“Bridging the gap between indigenous youth and the world”-global issues

“In the past two years, the reality of me, you, and many others has changed dramatically. Not overnight, but in a series of global incremental disruptions that began with news of an unknown pneumonia outbreak. Despite all Countries are facing the common threat of a deadly virus, but it is clear that the pandemic has not proved to be a “great equalizer”, because the deep-rooted inequality between North and South in the world determines the way for each country to survive in this era of multidimensional crisis. Some people Win first, some people fall behind.

But the pandemic is only the tip of the iceberg, and it is melting at an alarming rate in today’s period of rapid environmental deterioration. The United Nations, government leaders, civil society organizations, and everyday civilians must solve a wide range of problems: global poverty, environmental degradation, gender inequality, food insecurity, and so on. Focusing on one problem means forgetting the various emergencies and connections that put global problems in the same constellation. Therefore, we face a dilemma: Where do we start?

Last year, my hometown of Jakarta was hit by heavy rains and floods-a symptom of climate change. Large-scale infrastructure projects made the metropolis covered with concrete slabs, making the situation worse. Although I was safe and sound at home, many people were not so lucky and were forcibly displaced. During the pandemic, some people lost important family documents, while others lost their entire homes and even their loved ones. Then I realized that maybe the answer to this question started with any question that felt closest.

It is precisely because young people and I were born in a world where environmental injustice is known to us, and young people play a key role in climate action.

Although the conference did a good job of getting the voices of young people heard, it’s also important to remember who’s voice is represented. Expanding the breadth of youth voice means increasing insight.

Although there are quite a few smart, young climate activists from urban backgrounds in the world, I believe we should thank the indigenous communities for providing alternative views and practices on natural resource management. The United Nations has adopted the “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” to recognize the centrality of traditional indigenous knowledge, but it can and should do more.

In order to bridge the gap between indigenous youth and the world, we can first include indigenous youth on the discussion table and ensure that indigenous youth have access to a wide-ranging platform.

But their participation should not be iconic. Real structural change is needed. Ensuring that indigenous youths have access to basic literacy education has strengthened their ability to communicate with people outside the environment and conveyed their much-needed ideas.

Intercultural exchange programs can also create valuable cultural exchange opportunities between indigenous youth and urban youth, thereby creating opportunities for cooperation. Most importantly, these projects can help clarify environmental justice issues, such as land deprivation and forced displacement that indigenous communities often experience, but urban youth may ignore these issues.

Of course, young people can learn from older people, as long as we are willing to listen. At the end of this letter, I want to share the special wisdom of an Indonesian indigenous activist, Mama Aleta Baun, who is working hard to protect her ancestral land:’batu adalah tulang, air adalah darah, hutan adalah urat nadi, dan tanah adalah daging” , Can be translated as “stone is bone, water is blood, forest is vein, soil is flesh”.

I hope it reverberates in you as it does to me. “

The letter writing competition is organized by the Indonesian United Nations Association. Read the response to this letter from the United Nations Coordinator in Indonesia, Valerie Julliand (Valerie Julliand), here.


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