Rustam Agus, Palu (Bisnis) – The Central Sulawesi branch of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) has declared that pushing for the formation of an alternative political party, namely the Indonesia Green Party, is a move that arose out of an idea and an effort to maximise the protection of the environment and the country’s natural resources.
“It is important for there to be an alternative party, an Indonesian Green Party, to make the politics of the environment the main agenda”, said Walhi Central Sulawesi Executive Director Haris Lapabira in Palu on Thursday July 16.
Lapabira made the statement during a public discussion on building an alternative political party that was held by Walhi in Palu.
Lapabira explained that at a national environmental consolidation meeting (KNLH) which was linked to a people’s gathering in December 2017, Walhi also took part in intervening in electoral politics.
He said however that this is not enough and there is a need for a political party to bring together and consolidate environmental activists.
And back in 1999, he said, a number of environmental activists, including Walhi, formed and registered an Indonesian Green Party to take part in the elections (pemilu). The consolidation on the part of environmental activists however was not large enough yet.
“The cost of [taking part in] a pemilu is so high, it resulted in the Indonesian Green Party failing to take part in the political contest”, he said.
The Indonesian Green Party as an initiative by environmental activists to form an alternative political party was again discussed in 2012 in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung.
This again failed because few groups responded seriously to the idea of building an alternative party, including environmental activists.
The movement to build an alternative party, an Indonesian Green Party, also came out of an initiative by ordinary people in managing their natural wealth, by prioritising existing local knowledge and wisdom, but this was not acknowledged by the state.
Worse still, much local knowledge and wisdom has been destroyed by the machine of modernisation. “This in turn has threatened the sustainability of the people’s sources of livelihood, which has resulted in an ecological crisis”, he said.
Lapabira added that in is in this framework that Walhi is again promoting the idea of building an environmental political force.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Walhi: Perlunya Partai Hijau sebagai Solusi Perlindungan Lingkungan”.]