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Sustainable Indonesia Batik From Mangrove: A CarbonEthics and Dompak Communities Collaboration

Batik is one of many cultural inheritances found in Indonesia’s wonderland. The batik in each region in Indonesia has distinctive meaningful patterns and colors, making it a medium of storytelling that can represent local wisdom. As a highly developed art form of Indonesia's heritage, UNESCO (the United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) declared Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on October 2, 2009.


Inspired by the uniqueness and diversity of the batik pattern across Indonesia, the Dompak island's coastal communities pursue the creation of their own local batik naturally and sustainably by utilizing extracted dead mangrove bark as natural batik dye. The specific type of mangrove used in this instance is Rhizophora mucronata mangrove (bakau hitam).


Mangroves have sentimental value for the coastal people in Dompak. There is a fascinating local history of mangroves acting as shields that protected the Dompak's coastal people during pirate invasions. This historical event then inspired the creation of batik to preserve the heritage to tell the heroic stories of mangrove ecosystems to the future generation.


The creation of the mangrove batik involves a collaboration between CarbonEthics Creative Economy Group members, the CarbonEthics community development team, Lembaga Adat Melayu Kepulauan Riau Kecamatan Bukit Bestari, and the local government.

Their collaborations transformed the historical narrative into three mangrove batik patterns: Tudung Saji, Buah Brembang, and Kapal Jong. The Tudung Saji pattern means protecting tribes, cultures, customs, and local cultural habits. The Buah Berembang pattern means persistent and persevering in living one’s life's journey amidst challenges and circumstances. And the Kapal Jong pattern implies that life is all about continuing to walk on the path toward achieving our desired goals.

The CarbonEthics Creative Economy Group members conducted the mangrove batik process in CarbonEthics "Rumah Rendah Karbon" (Low Carbon House) in Dompak island.


The sustainable mangrove batik generates positive impact to the coastal communities. It educates the communities regarding innovative ways to conserve mangrove ecosystems while encouraging them to utilize mangroves to increase their livelihoods and live a sustainable life.


The mangrove batik process also applies inclusivity and gender equality. Data retrieved by CarbonEthics Community Development Team concluded that women's participation in the process of mangrove batik is at 67%, resulting in increased participation in the economic sector.


Dompak mangrove batik is acknowledged by several Tanjung Pinang governments, such as the Department of Environmental Services (Dinas Lingkungan Hidup), the Department of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanan), the Department of Cooperatives, Small & Medium Enterprises (Dinas Koperasi & UKM), the Department of Women's Empowerment, Child Protection, Community Empowerment (Dinas Pemberdayaan Perempuan, Perlindungan Anak Dan Pemberdayaan Masyarakat), and Universitas Maritim Raja Ali Haji, and Tanjungpinang National Tourism Association.


The inception of Dompak’s mangrove batik is not merely about the preservation of Indonesia’s delicate beauty (both the heritage and natural resources); it entails the spirit of empowerment and hope for coastal communities that lies in the strength and generosity of a particular species in the blue carbon ecosystem— the mangroves.

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