When we talk about living in harmony with nature, we will encounter two main streams: modernity and locality. In one hand, modernity demands us to follow the unstoppable development of technology and on the other hand locality, which requires us to maintain local wisdom that has existed in communities for generations. The clash between the two is inevitable. We cannot put modernity first and put aside locality and vice versa. Local traditions cannot reject modernity, and modernity will always encounter locality.
Governments are develop the infrastructure of a country with the aim for national development to create jobs and increase economic growth. Therefore, modernity and locality are not things to be contested but used wisely for the welfare of a society.
In every development program, the common good is the primary reason for progress, in which no part of a society should be neglected. The common good must be in accordance with the ideals of the community and their local wisdom. The participation of local communities is one of the keys to success in development. The society has to be the subject and the object of the development itself.
Looking at Indonesia
Every local community has its own wisdom that has been inherited from generation to generation. This local wisdom can be spotted in their culture, religion and their lifestyle. One of them is living in harmony with nature. This harmony is a living principle that sees nature not as an object but as a subject. Nature becomes an integral part of human life itself. Respecting nature means respecting life itself.
National development depends on the availability of natural resources. If natural resources cannot be preserved accordingly, we will run out of resources and natural disaster is inevitable. Lately we are experiencing an uncertain climate change and environmental pollution which is caused by the massive exploitation of nature on the grounds of national development.
Environmental pollution tends to increase. It has a major impact on a series of disasters in different parts of the world. This, then opens our eyes to the importance of environmental management in synergy with industrialization (the so-called environmentally friendly industry). The urgency of saving our earth from destruction awakens a collective awareness on the importance of maintaining an environmental balance. Economic growth and environmental balance must be synergized so that nature is not only considered as a resource to be exploited.
At the beginning of this article I have mentioned the culture of life in harmony with nature, which will only be a mere slogan if it is not becoming a collective awareness. All parties, whether it is the governments, business actors or society, must have the shared vision to maintain nature.
As a law maker, the government has the right and even the responsibility to make rules that are in favor of environmental preservation. The government should not justify any means without looking at the availability of natural resources, in their effort to increase national development. In many places, the development is done blindly without considering the impact on the environment. Corruption is definitely one of the factors why development is happening without further review and consideration – of the common good and our nature. A great obstacle especially in Indonesia.
But not just the government is to blame. The developer too, should have a vital role in the preservation of nature. A strong commitment should be made to take care of our mother land. One of the positive examples is the emerging trend of “green marketing”. This is a movement where people are expected to sell or produce environmentally friendly goods.
The lack of involvement of the community into the development process has made them ignorant and hence irrespective of the surrounding circumstances. The society that should be the subject of the development has turned into the object of the development itself. The voices of the people must always be heard because they have been living in the same place for generations and will have a direct impact on the development process itself. In many places we can witness the negative impacts experienced by people living around industrial areas such as water, soil, and air pollution.
Collective awareness becomes a key element for the preservation of nature. Massive development lately, especially in Bali, has a significant impact on environmental sustainability. Many areas that are supposed to be green are now turned into industrial areas. Beautiful beaches are turned into restaurant and hotels. If we can’t ensure a well-thought-through and sustainable development plan, we will destroy our nature.
The biggest stumbling block
As a local, in some degree, I appreciate the government’s efforts to improve national development. But there is a fundamental question we need to reflect on together, which is “whether the development is in line with the awareness to preserve nature”. Given the diminution of our natural resources, every stake holder has to be made responsible to find better and more sustainable solutions to protect our mother earth. Many rules and regulation have been made in regards to the preservation of nature but no one seems to care about them. Weak law enforcement in Indonesia becomes the biggest stumbling block for the preservation of nature.
What will happen to our nature in the year to come? Will we continue to destroy our earth for the sake of our greediness? We have to awaken our consciousness and act more responsible to protect the nature. This should be a serious concern of ALL parties. Our awareness of preserving nature shouldn’t be bargained with money. Modern lifestyle does not justify any means. Local wisdom needs to be the main concern in any decision making so that cultural values do not just disappear. This is a call to develop a life of harmony with nature so we can retain our earth the way we know it!