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Registration date : 04.08.06

PostSubyek: Green idealists   Sat 16 May - 0:18

Green idealists struggle for sustainable living in Jakarta


For people who opt for an environmentally friendly lifestyle, Jakarta is not only hostile, but also a test ground for perseverance. There is however a growing grass root green movement in the city that is not giving up the fight, despite the difficult circumstances in the city.

Minimum facilities for pedestrians, an unfriendly traffic for non-motorized vehicles such as bicycles, bad public transportation, with long queues and meandering routes, are all quite testing for people who want to reduce their carbon footprints by not using private motor vehicles.

The rampant use of plastic and styrofoam to wrap any kind of food is also quite challenging for green lifestyle adherents wanting to avoid wrappings.

But, however hostile the city is, there are still idealists who will persevere to live an environmentally friendly life that does not harm nature, and hope their actions can bring change to the city's culture.

Community-based green groups in Jakarta have mushroomed in the past few years. Besides GreenLifestyle community, other groups include Bike2Work, a community whose members brave the city traffic and pollution by cycling to work; Jakarta Green Map community, a volunteer-based group producing maps of Jakarta's green areas; Jakarta Greenmonster, a community that works on conserving the city's northern coastal area.

An landscape architect in Jakarta said the city was yet to accommodate sustainable living. But, he chose to live using those principals despite the inconvenience.

It's like the question of the egg and the chicken. Which comes first? If we wait until the city becomes friendly for pedestrians and bikers, it will take a long time.

Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo's comment about building a bicycle lane when the number of cyclists in town reaches one million. I think that would take a very long time. It's better we build a strong community that aspires to a more environmentally friendly city so we can push the administration to change its policy.

In Jakarta, buildings are designed with a space for car drop-offs near entrances, indicating the best way to enter the building is with a car. Vehicles dropping off passengers often block pedestrians. If we want to encourage people to walk, then pedestrian access to buildings should be unhindered.

The idea of sustainable living should be like a virus. When more and more people live and desire the city to be a better place, then it will be easier to attain.
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