Focus SR 44th Edition

Learn From the Woman to be Friendly  and Save the Nature

By : AD. Kusumaningtyas


Perhaps there is an answer

Why the disaster happened on my land 

May God getting tired of seeing our behavior 

Who is always wrong and proud of our sins

Or nature reluctant to make friends with us 

Let us ask to the swaying grass
( News to friend by Ebit G. Ade )

A chorus couplet of legendary song created by a musician Ebit G. Ade is still very popular and reflective in the people’s mind. Especially if we witnessed a variety of disasters and the destruction of the nature which going on around us. Some people think that it is a fate from the God. However, on the other hand a lot of sight seeing that its human error, naturally systemic. 

The condition of our environment lately is getting more terrible. The government has alternated, but however, they see the problems of the earth where we stand in various ways. The flood comes almost every year even it swamp the capital city, but many officials and the party’s leaders which they make as political commodification with a various shortly assistances and highlighted by the camera light or television. On the other hand, the news and infotaintment often mention that the figure A involved in illegal logging, figure B involved in the trading of the forest management rights, figure C become a mastermind of a mining operations without permission and endangered the public. The emergence bursts thermal mud in Sidoarjo region of east java which related to the one’s of a paty leader’s enterprise, lead to the polemics in the news regarding this situation whether it caused by “ human error “ in managing the environtment, or this situation arise as a new form of natural disaster. Thus came the term of Lapindo Thermal Mud, Sidoarjo Mud, or growing in this polemic. Even later, in the other region the phenomenon of the burst thermal mud also occurs in the geothermal area in Mataloko village, district Golewa, regency Ngada, NTT. 

Actually, environtmental changes phenomenon and the natural environment around us is something undoubtedly. Yet, which need to be the question is how much is the human effort to manage and preserve or how far they take a part in creating the environment harm ? How does the human life philosophy in treating the universe ? How does the pattern of human relationships that built between the male and female also reflecting a balance with nature ? How if there is a change ecosystems and lifestyle? What are the values ​​that have shifted and how they cope with this? Does it have impact in the their relation each other and their relation with the nature ? And who will get the greatest impact of the destruction ? 

The Phenomenon of Natural Destruction Nowadays 

In the middle of this rainy season, through the news in some television stations almost everyday we are served by many kinds of news about disasters. For example, the eruption of Sinabung volcano, North Sumatra, or flood that swamp Jakarta and the surrounding areas such as Tangerang and Bekasi, as well as in others places like in Manado, Tomohon, Subang, Karawang, Indramayu, Pati, and other regions. Answering the question of why the flood often swamp in Jakarta ? Spontaneously we will find various answer as “ the intens of rainfall “, flood from Bogor “. However, let us observe more honestly, up to now, there are still many people who aggravate the situation by throwing the rubbish in the river. In other places, maybe the situation is the same. But the land conversion, landslide, rising of the sea water, along the coast also lead to the main factor. Besides that, the competent authorities often break the regulations about spatial, easily the competent authorities give the permission to the developers who build malls in the city, hotels, or apartments which are often unequipped with the waterways, feasible with the proper drainse system also taken places in the river bank.

In the upper of the river, such as in Puncak, Bogor it is so easy to find villas, hotels, resorts, or luxury housing which built by ignoring the surrounding environmental management system. While, flash flood like in Manado caused by forest and small rivers surounding area and the  destruction of the catchments area because of the city developing recklessly caused some rivers in the area no longer able to withstand the water and compoundedly because of the tide of sea water. (1)

Actually, flod in the rainy season, or drought in the dry season, also related to the climate changes. Climate changes mean significant alteration in the climate, such as air temperature or rainfall, during the period of 30 years or more. If the climate changes, so the climate rates during 30 years air temperature or the rainfall, or the days of the sun shining, will change too.(2) The climate changes is now caused by various human activities, for example; extraction of fossil fuel in a large scale ( coal,petroleum,and natural gas ), the changing of the land use ( land clearence for logging, livestock and farming ) and consumerism.(3) The climate changes also triggered by what we called as “ global warming “, it means the the increase of Earth’s average surface temperature due to effect of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels or from deforestation, which trap heat that would otherwise escape from Earth. The temperature rise changes the climate, lead to the changes in weather patterns that can cause unusual increase of rainfall, the ferocity of the wind, ans the storm even the disaster which resulting many victims.(4)

Physically, we see that our forests are getting more damaged, the rivers are contaminated, rice fields changes to settlements, air pollution caused by large emissions of carbon occurs in big cities which common with congestion also filled up with dirty air. Plastics polliting the soil, while vegetables quality are no longer good because of contaminated by pesticides. And the destruction of this nature affected to the declining quality of human life.

Probably, we never imaged in our minds that the polluted environment also polluting our food which we eat, even ation that consumed by babies. Control Office of Environmental Impact Areas in Jakarta had conducted a study in 2001 which stated that mothers in the suburbs having ation contents of plumbum 10 – 30 ug per kilogram. Not only the fetus in the inthe womb that threatened of loosing quality of intelegence, but also the children in the future growth. Tin or plumbum lead to pollute vegetables and fruits that consumed by the children. A few years ago United Nations Environmental Programme ( UNEP ) has placed Jakarta as the third of polluted city in the world after Mexico and Bangkok. Can be imagined how worst the threat of pollutions and gas emissions this metropolis.(5) Meanwhile, another story told by Ni Luh Kartini, a researcher from Environmental Education Center Denpasar in 1998, a year after she had achieved doctorate in Padjadjaran University Bandung. Kartini, who liked to play in the ricefield and drank the water in the ricefield’s small river in her childhood, when she was pregnant her third child, she deliberately check some of her ation to be examined in the laboratory. Evidently, there is pollutants ( residual pesticides ) in her ation though not up to 20 %. Worries about the dangers of pesticides towards ation raised again by the time of the general consensus in Parliament Province of Bali, Denpasar. The deliberation held in conformity with the United Nations conference about climate changes which held in Nusa Dua, from early to the middle of this month. Agricultural microbiologists Udayana University, Denpasar, suggests some ation in all around the world has contaminated by pesticides. In the world, there is much report of pesticides contamination in ation. In 1990s, for example, found 83 % ation samples contaminater by dieldrin. Then 61 % ation contains heptochlor epoxide pesticides. Therefore, to avoid the baby from contaminated ation by pesticides, then he asked that the friendly environmental farming system and free of pesticides should be prioritized.(6)

Environmental damage also influenced by lifestyle. On of them is the habit of using toilet paper after urinating and defecating, which gives negative impact to the environment. An article issued in the Tissue World magazine edition June-July last 2010, stated that using water is better tha tissue. The article’ writer who is also an activist of American Environment , Noelle Robbins, in his writing entitled “ Cleaning with Water, A Better Alternative Flushing Forest”, mentioned that american lifestyle who always using tissue caused the severe environment damage at the world’s forest ecosystem. Based on a research, 54 million tree trunk from the forests of developing countries were cut to produce 3,2 million ton toilet tissue. He also claimed that asian flushing ways is more friendly to the environment. The opinion he expressed based on a fact that the process of making each roll of tissue needs 140 liters of water or 37 gallons. Everyday , the people in America use 57 pieces toilet tissue which is the same as 3,7 gallons per day. Then, it compares with the habit of Asian flushing ways using water. In one flushing usually only need 0,03 gallons of water. The number is certainly much different if it compares to the process of making toilet tissue. 

The Impact of Environmental Damage : Who Becomes More Victims ?

Some of the data above shows that environment pollution has impact to the women’s reproduction life by ation polluted and further is the decreasing of quality life next generation. But, if we examine more deeply, the disaster is often in woman face. Why ? In the refugees’ tents, crowded with women, elderly, and their children. When the flood hits, many women still lagging in their houses because they have to take care of the family treasure and their children, as well as still having difficulties related to the tasks of reproduction. Many women who had old pregnant, having difficulties in taking the rubber boat while they were evacuated. As well as the women having babies, besides struggling to save herself, should ensure that the children can be saved, swift water from or cold weather. 

The minister empowerment women and children protection, Linda Amalia Sari Gumelar while giving the speech in the celebration of International girls day in 2003 in Jakarta, said that in the disaster conditions women and girls are very vulnerable become victims because they can not save themselves. In the disaster condition which often occurs in Indonesia, girls often contribute to help their family by taking care of the kitchen, such as finding the water and cooking. So it makes them do not have time to follow the lessons in the refugee tent. In usual conditional they are discriminated, especially in the disaster condition.(8)

The same analysis also disclosed in a writing of one delegation from Down to Earth who has joined the third conference of women in politics and governance which presented the topic “ Gender and Adaptation to Climate Changes and Reduction of Disaster Risk “ in Manila in 2008. In the conference disclosed that during 1975 – 2006 natural disasters are often occurs and suspected 80 % from the disasters such as flood, drought, storm, and so on which directly related to the climate changes. The impact of climate change will be different in each country, territory, generation, community level, occupation, gender, age, and income. From 1975 – 2006 the most disasters occured in the continent of Asia. From the group which vulnerable to the disasters 3,4 million people were from poor community and vulnerable, as children, indigenous people, farmers, and fishermen. In every disaster, both from the impact of climate changes or not, apparently claimed woen victims which has the greater amount than men by comparison of 4 : 1. The result of analysis found by London School of Economic ( LSE ) towards the disasters occured in 141 countries assumed that the difference of victims amount resulted from disasters related to the economics rights and social women. Wnen the women’s rights does not get the protection, then the amount of victim women will be greater than men.(9)

Understand the Concept of Ecofeminism

Chipko movement in India needs to be an important learning from the women movement and local community in struggling forest protection and environment. Shobita Jain in “ Standing Up For Trees: Women’s Role in The Chipko Movement “ recorded the women’s stories in saving their forests. Initially, Chipko movement pioneered by Chandi Prasad Bhatt, a social worker that adheres to the teachings of Mahatma  Gandhi which form group named Dasholi Gram Swarajya Mandal ( DGSM ) in Chamoli district which in 1973 opposed the establishment of Symonds sports equipments company which officed in Allahabad. The company cut the trees for purpose of making tennis rackets, thus, provoking public reaction continuously beating the drums and yelled the slogans which forced the contractor and the loggers retreat. Bhatt also invited the people to hug the trees as a trick to save the forest. 

Female action “Hugging the kejhri tree“ also inspired Vandana Shiva, a women and environment activist, to always defend towards women an environment. Her persistence made Shiva received some awards, such as : Livelihood Award, Alternative Nobel Award, International Earth Day Award and globe 500 Award. Shiva herself, is known as a pioneer of female movement for saving the environment or “ ecofeminism “. (11)

Ecofeminism is a movement that emerged among female in all parts of the world fron various professions as a result of injustice towards women who always related to the nature.(12) Ecofeminism analyzes the environment problems by using Feminit Analysis. Feminist assesses the root of the problem, impact and especially occurs in the vurnerable group as women and how are the women against or struggling defend their sources of life. Up to now, environment and natural resources management have not seen from the women’s point of view. Culture and development models,which by patriarchy has eliminated the women’s  sovereignty in managing the natural wealth and has a role as a family food guard and the community. It leads to the women’s view to their life become hazy, can not be understood either by men or the women themselves. ( 13)

Ecofeminism as a variant view of ecological ethics firstly raised by Francois d’Eaubonne in “ Le Feminisme Ou La Mort “ in Paris, France ( 1974 ) which explicitly describes that there is a close relationship between the oppression towards women and oppression to the nature. The linkages reachcultural realm,economic, social, even politics.(14) Francois suggested that ecofeminism has more values because it is not only focus on the subordination of women, but also subordination of natural environment below human’s interest. So the ecofeminisme at once criticized the pillars of modernism. 

Meanwhile, other figure, Karen J. Warren extends the discussion about ecofeminism in some ways. The first, the important linkages occurs between oppression to the nature and oppression to the environment. The second, the understanding of nature is very important to gain an understanding of oppression towardswomen and to the nature. The third, the theory and practice of feminism should include ecological perspective. The fourth, the problem solving problem on ecology should include feminism perspective. The whole points above have great influence to the natural safety.(15) 

Ecofeminism also born based on a condition where the earth described as a mother has been exploited, looted, and destructed by capitalist system which perpetuate patriarchal culture and feudalism in the practices of colonialism undertaken. Ecofeminism born to answer the needs of earth saving based on women’s special characteristics who have knowledge sa far to preserve the environment and manage the natural resources sustained. (16)

The Inspiring Women 

Various awareness is also present in the minds of many mowen. They do not just complaining “apprehensive“ in looking t the condition for the environment condition that has been like this. They have delivered many real works. Just to mention a few names, there were some women who have received Kalpataru award for their effort in saving the environment. Such as Erni Suarti from Riau, receiver in category of environment pacemaker of Kalpataru in 2007 who succeed in making organic fertilizer, Nyi Eroh from West Java, receiver of environment pacemaker of Kalpataru 1988, because the poor woman of Santara Mekar village, Cisayong, Tasikmalaya successfully made waterways by cutting the rock cliff which succeed watering 75 acres ricefields, Titik Tarwati, from East Java received Kalpataru in category servent of the environment in 2003 because her activity in greening of the degraded land and developing of terracing, and Joylita Wahyu Mumpuni, also from East Java receiver of Kalpataru in 2004 as pacemaker of environment because she succeed utilizing water hyacinth plants for materials craft, compost and paper. 

Actually, there are still many other names besides their initiative in saving the environment, also empower the community. For example; Erna Witoelar who established WALHI, WWF-Indonesian Foundation, Kehati Foundation, sustainable development Foundation, which focused in the efforts of saving the environment. Emmy Hafild who had got title “ Hero of The Planet “ from Time magazine, started his lunge as an environment activist since in Indonesian Green Foundation, WALHI, or Green Peace southeast Asia. Besides, Siti Muthmainnah from JATAM who together other women performed environmental advocate in the mining area. 

There are other names that should be referred as initiators for the saving environment or initiating a movement conducted by the women to save the environment. She is Aleta Baun, a mother from Nusa Tenggara Timur, received award of Goldman Environmental Prize in 2013 for her merit in the nature conservation. Interesting, remember the woman by the communityknown by nick name Mama Aleta, protested forest encroachment or mining marble stone mining in the stone mountain of Anjaf and Nasus, with the philosophy that eliminating the names in the stone eliminating the identity of east people. Meanwhile, if the forests destroyed and the stone mined, then the water will disappear whereas they are heavily dependent their life from the springs to watering their farming or the forest as source of food. Therefore, Mama Aleta peacefully occupied the places of marble mining by the action that callecalling d “ protest while weaving “.(17)

Meanwhile, in the land of Papua a woman from Amungme tribe named Yosepha Alomang or well-known by Mama Mama Yosepha, fight against freeport that considered has robbed the land of Amungme people in Agimuga, Papua. Yosepha was also very angry because freeport always imports the vegetables and fruits to comply the needs of the workers, and totally ignore the result of agricultural community which should be use to support their life.  Besides, when a hole of mining collapse in the mined by the Grasberg own by freeportand killed 9 of mining workers, Yosepha proclaim called back to the freeport stop its operasional in Indonesia, because it is regarded to be factors of accident and the natural destruction on a large scale.(18)                                                              

While, from the islam boarding school, the gait from Nissa Wargadipura whose on her  eveday life nurturing Ath-Thariq Islamic boarding school in Garut, need to be emulated. Besides using the model “ liberating education “ and learning of the sacred yellow book in her islamic boarding school, Nissa introduced idea about food sovereignty in the islamic boarding school and the surrounding communities. The Islamic school educated the students who live in the boarding school consuming the food ( especially carbohydrate ) not only rice, but also corn, taro, gadung, cassava, and breadfruit. Indonesia is very rich, it has many kinds of local food which enable to fulfill domestic food needs. The students of this islamic boarding school also taught to do the friendly environmentally activities such planting the hard trees which characteristics in holticultural crops enable to produce, management of kitchen waste and plastics, making compost from their own environment, planting organic vegetables, and do not use “women sanitary napkins“ produced by factory. (19)

Islam Spirit of The Management and Saving the Environment

One of the commands from Allah swt regarding of the human presence is to be Khalifatullah ( vice gerent ) ih His earth. The mandate present bacause of Allah’s fate, although previously it was opposed by the angels as translation from Quran chapter al Baqarah : verse number 30 stated that : “ Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: I will create a vice gerent on earth.” They said: “ Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood ? Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy ( name ) ?” He said: “ I know what ye know not “. ( Quran, Al Baqarah : 30 ).

Allah swt. surely knows the human capacity that He ceated, which has the potential to fujuur or righteousness. Predicting that the human potentially to damage the environment, there is the word of Allah “ Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of ( the meed ) that the hands of men have earned. That ( Allah ) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back ( from Evil ) “ ( Quran, Ar Ruum: 41 ). Therefore, in the other verse in Quran. Al-A’raf (7) : 56, Allah confirms, “ Do not mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order, but call on Him with fear and longing ( in your hearts ): for the Mercy of Allah is ( always ) near to those who do good”. 

Meanwhile, the teaching about maintenance of the nature is also mentioned in the hadith of Rasulullah saw. One who plants a tree, will make the thing charity for narrated in the translation in following hadith : “ A moslem does not grow a plant except what which be eaten from the plant become alms for him. What which be stolen from the plant become alms for him. What which be eaten by wild animals become alms for him. What which be eaten by the birds become alms for him. And no other people take the benefits ( from the tree ) except become alms for the planter. …..”(Hadith Muslim from Ibnu Numair).

The various texts above are actually need to become spirit for us in implementing mandate of Allah swt. to maintain, nurture, and preserve the nature. Spirit that may also inspire KH. Ali Yafie to initiates idea of Environment Fiqh. During the time, there are five of life components which should be kept by whole human, namely hifzhu al-nafs ( keep the soul ), hifzhu al-aql ( keep the mind ), hifzhu al-maal ( keep the treasure ), hifzhu al-nasl ( keep the offspring ), and hifzhud diin ( keep the faith ); KH. Ali Yafie also emphasized the importance of hifzhu al-bi-ah ( preserve the environment ). Remembering that preserving the environment is for the sake of human life.(20)

The idea of protecting the environment, or more specifically for example is keeping the cleanliness also often echoed in mahfuzhat or arabian proverb. “ Al-nazhafatu min al-iiman”. The cleanliness is part of the faith. This proverb is very popular in Islamic boarding school, decorate the Islamic school, mosques. However, honestly we need to reflect whether this time we have implemented it seriously ? Prohibition of urinating anywhere in the flowing water which called as excrement (defiling filth in Islam ) or under the trees, are actually the teaching of not to pollute and damage the nature. Another example in implementing the hajj worship, one who performs Ihram is prohibited to uproot, prohibited to kill the animals. It is clearly the implementation of the basic teaching described previously. there is only training, and the good habits should be implement continuously in the daily life of the communities. 

Start from the Simple Things

What can we do as a form of contribution in maintaining, treating, and preserving the environment ? if we do not have capability to organize as Chipko Movement in India,Mama Aleta Baun in NTT, Mama Yosepha in Papua, it doesn’t mean that we can not do anything ? For any changes towards something better, there are many texts of Islam which emphasize to Ibda’ binafsik. Start out from ourselves, through effort in changing our perspective and behavior. And it can be started by instilling good habits in our daili life. 

Using water sufficiently, turning off the water tap after using it to avoid wasting the water, turning off the lights and Air conditioner if it’s not used, dispose the waste in its place, no smoking in any places, those are simple habits which we can implement. If we can do continuously and consistently as our habits, it will be easier for us to implement those habits to the others. Our children, colleagues in the workplace, students, Islamic students, women in a place for their studying, and others will immitate the habits because we have already been uswatun hasanah (role model) in many ways. The next step, learning and inculcating new habits to do 3 R ( reduce, reuse, recycle )

The notion of waste bank is rampant in many cities. One of them is the movement of zakat, charity, alms, waste dedication initiated by Prapti Wahyuningsih with her green school called Sekolah Hijau Lestari in Bandung. She invite the surrounding people to alms through waste household goods ( coffee, soap,toothpaste, instant noodles package, plastic bags, and plastic rope ) and more or to recycle become crafts, such as wallet, bag, sajada, and so on. The effort in processing organic waste become compost, and many other initiatives also done and need to be instanced in order to be able to make the waste surrounding have usage values.(21) An effort which also done by Neng Hannah and her friends in RESIC which accompanying the community of scavengers.(22)

Some traditions and good habits which formerly implemented by Dasawisma PKK, such as encourage family medical plants, for example turmeric, ginger, saffron, galangal, bay leaves, cat whiskers plant and so on in our garden can be planted again. Other effort can be done by utilizing the agricultural modern technology in narrow land, such as planting chili, and tomato by using the system of planting fruit tree in a pot or vertical media such as bamboo and unused pipe. The effort of Nissa Wargadipura in restoring “ food sovereignty “, supposed a realistic step to be taken and to be expanded. 

Besides for the pragmatic reason “saving” in case of continously  raising the food price, surely it is also our effort to preserve our surrounding environment. Insyaallah those all will bring in benefit for ourselves,family,neighbour, or the surrounding  people. A spirit to realize human’s benefit. {} AD.Kusumaningtyas


End Notes

  1. Look at the writing entitled Manado Flood 2014, as quoted fro the site
  2. Look at, ( accessed 20 January 2014, at 14.55 p.m )
  3. Look at accessed 20 January 2014 at 15.00 p.m
  4. Sorce is taken from the site, accessed 20 January 2014 at 15.15. WIB
  5. Look at the article entitled Pencemaran Udara Ancam IQ Anak posted by Tosca Green, as accessed from the site, accessed 20 January 2014 at 15.30 p.m
  6. Look at the article entitled If the  ASTIO Contaminated ny Pesticides, written by Aries Kelana and Elmy Diah Larasati in health part, Gatra number 7 issued Thursday,27 December 2007, as downloaded from!msg/milis-mediacare/NxtAWT19LMY/Oieq_-CXsJ.,accessed 25 January 2014 at 15.38 p.m
  7. Look at the article entitled Water vs Toilet Tissue, Choose of Which ?, as quoted from the site, accessed on monday 20 January 2014, at 16.10 p.m
  8. As taken from Hasan Ramadhan from Kompas Daily News, 10 October 2013, as quoter from the source, accessed on Monday 20 January 2014 at 16.14 p.m
  9. Look at article entitled Gender in Adaptation of Climate Chenges and Reducing the Risk of Disaster, which resourced in the site :
  10. Source : article in the magazine Historia as quoted from the site :
  11. Look at the article entitled Vandana Shiva dan Chipko Movement, as quoted from the site :
  12. Look at the writing of Tri Marhaeni Pudju Astutientitled Ecofeminisme and the women’s Role in the environment, as quoted from Indonesian Journal of Conservation which downloaded from 
  13. Sorce :
  14. Look at the article entitled Women’s View in Ecology Crisis, written by Anjrah Lelono Broto
  15. Look at back Anjrah Lelono Broto’s writing about Women’s view on ecological crisis.
  16. Look at the wrtiting of Puspa Setianingtyas entitled Ecofeminisme, which is coursework of Gender Study at social science programs, in the Social Science and Economic Faculty of Yogyakarta State University, as quoted from Small Note of Puspa at the site
  17. Look at the writing entitled Aleta Baun, Environment Heroine from NTT as quoted from the site
  18. Sources of :
  19. Look at te writing of Nissa Waradipura entitled Pesantren Ath Thaariq Garut : Struggling from the little Soil, written in the rubric of Jaringan Swara Rahima 41st Edition as quoted from the site
  20. Looked the article entitled Prof. KH. Alie Yafie: Maintaining the Nature is an Obligatory, at Republika, Sunday, 22 June 2008, as quoted from the site
  21. As spoken by Prapti Wahyuningsih during the seminar of Scholar of Islam in Elimination Violence Against Women in Bandung, 27 January 2014 
  22. Look at the info rubric entitled RESIC and Mentoring Mothers Scavengers at TPA Babakan Regency of Bandung in the 44th edition.





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