The Infinite Spirit
The Voices for Just Climate Action (VCA) Indonesia initiated the Flobamoratas Festival in 2022 aims to bring the climate change issues closer to the wider communities, especially youth, and draw their attention to climate action. The Flobamoratas is an acronym of Flores, Sumba, Timor, Alor, Rote, Lembata, and Sabu which are the regions located in East Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia. The festival was held for the first time in Kupang, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara, and attracted more than 2000 visitors. In 2023, VCA organized the festival for the second time in Kupang and selected the Fishery and Coastal Community as theme of the event while highlighting three key messages: Inclusivity; Infinite spirit; Adaptation and mitigation of climate change.
This year’s festival began with a series of pre-event activities held in several districts in East Nusa Tenggara, including Goes to School, Clean Up Day and Communities Field Trip. The activities are expected to raise community awareness on the impact of climate change on their lives as it effects their health, well-being, education and ultimately future prospects, while in the same time allowing people to express ideas and take real actions to respond to climate change.
The main event of Flobamoratas festival was held in 3rd– 4th November 2023 presenting various cultural shows, including theatres, dances, film, photo exhibition, food expositions, and music concerts with several local and national musicians. The dances and theatres expressed the impacts of climate change to indigenous communities and how they respond to it. Sign language interpreters were provided during the 2-day event in order to make it more inclusive. Bands play to audiences of all genders, ages and sexual orientations that took everyone to a shared cultural experience where emotional energy can bring about laughter and tears in equal measure.
The series of events closed by joint action of planting mangrove trees with active involvement of fishery communities in Kupang as well as inhabitant from surrounding areas. Mangroves are not only protecting coastal communities from high tides, but also providing them with food, firewood and building materials for their house, therefore, increasing their ability to adapt to climate change.
At the Flobamoratas Festival, local climate solutions and actions were discussed, and people exchanged experiences and knowledge. The events, which successfully attracted around 3,000 visitors, have the potential to serve as on-ramps to engagement and climate activism. Social movements have long struggled with the challenges of getting sympathizers to do more than worry about an issue. Shared cultural experience has the capacity to serve as a catalyzing tool for change, connecting those who care to what they can do about it.
The time is now to take advantage of all the potential capacities to activism. We believe harnessing the power of people, including youth, indigenous communities, to protect their environment by preserving cultural heritage which can convey traditional knowledge to build resilience for change and to lead us to a more sustainable future. Nothing should stop the infinite spirit of communities from learning how to tackle the climate change issue and the best way to mitigate and adapt.
Authors: Trisa Lusiandari
Photo credits: VCA Indonesia