Climate change is a disaster that does not entirely come from nature. Humans also contribute to accelerate this situation with unfriendly behavior with the environment, such as cutting down trees, wasting water, using plastic waste in large numbers. Indonesia contributes 9 million tons / year of plastic waste from that amount, 3.6 million tons of waste ends at sea. This situation makes Indonesia a country that contribute the largest plastic waste in Southeast Asia.
Encountering the ecological problems that await human beings, Prof. Judith Schlehe (Freiburg University, Germany) and a team of researchers from the Center for Southeast Asian Social Studies(CESASS) UGM conducted a study highlighting waste as an environmental disaster created by humans. Together Dr.phil.Vissia Ita Yulianto, one of CESASS researchers, Prof. Judith Schlehe presented their research results in the cities of Yogyakarta, Bantul, Gunungkidul, and along the coast in the South Sea of Java. This research is part of Ecological Communications research in Northeast Asia Disaster Management in the World Class Professor (WCP) program.
The research progress was then presented in a seminar entitled Waste as an Enviromental Disaster: Socio-Religious Practices at the South Coast of Java (25/9) at Ruang Indonesia, CESASS UGM. This study focuses on the connections between people’s daily lives and their attitudes toward waste in social and cultural contexts. Apparently, there are still many people who do not know the waste management so that the garbage are dumped in the river or buried in the ground. This is very dangerous because it will contaminate water and soil (environment).
The research team of CESASS and Prof Judith Schlehe investigated the behavior of the people who dump garbage with the attitude of the policy makers on this issue. Taking the viewpoint of socio-cultural anthropology, these researchers examined how the perception connectedness of nature, social dynamics, and waste caring practices are interconnected in an effort to safeguard the natural and normalization of disasters in the South Sea of Java. This research combines a conceptual approach with activism.
The interesting thing about this research is that there are efforts by community groups to preserve nature using a socio-religious perspective. The beliefs of certain religions that previously positioned humans as natural rulers are then reinterpreted so that humans can relate to nature. As a result, emerging socially-religious social movements aim at raising public awareness of the environment. This socio-religious approach is seen to be quite successful because people still hold or believe in religious dogmas and certain social values. In this case, these religious and social values encourage people to live wholly with nature. (Meike / Ilaria)