Updated: Mar 24
From 18-25 March, CarbonEthics’ Community Development and Education teams conducted a climate crisis education workshop for farmers on Dompak Island. Since the beginning of 2021, CarbonEthics has partnered with local farmers in a program called Petani Pesisir Dompak Laut (PPDL), empowering them and providing them with a source of income as mangrove farmers. Dompak island, located in Tanjung Pinang City, Riau Islands Province, is inhabited mostly by fishermen and farmers to support their livelihood.
The education workshop called Selayang Pandang: Climate Crisis Education for Community Farmers aimed to make PPDL farmers aware of not only the economic function of the blue carbon ecosystem, but also to educate them on the climate crisis, and the role blue carbon ecosystems play in fighting climate change.
Ten farmers participated in the program which was held in two sessions. The first session held on March 18, 2022, began by playing an introductory game where participants passed a ball to each other. Whoever received the ball, introduced themselves and answered a reflective personal question: If you were born again in this world to become an animal, what would you be? Some of the farmers’ answers included a snake, a tiger, two birds, a spider, a grizzly bear, an ant, and many more!
After the icebreaker activity, the participants did a pre-knowledge assessment whereby the CarbonEthics team asked the farmers “What pops up first in your mind” when they heard words related to climate and blue carbon such as mangrove, sea, coral, seagrass, seaweed, climate, and others. As these are some of the important elements of blue carbon ecosystems this helped the educators grasp the farmers’ current understanding of the ecological function of coastal ecosystems. Some answers were surprising, for example, when the CarbonEthics team mentioned mangroves, some answers were: ecosystem, habitat, place where fishes mate, economy, strength, and even life!
The second session was held on March 23, 2022. The CarbonEthics team handed out a pamphlet created by the Education team with information about climate change, greenhouse gas, the impact of climate change on Dompak Island, and actions Dompak islanders can do to tackle climate change. Farmers took turns reading the pamphlet out loud together, pausing to discuss new or unfamiliar concepts such as greenhouse gas & the greenhouse effect, and translating certain words from Indonesia, to the local language.
After reading the pamphlet, the CarbonEthics educators found that the farmers already have a good understanding of climate change. Most farmers had at least a primary education, where they had learned about climate science, and one was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in college.
Through informal discussions outside the training session, the CarbonEthics team got another perspective about climate change from the local farmers. Many farmers believe there is a spiritual connection between what happens in the environment. For example, if extreme weather or a natural disaster occurs, it is because someone in the village committed a sin, therefore they will receive bad karma 40 hastas (1 hasta = 1 meter) from the place where the sin occurred.
The takeaway from the educational program is that our farmers who are on the front lines of the fight to mitigate climate change, hold a unique mixture of modern scientific knowledge with local wisdom and beliefs. Furthermore, it is clear that farmers learn best when there’s fun, games, and storytelling mixed in with education. CarbonEthics will return to Dompak Island in July to continue the Selayang Pandang climate education workshop for our PPDL farmers!