Young voices/Indonesia: “Follow the science!”

Hamid Arrum at a climate demonstration

Filed by Oni Sarwono. “Now, the conditions in my village are very different from the past. I have lost the atmosphere from childhood, which was still completely natural”, says Hamid Arrum.

Arrum (25) grew up in a village and used to work on his parents’ small plantation in a mountainous area. His father was an indigenous leader. After finishing his undergraduate study, he chose to work with Orangutan conservation in Sumatra. There are about 800 individuals left of this Orangutan population. The environmental conditions in the area were similar to those he grew up with as a child. He was impressed by the pioneers of preserving the rainforest, the dwelling of the threatened species. “The pioneers are the forest guards, and they must continue protecting and preserving the rain forest.” He also said that the people in those areas of conservation fear “that their area could be changed to become a city”.

According to Arrum, the extinction of species will occur if the temperature rises by 2 degrees. “If many species die, our food will decrease, and we will be hungry, and if we are hungrym conflicts will occur.”

He took part in the Youth Climate Activities group in 2017-2018 and received training through the UN. After this, the members went to educate students in Medan (the capital of Sumatra). There, he says he “educated the students, not like a scientist, but rather sharing or introducing these issues, because not all children in Indonesia, and especially in Sumatra, have heard about climate change. Perhaps my explanation (about climate change) is not too deep, but it is important to explain the issue of species’ extinction and the disaster that would happen because of human carelessness.

As he had been part of the UN training, in 2019 he was invited as one of five representatives from Indonesia to the World Youth Climate program in New York. “Seeing hundreds of young people who brought biodiversity issues from their countries, made me believe that we have a chance to change!” Arrum has a clear message to political leaders: “Follow the science’s calculations. Science presents the facts, and it has been crystal clear. Why do we never recognize it? We have a Paris agreement, why do we not follow the agreement? It there are forest protection regulations in Indonesia, politics must follow. Progress made by scientists must be followed. They have given advice to the world leaders. I’m not an expert, but I follow the science!