By Terry Muthahhari
We live in a world where enviroment has become the “sacrificial lamb” of economic development. In the context of Indonesia for instance, in 2015, we experienced the tragedy of forest burning committed by various companies. Indonesia and other developing countries such as Brazil also suffer from the increasing amount of tree cover loss in its rainforest from 2013 to 2014. Current generation also face challenges from economic practices of companies that oftentimes result in irresponsible waste management system that harms local communities. However, last year, the international community reached a silver lining, 188 countries reached an agreement to have commitment in decreasing the global temperature to below 2 degrees. The developed countries have also pledge billions of dollars to help developing countries protecting their environment. Each nation has to have their own contribution framework in stopping climate change and balancing the economic develepment with enviromental protection.
From the context above, I, as the part of this generation, recall three important significance of the below-2 degree celcius goal; First , there will be a state-level policy changes regarding that which will increase my awareness as citizen to pay more attention to the environment. Currenty the changes already occured in Indonesia; Jokowi administration has obliged minimarket/supermarket to charge their consumers for using plastic bag. This policy aims to create a responsible behavior from customers to resort to enviromental friendly products. Second, the commitment entails the responsibility that I have as part of this generation to ensure the well-being of next generation to be able to enjoy the same quality of life and prosperity as right now. Third, I need to do significant contribution in personal level in protecting the environment; become aware with energy usage and product that I use/consume whether its reach minimum enviromental standar or not and spread awareness about environemental protection to others.
In the age of media booming (particularly the social media), from my persepctive as Communication Science graduates, it is important to start and consistenly engage in public discourse regarding enviromental protection. Through social media, anyone can engage in fruitful discussion regarding enviromental protection. For example, anyone can share articles/editorial/journal about enviromental problem and the best solution to tackle those problems. From what I have experienced, public discourse in social media can act as a source of information to increase the awareness of individual regarding important facts that the mainstream media (TV, Newspaper, Radio) often missed. Facebook act as a way of Riau citizens to express their anger towards the weak regulation and slow responses to the forest burning tragedy that in the end invites a lot of enviromental activist or even layperson to start a donation as well as pressuring the government to fasten the mitigation effort. Twitter campaigns have also succesfully acted as a kickstarter of awareness for individual to know about the irresponsible act of companies that occur in various places, factory waste in India and palm oil and paper companies forest burning in Indonesia. Right now, anyone can actively critize and give their ideas about environment through the emerging power of social media. And from my individual perspective this is simplest yet strongest act that an individual can do to contribute to the below-two-degress movement. Because the only way to solve a problem is by recognizing that we are facing real challenges starting now and years to come.