350 Indonesia’s End-of-Year SWITCH! Rally
These are the behind-the-scenes stories of the rally for the “SWITCH! Liberation from Fossil Fuel Addiction” campaign, written by Mega Aisyah Nirmala and Letsu Vella Sundary, the local 350 Indonesia organized based out of Jogjakarta City. And again, special thanks to Susan Kim for her great help with the editing.
350 Indonesia’s End-of-Year SWITCH! Rally
It was 2 PM and I was on my way to the 350 Jogjakarta base camp to get things prepared. The rain was falling heavily. Today was December 30, 2012, and it would be a big day for 350 Jogjakarta. Four PM would see the start of our very first public rally in Jogjakarta, a city known for its education and culture.
A couple of minutes later, I had arrived at our base camp and found nobody there. I became worried, what if people didn’t show up for the launch of the rally?
But after a few moments, one person arrived to wash away my worries. The rain didn’t seem to want to stop, but that didn’t stop people from showing up, one by one. I was amazed that people were still willing to come and show their support in the midst of all this rain.
Finally, 4 PM came around, and about forty of us were ready to deliver our message to our society and government. We walked over to the busiest intersection in Jogjakarta, referred to as Zero Kilometer, and unfolded our banner to deliver our campaign message: stop fossil fuel addition and SWITCH into renewable energy.
While some of us kept the banner unfurled, others wore handmade eco-costumes while distributing promotional stickers to the thousands of people in this busy area. From Zero Kilometer, we crossed the street and walked over to Town Square where we continued rallying into the evening.
I was already excited about the rally, but got even more excited when I saw how our group’s enthusiasm didn’t fade away even as the rain kept falling on their heads. The people we were talking to in the city were also receptive and happy to hear about what we were campaigning for.
It might seem like what we did was small, but I’m sure we had a strong start. With 40 people joining us from across various environmental organizations for the rally, the campaign had a great launch in bringing our message about the issue of fossil fuels to local society and the government.
Some reporters showed up, ready to help spread our message to the entire world, let alone the city of Jogjakarta.
At the end of all, I had a flashback to about a week ago when we were all hard at work preparing for the rally and felt amazement at how far we had come. I thought of when we made the recycled eco-costume, when we painted the banner and t-shirts, and making the stickers to be distributed. Yes, we were tired, but our spirits and hopes for a better environment took care of that.
So let’s SWITCH!
Behind the Scenes: 350 Indonesia’s SWITCH Campaign in Jogjakarta City
It was opportune to be able to hold an environmental rally for renewable energy as a follow-up to the 350.org Indonesia Fossil Fuel Campaign Development Workshop from October. At the workshop with green activists in Jogjakarta, we learned about regional and international issues: climate, fossil fuels, renewable energy and campaign development.
The end-of-year December rally was an extension of the SWITCH campaign. We showcased handmade plastic costumes designed by a renowned Indonesian fashion designer, a banner, and hand-painted t-shirts designed by students from the Fine Arts Faculty of the Indonesian Art Institute. The main focus of the rally was to distribute the homemade stickers that would communicate our campaign message: liberation from fossil fuel addiction.
The preparation for this rally was all of one week because of the co-organizer’s schedules as students. But then, the pioneering spirit of the rally took over and gained the support of some partners (GYC, KOPHI, SOPAS, Parkour, and students from local universities). We applied our creativity to this campaign and moved through the preparation as best as we could – we started with a lot of brainstorming.
One of our first thoughts was to hand out stickers wearing attention-grabbing costumes in the centre of Jogjakarta. The goal was to make our message of renewable energy sources approachable to regular citizens of the city.
A collaborating Fine Arts student provided the team with the contact of one of Indonesia’s top fashion designers, Ninik Darmawan, who created costumes with up-cycled plastic. Through the same student we were able to meet a Fine Arts graduate who helped put together the costume with recycled banners. Finally, one day before the rally, the costumes, stickers, posters, and banner were pulled together and ready to go.
One week of non-stop preparation for the campaign resulted in what can only be called a successful event. We succeeded in gathering activists to wear the costumes, hand out stickers, and explain the need for reducing fossil fuel consumption to the people passing by the Zero Kilometer intersection.
The timing was perfect although many of the people involved were newcomers to Jogjakarta looking forward to celebrating the New Year in the city. Zero Kilometer was crowded thanks to a traffic jam. We managed to explain the rally and share the reasoning behind the campaign to the idea to the right target audience. The rally was even covered by media outlets such as Antara, Harian Jogja, Kedaulatan Rakyat Jogja, Demotix.com and Solo Pos.
And just for your information, the volunteers involved with the rally first came together for the preparation of the rally a week before it was held. Together, we found love for Mother Earth and for each other, for sure.
For pictures, please visit http://www.demotix.com/news/1700423/350org-launches-its-switch-campaign-new-energy-policy#media-1700338