Firman Allah SWT

“Telah nampak kerusakan di darat dan di laut disebabkan karena perbuatan tangan manusia, supaya Allah merasakan kepada mereka sebahagian dari (akibat) perbuatan mereka, agar mereka kembali (ke jalan yang benar). Katakanlah: "Adakanlah perjalanan di muka bumi dan perhatikanlah bagaimana kesudahan orang-orang yang terdahulu, kebanyakan dari mereka itu adalah orang-orang yang mempersekutukan (Allah)." (Q.S. Ar-Ruum/30: 41-42)

Rabu, 14 September 2011

Theology and Praxis of Religious Civil Society Organizations in Combating Climate Change in Indonesia*

Ulil Amri
Research Center for Regional Resources, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI)                                             


The issue of climate change does not only catch the attention of states, but also civil society organizations around the world. So far, many organizations have seriously combated the issue. This article depicts how religious civil society organizations in Indonesia has played pivotal role to the country’s effort in combating climate change. There are at least two organizations investigated: Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama. Both are acknowledged as the two biggest and oldest religious organizations in the country. So far, they have done much to combat climate change by setting theology of environment and its praxis. Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama for instance mobilize all of its socio-cultural resources including schools, universities, pesantrens, mosques and as well as pengajians.

Climate change becomes the most important issue in the world nowadays which is believed to have greatly affected many aspects of life including social, politics, economics, and culture. It is acknowledged to bring natural disaster more frequent than before which, in turn, changes demographic composition of the affected region. Many places impacted by the disaster faces significant economic loss while culturally people affected by the change are further challenged by the need to rapidly make adjustment. The scarcity of natural resources then leads to conflicts and turmoil. As a global issue, many countries then make collaboration to design strategy as well as to form global institution to tackle the unintended problems which may occur.
There are several global institutions established like United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN REDD). Meanwhile, at the national level, there are also some institutions established by each country. For instance, in Indonesia, the government establishes Dewan Nasional Perubahan Iklim (National Council on Climate Change/DNPI). Although each has different name, but all have the same concern which is to tackle climate change. Surprisingly, this issue does not only gain formal institution attention such as government, but also wide civil society. In Indonesia for example, two oldest religious civil society organizations, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, get involve. Therefore, this article has a main goal: to investigate the role of both organizations in combating climate change in Indonesia.
To achieve the goal, the article starts with presenting a brief history of climate change and the engagement of civil society organizations into it. Then, it describes Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama’s short profile and deeply discusses their basis of theology, which mainly taken from the Quran and the Hadith[1], and praxis, which taking adaptation and mitigation steps[2]. Specific to the praxis side, this article investigates the socio-cultural role of both organizations which mobilize schools, universities, mosques, pengajians, and pesantrens to combat climate change.
The terminologies of theology and praxis are referred from the works of Gutierrez (1974) and Ogden (2005). In his famous book, A Theology of Liberation, Gutierrez defined that theology is a critical reflexion which requires someone to get involve in socio-historical process of his or her social environment. In explaining praxis, Gutierrez did not simply defined it as the application of theology, but active socio-historical participation to build new society which is free from any injustice. Similarly, Ogden called for liberation work through redemption and emancipation. In the context of religious organizations’ role in combating climate change, this article employs both scholars’ notions on theology and praxis above.
Following qualitative method, data collection techniques used in this article are semi-structured interview and literature study. For the first techique, several key Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama officials and their followers are interviewed which mainly asking about their thought and action to combat the issue of climate change. For the second technique, some books, journals, newspapers, magazines, reports of and related to both organizations, and relevant information from internet are used to enrich the primary data.  However, the limitation of this article would be lacking of mitigation action data of both organizations due to the fact that both tend to put concern on adaptation only.

Climate Change and the Role of (religious) Civil Society in Combating the Issue
There are at least three important phases of climate change issue: academic, policy, and implementation. Academic phase is also known as the initial phase of climate change indicated by the rise of scientific debates on the rise of earth’s temperature. It was Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier who firstly discovered greenhouse gases effect on the earth’s temperature (Pierrehumbert 2004). His found then successfully quantified by Svante Aarhenius who studied the effect of carbon dioxide to the earth temperature nearly three quarters of a century later. Aarhenius finding revealed that earth temperature was seemingly increased by 9 degrees Fahrenheit due to the double increase in carbon dioxide in the air since industrial revolution (Ingram et al1990). This finding then gained support from other scientists’ findings such as Lotka, Revelle and Suess. Lotka for instance found that the increasing number of fossil fuel use from all over the world caused the increasing number of carbon dioxide in the air, while Revelle and Suess found that carbon dioxide could not be absorbed by sea water which then increased the temperature on earth. In turn, these debates gained wide attention of politicians and or policy makers around the world.
The next is policy. During this phase, many scientists worked closely with politicians. They urged the politicians to adopt scientific recommendations on climate change into their political agenda. As a result, two major industrial countries, United States and Canada, began to adopt such recommendations (Bodansky 2001). Some other countries followed similar step and together they conducted the first international conference on climate issue, called Noordwijk Meeting, in 1989. The second meeting was conducted in 1990. At this time, country leaders had agreed to operationalize climate perspective into their own national development agenda.
The third phase is implementation. Since many countries had agreed climate change as a serious issue which has to be tackled together, these countries arranged a meeting in Kyoto in 1997 to work through the issue. This meeting then created a momentous agreement which is known as Kyoto Protocol. Thirty seven countries were bound up to reduce greenhouse gases (UNFCCC 2010). Since that time, the countries conduct follow up meeting in almost every year to discuss practical and technical scheme to implement the agreement. What is important in this phase is that non government or civil society organization (CSOs) have involved as well. According to Hoffmann (2008), the formal engagement of these organizations had been actually started in 1992, during the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development.
The involvement of CSOs can be seen from two sides: policy making and action (implementation). On the first side, CSOs are considered to play significant role in designing and making policy on environmental change issue. A study of Correll and Betsill (2001) showed the three arenas where CSOs played their role: activity, access, and resources. Firstly, CSOs have become active participant in designing policy on several international environment forums. For example, during Kyoto and United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) meeting, CSOs formed side event to raise important issues to be brought into the final day’s meeting[3]. They have also persuaded country leaders to adopt such issues. Secondly, CSOs have substantial access on the international environment forums such as getting involved in the negotiation process either directly or indirectly. Thirdly, CSOs have valuable technical skills to work with wider public or community, so that their presence in the forums was highly demanded.
On the action side, CSOs have carried out some practical actions on facing climate change. Based on Blanco’s study (2006) in several countries, she found that CSOs have worked on adaptation strategies in order to minimize the impact of climate change which the countries might face. They, for example, have designed projects which are aimed to improve local community’s livelihood with respect to sustainable environmental resource practices.
Specific to religious CSOs’involvement, some literatures have mentioned them[4]. Apart from their involvement in international forums, they have set certain eco-theological basis and arranged actions or movements to response the issue of climate change. Globally, there are International Environment Forum (Baha’i), Evangelical Environmental Network (Christian), Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (Jewish), Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (Islam), and Green Sangha (Buddhism) (Posas 2007). In addition, there are also national religious based CSOs. In the the United States and Canada for example, there is National Religious Partnership for the Environment and Kairos respectively which have not only made pronouncement, but also done actions such as set up sustainable and green infrastructures (Haluza-Delay 2008). Similar action also exists in Australia, which is pioneered by Common Belief (Millais 2006) and in Indonesia initiated by Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama. It is the purpose of this article to elaborate these Indonesia’s CSOs.

Indonesia’s Religious Civil Society Organizations
Indonesia is known as the biggest Muslim populated country in the world. The number of Muslim is approximately 202 million (86 percent) of the total 235 million of the country’s population.  Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama are the two biggest Islamic civil society organizations which have large number of followers and spread all over the country.
Muhammadiyah is a modern-reformist Islamic CSO which was established by Ahmad Dahlan in 1912 in Yogyakarta. At the early time, Muhammadiyah focused on to purify Islamic teaching in the region from local mystics, superstition and traditions on the one hand, and on the other hand to protect Islamic way of life from the influence of the Dutch colonial[5]. To do so, Muhammadiyah built modern Islamic school which combines Islamic reformist values with Western system (Fuad 2002). This organization was fully supported by the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. Soon, Muhammadiyah widened the mission to not only provide education, but also economic empowerment, health services, and lately to protect environment. Today, Muhammadiyah has already have at least 25 million members with 5000 schools, from playgroup to senior high school, 40 universities, and 457 hospitals which spread all over the country. With these resources, Muhammadiyah continues its mission.
Muhammadiyah has adopted modern management system in running its organizations. This organization managed its schools, universities, and hospitals professionally. The revenue of these institutions goes to finance Muhammadiyah existing programs and or new programs. In some cases, Muhammadiyah encourages its members to self fund their programs. Nevertheless, Muhammadiyah often receives fund from many sources including government and private institutions from both domestic and foreign countries. In case of combating climate change for example, Muhammadiyah is largely supported by the government and international donors.
Nahdlatul Ulama
Nahdlatul Ulama is known as a traditional-plural Islamic CSO (Bruinessen 1994) which was established in 1926 and first led by Hasyim Asy’ari. Initially, this organization was established to counter Muhammadiyah’s action in purifying Islamic teaching in the Dutch-Indies (pre-Indonesia). Nahdlatul Ulama believed that Islamic way of life is not single, but plural. Then, it committed to guard Islamic plural and traditional way of life. Nahdlatul Ulama’s main base was in the village where many traditional Islamic boarding schools (pesantren) existed[6]. Each pesantren is headed by a cleric (ulama) with hundreds students (santri). Loyalty to the cleric is the main strength of this organization. Basically, in Nahdlatul Ulama each asset is owned by a cleric. Pesantren for instance, is owned by the cleric, not organization. Nevertheless, many clerics affiliate with Nahdlatul Ulama who become officials.
Nahdlatul Ulama is a nonprofit organization. Its source of income mainly comes from its members or followers, about 40 million of people, who donate some amount of money (sumbangan) to the organization. This is interesting of course because the vast majority of these members are economically categorized as lower middle class. Nonetheless, Nahdlatul Ulama also gives benefit to its members by providing job like working as teacher, administrator, and chef in pesantrens. Besides, Nahdlatul Ulama also receives donation from national and international donors. In the field of environmental conservation and climate change for example, this organization has signed many memorandum of understanding with several parties such as government, foreign governments and aid institutions.

Theology of Environment: Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama’s Perspective
Nowadays, it is suprised to know that many religions become ‘green’ due to global concern on climate and environmental change. Some monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Christian, and Islam have formulated eco-theology to safeguard environment. Similar effort has also been performed by polytheistic religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism which set some projects to restore ecology (Tucker and Grimm 2007). In Islam for example, two religious organizations named Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama have set theology of environment.
In Muhammadiyah, a need to protect environment had been discussed since the 45th Muktamar (a five year national congress) in 2005. A year later, this organization investigated what are God’s saying about environment in the Quran and crystallized the sayings. In 2007, the theology of environment was officially formalized which mainly refers to the Quran. There are many verses in the Quran mention the importance of protecting environment such as Thaha 53-54 which depicts the position of the Almighty God both as the creator and the protector of the universe, and Al-An’am 141-142 which forbids mankind to over-exploit natural resources (Lembaga Lingkungan Hidup Muhammadiyah 2008).
Muhammadiyah’s theology is centered to the relationship among God, mankind, and environment. God here is put on the top position whereas mankind and environment both have equal position under Him. In explaining this, Muhammadiyah refers to Al-An’am 165 which says that mankind is not only God’s creature, but also His representative (khalifah)  in the world. As creature, mankind is obliged to worship their creator, obey His commandment, and avoid His prohibition. In further, as representative, mankind is responsible to manage, to protect, as well as to always keep the world in a balance. According to the Islamic viewpoint as understood by Muhammadiyah, mankind must take these two roles as obligation. If he or she fails, he or she will be judged by God in the day after (Lembaga Lingkungan Hidup Muhammadiyah 2008).
Specific to the relationship between mankind and environment, Muhammadiyah emphasizes the position of these two entities is equal. It means that mankind has to take care of environment properly and vice versa. Unfortunately, such equality has been destroyed by mankind’s arbitrary behavior which greedily exploiting the environment. Besides, mankind has also arbitrarily used their authority as God’s representative. Instead of acting as protector, they become traitor. As a result, the environment counters such mankind’s action with great catastrophes, as Muhammadiyah believes. Therefore, Muhammadiyah calls wide attention to rethink this problem. Thus, the theology of environment is aimed to revitalize mankind-environment relation according to what has been mandated by God.
With this theology, Muhammadiyah also challenges existing interpretation on mankind-environment relation saying that mankind is more superior than other creatures. This organization for instance starts with revisiting the concept of khalifah[7]. In further, it comes up with new interpretation which emphasizes mankind’s sociological role as God’s representative who is always responsible to take care of others’ life. Muhammadiyah believes that any environmental destruction in this world is rooted on this kind of mis-interpretation. Therefore, changing interpretation of mankind-environment relation is a very urgent task to do now.
In Nahdlatul Ulama, environmental issue has already become daily discussion topic for its members regarding the majority of them live in remote areas like mountain, forest, and coast. Most of them utilized environment surrounding as a source of livelihood such as forest, garden, fish pond, farm, and coast. Therefore, theology of environment has been implicitly embedded with Nahdlatul Ulama since its birth. Hasyim Asy’ari, for example, the founder of Nahdlatul Ulama, often delivered environmental issue on his teaching[8]. However, environmental issue had never formally and collectively discussed until 30 clerics from all over the country conducted Muktamar in 2004. The meeting then came up with several points such as Nahdlatul Ulama has to seriously protect environment, to conserve potential natural resources, to push sustainable development, and to position ulama as a role model of environmental conservation[9].
There are two sources used to construct the theology: the Quran and the Hadith. According to Yafie (2006), there are 95 verses of the Quran and 12 Hadiths which contain environmental issues. The most referred verses are Al-Baqarah 11-12 about prohibition of devastating environment, verse 27 about the disadvantage of mankind who does such devastation, verse 60 about how very rich earth contains a lot of natural resources, verses 220 and 250 about the role of God in protecting earth from damage. Besides Al Baqarah, there are Al-Maidah 64 explains God’s angry to people who do destructive action on earth while, Al-A’raf 56 mentions, He is always taking care of it.
Meanwhile, the most referred Hadiths are from Imam Muslim[10]. According to him, once upon a time Muhammad prophet mentioned that conservation land, which has been determined by him (today is government), is prohibited to use. Besides, the Prophet also commanded his followers to avoid utilizing natural resources if they do not know whether it is rightful (halal) or forbidden (haram). In another occasion, the Prophet urged his followers to work mainly in plantation, garden, and farm areas. These fields are regarded as the noblest activities on earth. In relation to deforestation, the Prophet made prohibition to cut trees except they bring damage to the life of mankind (INFORM 2004). In Nahdlatul Ulama’s theology, Qur’an and Hadiths both provide guideline for conserving environment and remind punishment for those who damage environment. Nonetheless, Nahdlatul Ulama does not want to make any punishment. Rather, it hands the decision over the government.
This Nahdlatul Ulama’s theology of environment has explicitly shown that there is an effort from within organization to recontextualize the message of God, to always protect and conserve environment, to current situation. What is unique from this theology is that it combines the Quran which contains general principles of living on earth with the Hadith which provides many examples of how mankind treats surrounding environment. Thus, the Hadith here is positioned as Quran’s supplementary information in order to make God’s message clearer. Unlike Muhammadiyah which aims to reinterpret Quranic verse, here Nahdatul Ulama just intends to bring God to light current situation where environmental degradation becomes very serious.

The Praxis of Combating Climate Change: Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama’s Socio-cultural Role
As mentioned above, the globalization of climate change issue does not only stimulate government to take action, but also civil society organizations. In Indonesia case, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama show how they do not want to be left behind in combating the issue. They both take action by mobilizing all of their resources to focus on adaptation fields including to sound climate change impact, to combat deforestation and to sound afforestation, as well as to create alternative livelihood, energy and resource management. The terminology of resource mobilization itself is adopted from McCarthy and Zald (1977), and Tsing (1999).
Despite their difference in using terminology[11], they have similarity in terms of actors and processes of mobilization. McCarthy and Zald for example mentioned that mobilization emphasizes the role of certain authorities which control movement and their adherents. In term of process, they pointed out that mobilization requires the presence of organization. Similarly, Tsing mentioned that mobilization works through organization. This organization sets knowledges, values, or way of life in order to face certain challenges. Uniquely, Tsing did not mention explicitly who are the authorities which means that all people have rights to make any decision and to conduct mobilization. She took conservation case as an example which has learning practice on environment and followed by certain action to protect the environment.

To Sound Environmental Degradation and Climate Change
The first action conducted by Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama is to sound climate change to the whole country[12]. The goal is to make many people being aware of climate change so that people are able to set action to combat these problems. The fact that Indonesia is the largest archipelagic country in the world, which has approximately 17,500 islands, makes it difficult to reach all territories. Therefore, both Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama mobilize their resources such as mosques and Islamic teaching forums (pengajian). Both organizations believe that mosque has been a very powerful channel for socio-cultural communication among Muslim everywhere as it is often used to spread and to transform any idea into a change.
For a long time, mosque has been known as a venue for propagating Islamic way of life or certain religious messages (Munson 2001). It is regularly used to spread such messages through teaching (khutbah) every week called Friday praying. In this case, the clerics use the mosque to teach their followers (jamaah) about the importance of protecting environment. They usually begin with mentioning Quran verses followed by some explanation and relevant examples taken from the followers’ daily life. At the end, the clerics close their teaching with conclusion or recommendation about what action should be taken to protect the environment. Despite its classical form of teaching which does not provide the followers time to make question, Friday praying has successfully transmitted the very basic information of climate change. For those followers who would like to find more information about the topic may join another teaching named pengajian.
In pengajian, people have opportunity to ask question about the topic in detail to the cleric. However, the cleric may able to answer question related to theological matters, but not technical matters of climate change, except the pengajian attended by expert[13]. Pengajian is often called as follow-up session which is conducted to make the followers more understand about climate change. Pengajian is not only attended by men, as Friday praying, but also women consist of younger and elder. They can also get involve and rise question in this forum. The further effect of this forum is that people who have joined pengajian will transfer their knowledge to other people in their neighborhood or at home so it can be a massive socio-cultural movement later on.
So far, both Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama mosques and pengajians have actively sounded the fact of environmental degradation and climate change. Besides sounding the theology, the mosques and pengajians also recommending action for combating climate change ranging from changing consumption behavior, supporting government commitment to reduce greenhouse gases to supporting global effort to combat climate change. Nevertheless, there are some barriers stand in the way these organizations sound climate change such as the limitation of the clerics’ basic knowledge on climate change and the unavailability of expert of both organizations in rural areas which cause the campaign go slow in such areas[14].
Besides mosques and pengajians, both institutions mobilize schools and pesantrens. Muhammadiyah as well as Nahdlatul Ulama realize that educational institutions have pivotal role for creating better the future as they educate and build the character of students. Based on assumption that contemporary education system are strongly associated with modern secular values, in which certain degree is believed to ignore moral and spiritual aspect of life which in turn cause many problems, both institutions try to put religious ethics into their education system as they believe that religious ethics can mitigate the problems. Therefore, both Muhammadiyah schools and Nahdlatul Ulama pesantrens’ curriculum adopt Islamic values and ethics on environment into their education system. Following the adoption of climate change issue into Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama into the theology of environment lately, schools and pesantrens are also make adoption on such issue.
It is expected that emphasizing Islamic ethics on environment at schools and pesantrens can accelerate climate change socialization throughout the country. Unlike mosques and pengajians, sounding environmental degradation and climate change through schools and pesantrens are more structured in terms of who give information, whom was given information, what kind of information is given, when is the time to give information, and how long the information is given. The strenghts of this structured socialization is that the teachers who give information are more likely to master both theology and environmental issue. Besides, socialization time period are longer than in mosque and pengajians so that the effect would be tremendous.
To Combat Deforestation and To Set Afforestation Project
Indonesia is one of the most rapid country which lost its forest. Since 1950, this country has lost approximately 40 percent of its existing forest. According to Global Forest Watch (2011), Indonesia’s forest cover fell from 162 million to 98 million hectare. Since 1990s, Indonesia’s deforestation has been rated of two million hectare per year. This country’s deforestation is believed to fasten greenhouse gases concentration in atmosphere which in turn changes climate. As a response, besides the government, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama do certain actions to combat deforestation and to set afforestation. These actions mobilize GNKL, LLH, schools, universities, and pesantrens as well. Both organizations believe that these two adaptation actions can effectively combat climate change.
After sounding climate change and environmental degradation throughout the country, combating deforestation is the next action taken by mainly Nahdlatul Ulama[15]. One of the main concern of this organization is illegal logging. Although this activity may bring benefit to their followers in form of short run cash, Nahdlatul Ulama believes that such activity will cause more damages (mudharat) than benefits (maslahat) in the long run. Therefore, it mobilizes GNKL and pesantrens to protect forest from exploitation. Basically, both GNKL and pesantrens urge their followers or santri to not cut trees and keep an eye on those who would like to do illegal logging. They do not make any punishment to the illegal logger, but hand them over the authorized body such as police officers.
In order to make the action of combating deforestation effective, Nahdlatul Ulama appoints pesantrens as main base. Pesantrens then collaborate with villagers to guard and to protect forest. Pesantrens also urge the villagers to think and to compare whether illegal logging brings benefit to them and generation after them or not. This kind of collaboration seems not difficult to establish since people in forest areas have mutual relationship with pesantrens. Pesantrens, on the one hand, need assistance from the villagers to combat illegal logging while on the other, the villagers need spiritual enlightenment from pesantrens.
Nahdlatul Ulama also actively combats deforestation caused by mining activities. This organization argues that any mining activity will damage environment surrounding, not only land, forest, water, and air, but also human. Through GNKL, Nahdlatul Ulama challenges the local government to abrogate mining permit which has been given mining to some individuals and companies[16]. This kind of action might be peculiar because everywhere people tend to support the opening site of mining. However, Nahdlatul Ulama has different viewpoint on this issue. Despite its short run profit, but the long run mining activity is believed to devastate the environment. If this really happens, none can bring the previous environment back.
Besides combating deforestation, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama conduct afforestation. Muhammadiyah for instance mobilizes its schools and universities. The school and university students are invited to plant trees in both their schools and surrounding areas. The aim of this program is to build students’ awareness on protecting environment. This program was initiated by the cental board of Muhammadiyah which symbolically planted trees in its office and then followed by the provincial and regional boards afterwards (Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup 2011). Muhammadiyah’s afforestation concern is mainly in urban areas regarding the majority of its followers live in these areas.
Many urban areas in Indonesia are suffering from a lack of trees. Economic growth and rapid industrialization are admitted as one of the causal factors. Therefore, Muhammadiyah collaborates with central, provincial, and regional government as well as people in those areas. This organization even provides tree seeds for the people so that they can plant the seeds near their home. By doing so, Muhammadiyah aims to show that its organization does not only invite all people to learn about environment and climate change through pengajians but also to participate directly in planting trees.
While Muhammadiyah conducts afforestation in urban areas, Nahdlatul Ulama does similar thing in the rurals. This organization admits that combating climate change must not end up in mosques and pengajians, but realized in real actions[17]. With thousands of pesantrens spread in many rural areas, Nahdlatul Ulama plants hundred thousands of trees in those areas. This organization focuses its afforestation project in barren lands due to prior exploitation. In this project, it plants the species of trees that can absorb carbon dioxide in the air. Before doing plantation, the clerics usually start with praying to God and make a wish so that its action will be blessed by Him.
Nahdlatul Ulama also collaborate with government. Even, the presiden of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono supported this organization to conduct afforestation. This organization supports government which has program to plant one billion trees each year. Besides working with government, Nahdlatul Ulama also work with foreign countries such as The United States of America[18] and Australia[19]. This kind of collaboration indicates that Nahdlatul Ulama as well as Muhammadiyah are opened religious organizations. They both welcome other parties to get involve in combating climate change in the country. In late 2007 for example, both organizations worked with other religious organizations to initiate Religious Conference on climate Change in Jakarta.
To Set Alternative Livelihood, Energy and Resource Management
One of the main causes of deforestation in Indonesia is illegal logging. Most of those who conduct illegal logging live in rural areas. Actually, they have already involved in this activity since years ago because it has become a main source of livelihood and given much benefit to the loggers. Therefore, in order to stop this illegal logging, there should be alternative livelihood for these people. Nahdlatul Ulama through pesantrens have tried to create such alternative by opening critical lands and planting them with new types of plantation such as fruits and vegetables or using them as stock farming. It is expected that these new types will subtitute logging activity as rural people’s main source of livelihood.
By planting fruits, vegetables, and establishing stock farming, pesantrens aim to empower local people not to depend on forest resources any longer. These people are then equipped with technical and pratical tools to do such activities successfully. People look these activities very promising as fruits, vegetables, as well as stock farming have considerably high economic value. On the one hand, such activities can help people to earn money and on the other hand, this people support Nahdlatul Ulama’s effort to protect environment. This kind of help and counter-help relation is similar to what Polanyi (2002) defined as reciprocity. For those pesantrens which have already had plantation and stock farming programs, they continue to widely extend their territory of plantation or stock farming. It is not difficult for pesantrens to do this as each has had quite wide open land.
Pesantrens’ involvement in boosting rural economy has started long time ago. Known to be financially independent institution in providing education, pesantrens involve in various local scale businesses to finance their actitivities[20] and provide job for people surrounding the pesantrens. It is through ulama’s direction, the pesantren leader, many sources of livelihood such as agribusiness, agriculture, and fisheries have been created. Many people believe that the ulama’s leadership does not only bring physical welfare for many people in the rural areas such as sufficient income, but also spiritual welfare such as God’s blessing (berkah) [21].
Meanwhile, Muhammadiyah focuses on striving for energy and resource management. Muhammadiyah schools and universities for example are mandated to effectively use energy in their daily activities. They are also mandated to reduce the use of papers, water, and electricity. At the same time they are urged to invite wider public participation. It is not difficult for Muhammadiyah to do this regarding it is a centralized organization in which hundreds of local branch of it must obey any instruction comes from the central board. However, it seems that the instruction not work very well in reality because not all Muhammadiyah schools and universities directly implement such mandate.
Nonetheless, Muhammadiyah shows good achievement in waste management. Both of its schools and universities collaborate with local people for changing garbage to become useful resources. This activity had already started before Muhammadiyah declared its theology of environment. At this time, this organization has just maximized its waste management project  to combat climate change through focusing the activity in urban areas, the place which always full of waste. To do so, Muhammadiyah provides skillful technicians to work in these areas. Therefore, this organization recruits and trains young people in its vocational school. Interestingly, any benefit gained from this program is dedicated to the people[22].
As one of the biggest civil society organization with thousands schools and forty universities which spreads in all over the country, Muhammadiyah is challenged to make significant contribution on providing solution for subtituting fossil energy which is believed to be end up in the near future. So far, although Indonesia has abundant biodiversity, it has not utilized such advantage very well for finding alternative energy. Therefore, Muhammadiyah takes this opportunity seriously by mobilizing its schools and universities to create such energy and working with other institutions which already have supporting technologies. At this time, Muhammadiyah has mobilized two universities, Muhammadiyah University of Malang and Yogyakarta, in cooperation with Dutch institutions to develop alternative bioenergy which focuses on developing biofuel, biomass, and biogass. Besides, one of the universities above is now planning to open new department named Environmental Theology. This department will be responsible for teaching and managing environment based on Islamic religious ethics. It is expected that these two universities will stimulate Muhammadiyah’s universitites in other regions to do the same way.

As a global issue climate change has grabbed worldwide attention. Government as well as civil society organizations have taken part to tackle the issue including religious CSOs. As Indonesia case shows, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, the two oldest and largest religious CSOs of the country, have started their action by setting theology of environment followed by praxis to tackle climate change. To do so, they mobilize their socio-cultural resources such as schools, universities, mosques, pesantrens, and pengajians.
The theology of environment of both organizations mainly based on Quran and Hadith which mention the importance of protecting environment. With the presence of this theology, two main features have been raised: reinterpretation and recontextualization. Muhammadiyah has progressively challenged existing interpretation of khalifah which puts mankind as more superior than other creatures. This organization then makes new interpretation which places mankind as equal as others. Meanwhile, Nahdlatul Ulama has tried to recontextualize the message of God to always maintain and protect environment. This organization believes that current environmental problems are rooted on mankind’s behavior on earth which disregards God’s message properly.
In further, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama bring this theology into praxis. Both organizations focuse on sounding climate change and its impact to a wider public, combatting deforestation and setting afforestation, and creating alternative livelihood, energy as well as resource management. To do so, they mobilize socio-cultural resources above. Besides, both organizations collaborate with local people for example in planting fruits, vegetables, making stock farming, and re-cycling waste. This reciprocal relationship does not only help both organizations to combat climate change, but also help the local people to find alternative and sustainable livelihood.


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_________ 2008) (suara merdeka 2008)

* Earlier version of this paper was  presented at the Third Lagos State Summit on Climate Change, 8-10 February 2011, Victoria Island, Nigeria.
[1] The Quran and the Hadith are the first and the second source of Islamic jurisprudence respectively.
[2] The definiton of adaptation and mitigation strategy is based on Charles Harper (2001). Adaptation strategy suggests people to change their thought, perception, and behavior to adjust the rapid environmental change surrounding. People are believed capable enough to change their way of life in order to face future uncertainty. Mitigation consists of strategy to alleviate the impacts of climate change by stopping environmental degradation and minimizing global emission. Both can be achieved through retarding rapid deforestation and conducting afforestation, as well as reducing energy consumption of companies and households.
[3] As indicated by Posas (2007), religious CSOs especially have sponsored and arranged side events during international forums.
[4] Gottlieb (2003) for example mentioned that faith based communities has played significant role as other institutions to conserve environment. Besides,  Hale (2010) argued that faith based organizations are promising to provide solution to the current environmental situation because they are deeply rooted and able to influence and engage many people.
[5] The arrival of the Dutch colonial was associated with invading Islam and its followers.
[6] There are about 17,000 pesantrens affiliated with Nahdlatul Ulama.
[7] Existing interpretation tends to put mankind as a political role which has power to rule, manage, and even exploit others. This role ends up with many problems including environmental degradation.
[8] One of Nahdlatul Ulama official mentioned that Hasyim Asyari in his teaching had regularly suggested his followers to always take of environment by not throwing waste anywhere, efficiently use natural resources, and planting more trees.
[9] The meeting also published a book titled Fiqih Lingkungan (The Theology of Environment) (2004). This book and another from respectable Nahdlatul Ulama cleric, Alie Yafie titled Merintis Fiqh Lingkungan Hidup (Initiating the Theology of Environment) (2006) are acknowledged as the most representative of Nahdlatul Ulama’s theology of environment.
[10] Imam Muslim is one of four most respectful ulama in Islam. His most valuable work was to collect and to verify hadith.
[11] McCarthy and Zald used term ‘resource mobilization’ whereas Tsing used ‘cultural mobilization’.
[12] The reason to do this because not many people in Indonesia are aware of climate change. They do not know what is it, why and how it happens, and what is the impact to their life.
[13] In Muhammadiyah the expert who able to talk climate change work in a body named Lembaga Lingkungan Hidup (Institute for Environment/LLH) whereas in Nahdlatul Ulama he or she work in Gerakan Nasional Kehutanan dan Lingkungan Hidup (National Movement for Forest and Environment/GNKL) and Lembaga Penanggulangan Bencana dan Lingkungan Hidup (Institute for Disaster and Climate Change Mitigation/LPBI).
[14] One informant (follower) said that the campaign of climate change is still elitist or still discussed in the top level of organizations and has not been socialized yet. This view means three things. First, his pesantren has never engaged in climate change socialization. Second, it has no cleric who can speak about environmental issue or, third, his pesantren has not seen climate change as a real problem to be tackled.
[15] Nahdlatul Ulama is very active in combating deforestation (illegal logging) due to many of its followers live in rural areas such as forests and mountains. While many flood disasters occur for example, most of its followers suffered from this flood disaster directly.
[16] GNKL for example protested the government which abrogates mining permit in Jember, West Java Province (NU-Online 2009).
[17] I would like to argue that the essence of Islamic ethics is theology and praxis because in Islam, mankind is not only mandated to worship God, but also to do something real for Him.
[18] The US had supported Nahdlatul Ulama in afforestation project in Central Java (Suara Merdeka 2008).
[19] Australia had collaborated with Nahdlatul Ulama in planting trees in Jember’s barren land (Tempo Interaktif 2008).
[20] Besides receiving donations from its followers, pesantrens build relatively small scale business activities in their areas.
[21] Many people believe, especially in rural areas, that ulama is very closed to God due to his spiritual knowledge so that God bless him very much. Therefore, following the ulama means getting close the blessing of God.
[22] The program is also called Shodaqoh Sampah (the charity of waste). After being recycled and having economic value, the revenue goes to the people who have made contribution. Most of these people are economically poor so Muhammadiyah gives this charity to them regularly.

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