took place at the same time as the plasticology on the other side, the students involved were invited by the facilitator, Ardee “Sangut” Wiyasa, to learn the technique of printing images by wooden panels that they had previously chiseled. Interestingly, the most beautiful works produced at that time were images of plants, animals, and natural landscapes.
By noon, it was the turn of the batik session. In the session facilitated by Krisna Waworuntu, the participants were invited to recognize all stages of batik that needed patience and perseverance. Despite the limited time, each of them eventually produced their own batik creation.
4. Plastic-made Artwork Exhibition
Since morning, one side of Taman Baca Kesiman looks lively with dozens of unique creative artworks. They are unique and at the same time interesting because all the artworks are creatively crafted from plastic waste. There were clocks, various toys, baskets, flower vases, mini aquariums, decorative furniture, chairs, dolls, and others.
All of the artworks made by students from 18 elementary schools spread across nine regencies and cities in Bali. Plastic waste which is the basic material is obtained from around the school and neighborhood. In addition to a number of policies such as the prohibition on the use of disposable single-use plastics in schools, it is also one way the school raises students’ awareness about the dangers of plastics that are not easily biodegradable.
5. Permaculture Garden Tour
With the belief that farming is also a way to care for the earth and maintain the balance of the ecosystem, one of the events that were presented at IDEP’s 20th Anniversary was a permaculture garden tour. It was conducted in two sessions, morning and evening. The morning session was mostly attended by the elementary school students, while the afternoon one was mostly attended by adults.
While exploring the beautiful garden of Taman Baca Kesiman that is treated with the principle of permaculture, IDEP staffs maximized the opportunity to share about the benefits of permaculture, not only to meet the economic needs of households and health but also to ensure environmental sustainability. Besides being easy to do and cheap as almost all of the ingredients can be obtained from the surrounding environment, the application of permaculture is also not limited by narrow spaces. As it is now commonly practiced in urban areas, if it does not have enough space in the yard, gardens can also be managed creatively and easily in a number of ways such as vertical gardening techniques for example.
5. Bazaar for Thought to Stomach Needs
Along the entrance to Taman Baca Kesiman, visitors were directly welcomed by a bazaar that offered various products from various communities and business units. Generally, they are communities and business units that also carry out the vision of environmental preservation and sustainability in various activities, including Bukit Mesari Farmers Group, Koperasi Mambal (Mambal Cooperative), EcoBali Recycling, TrashStock, Trash Hero Indonesia, Mahardika Books, Perpustakaan Jalanan Denpasar (Denpasar Street Library), Rak Baca Denpasar Kolektif (Denpasar Collective Books) and Baliku Jamur (My Bali Mushroom).
The bazaar was fairly complete to analogically meet the needs, ranging from thoughts to stomach. The contents of each stall were good enough to explain it as there were books, zines, fresh-organic vegetables and fruit, organic rice, various mushroom foods, souvenirs from recycled materials and others. Frequently, on the sidelines of the chat with visitors who stopped by, representatives from the community and business units were seen to share information regarding the environmental conservation efforts they have, are and will be working on.
6. Messages in the Murals
The messages about human responsibility for environmental sustainability amplificated through IDEP’s 20th Anniversary were getting stronger with the presence of a number of murals. The murals were actually displayed at the Pre-Bali event Binal 8: Tomorrow’s Energy initiated by the Pojoks Community the day before. But to make it reach wider audiences, they agreed to keep the murals stands on.
It is not a common mural. They contain campaign from several artists who want to voice their concern on the use of non-renewable energy, such as coal and crude oil, which bring more damages to the environment. At the same time, the campaign also wanted to strengthen their optimism that switching to environmentally-friendly renewable energy, such as solar, wind, water and geothermal energy, was something that could be done.
7. Intimate and Close-to-Nature Music Performance
By nightfall, the venue was crowded with visitors. One of the final programs that have been eagerly awaited from IDEP’s 20th Anniversary is a musical performance.
However, there was something different from that night. Similar music shows are mostly only attended by teenagers. But not on the night that coincides with the full moon. There were also a number of visitors who came to bring their families, complete with children. When they were more likely to sit cross-legged on the grass, the atmosphere felt more intimate, relaxed and close-to-nature.
The low stage which closer to the audience reinforces that impression. Especially when Nosstress personnel chose to sit face to face with the audience in the front row while inviting everyone to sing along on one of their songs.
Besides Nosstress, there were also special performances from mostly Bali-based musicians, including Anda Bunga, Sandrayati Fay, Made Mawut, Jamel Hall and the Brass Tax and The Kelors, a band with IDEP staff in the lineup. In harmony with the messages that IDEP was trying to convey through the celebration, the musicians also called for the importance of living in harmony with nature through thoughts and real actions.
For sure, these eight things are not the final results expected from IDEP’s 20th Anniversary. However, it all becomes important to note because all encounters, discussions, critical thinking, enthusiasm, ideas and ongoing works that have been shared with each other there can be an inspiration to keep improving for a sustainable environment in the coming days.
Thank you to all who have helped make the celebration possible. See you in the same spirit: live in harmony with nature! (Ed)
*) Photos from this event can be seen here