Discourses of Non-Formal Pedagogy in Two Youth-Oriented Indonesian Environmental NGOs

  •  Pam Nilan    


This article compares two youth-oriented ENGOs (Environmental Non-Government Organisations) in Indonesia. Comparative analysis focuses on how the two organisations provide discourses that configure differently the pedagogic space of experiential learning for children and young people. Despite an apparent low level of environmental awareness generally among the Indonesian population there does seem to be some enthusiasm for environmental activities among certain groups of young people. However, it seems different kinds of young people are drawn to different kinds of environmental activities. Conceptually, if we accept that there is an imagined space of the nation (Anderson, 1991) we can logically propose an imagined national space of the physical environment. Thus different agents of change will imagine and configure this space differently so that certain kinds of engagement and learning follow. Escobar (1999) points out that what we perceive in the environment as “natural” is always also cultural and social. So for example, transnational logging companies understand the Indonesian forests as a natural resource to be exploited, while student nature-lover groups – Mahasiswa Pencinta Alam – constitute forests as recreational places to camp and walk in nature. This paper examines two ENGOs designed to appeal to young Indonesians: Sahabat Alam – Friends of Nature - founded in 2008 by a 12 year old schoolgirl after Jakarta flooding, and Tanam Untuk Kehidupan – Planting for Life – an arts collective which aims for learning about the environment through creative practices and festivals in Salatiga.

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