Back in 2021, a survey found that 82% of Indonesian voters were aware of climate change and its severity. Fast forward to 2023, concerns for the environment in Indonesia have evolved from awareness to activism. As Indonesia’s 2024 general elections looms closer, green voters are poised to capture political momentum and develop a substantive platform that secures a greener future.
Here are Three Points that you need to know:
- Activism takes center stage: Catapulted through social media, political activism has–at least from a metropolitan perspective–have taken hold of the discourse. Indonesia is currently experiencing a flourish of young activists passionate about the future of Indonesia’s environment. To name a few, Climate Rangers and Teens Go Green represent the voices of youth passionate about sustainability and the environment.
- As interest grows, political parties pander: Although Indonesia’s Green Party (PHI) is unable to join the Indonesian general elections, it seems that parties have taken note of a more climate conscious electorate in Indonesia. Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle’s (PDIP) Chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri has reminded regional leaders to allocate attention to global warming and Golkar Party Chairman and Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto underlined the importance of young party cadres to face climate issues.
- Ultra Conservatism and Climate Change: The utilization of public disruption as a form of activism or campaign for climate changes is not uncommon, with organizations such as Extinction Rebellion (XR) calling for a campaign of “civil disobedience” last month. However, recent analysis has shown that further steps might be taken by ultraconservative organizations that hope to develop a narrative which points to the cause of climate change as a result of ‘secular’ capitalistic ideology that needs to be replaced in favor of a global caliphate.
The convergence between a young political voting bloc that consists of 54% of the Indonesian population, diverse religious values as well as continued interest in technology and artificial intelligence will not only make the next Indonesian general elections interesting, but also consequential.
From this, the next steps are wide open for green voters:
First, civil society needs to take charge and provide a concrete manifesto that addresses pertinent issues on climate change. This can be impactful since political parties are setting up more targeted campaign platforms.
Second, youth coalition building is key in ensuring that a wide range of voices are heard. In addition, developing a youth coalition for green voters will formalize leverage when engaging with political parties to take climate change seriously.
Mudslinging and backbiting has been the hallmark of Indonesian politics, but if young people are able to use their influence towards the political process, it can set a precedent which will not only bring environmental issues to the frontline but raise the discourse of civic engagement.
Raafi Seiff – Tenaga Ahli Kebijakan dan Advokasi