Freedom and Climate Change Workshop in Manado, the North of Indonesia

Green clove and coconut trees which form a contrast to the Bunaken marine blue sea in the distance, welcome the visitor before the plane lands at the Sam Ratulangie airport, Manado, North Sulawesi.

For three days Friedrich Naumann Stiftung für die Freiheit in cooperation with the Jakarta-based Freedom Institute and a local partner, a group of students from Manado, held a workshop on Climate Change with the theme, “Freedom and the Politics of Climate Change,” on 27-29 April 2012 in Manado, North Sulawesi.

Twenty-six university students from North Sulawesi’s city of Manado and nearby towns with diverse backgrounds of activism (campus journalists, youth organization leaders, community workers, church- and mosque activists) participated in the workshop. The venue was the four-star Hotel Santika at the northern coast of the city just across the Bunaken Island, a famous diving site. The hotel was about an hour drive from the city center, quite remote a place for a three-day workshop.

The topic explored during this workshop was on the link between “Freedom and Climate Change Politics”. The general objectives were to get participants to look at the controversial global issue of climate change from the perspective of freedom, to make the students acquainted with mainstream positions on climate change issues and politics, to get them to relate climate change to the local context and problems, and finally to get them to learn for themselves how the principles of freedom should be the underlying perspective when it comes to the protection of the environment. As expert resource person we invited the Head of the Observation and Analysis Department of the Meteorology and Climatology Station in Manado Mr. Wandayantolis to present what the station has gathered as evidence of climate change and its impact in the region.

The workshop built on those aspects of climate change stressed by experts belonging to the mainstream – that carbon dioxide is the main culprit of global warming looking at this aspect both from a scientific and political side, the systematic global efforts to stabilize the earth climate as expressed in international conventions and conferences (we distributed a summary of milestones of global efforts to tackle climate changeover the last decades), the considerable resources poured into the efforts, how freedom of speech and research sometimes are trampled upon in the debate on climate change and how the students should look at these issues if they adopt a liberal view (for example, focusing on how Indonesians can play a role in protecting the environment through using liberal instruments with or without global warming being the main policy concern).

All learning activities and inputs by facilitators (from Freedom Institute and FNF) were conducted through methods encouraging active participation of students.

On the third day before the closing, facilitators wrapped up the workshop by circulating and reading out handouts. One was Bertrand Russell’s (a British philosopher) “Liberal Decalogue” which sets out how Liberals should deal with each other while another handout focused on liberal principles of environmental public policy (property rights, rule of law, believe in human ingenuity, open debate, market economy, etc). Finally, each participant got the chance to choose one of the liberal principles and defend it in a forum by providing brief but effective arguments why his favored principle would be the most effective way to protect the environment. In this contest one group won a book on liberalism written by Ludwig von Mises and another group won a collection of liberal and libertarian essays by Rizal Mallarangeng, the executive Director of Freedom Institute.

Several local media also reported about the workshop as can see from the link:

http://beritamanado.com/agama-pendidikan/95510/95510/

http://jurnalpatrolinews.com/2012/05/01/manusia-harus-bertanggung-jawab-atas-perubahan-iklim/

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