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The Role of Universities in Connecting Community Knowledge Systems and Multi-Interdisciplinary Science for Sustainability

Universitas Indonesia > News > News Highlights > The Role of Universities in Connecting Community Knowledge Systems and Multi-Interdisciplinary Science for Sustainability

UI held an Open Session to Commemorate its 74th Anniversary at the Convention Hall, UI Depok. The theme “Continuously Building a Sustainable Indonesia” represents UI as an educational institution concerned with environmental and sustainability issues in the SDGs. Therefore, UI presents a figure considered an “environmental champion”, Prof. Dr. Jatna Supriatna, MSc., teacher and scientist from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences UI. He delivered a scientific oration regarding his review from the conservation and sustainability science perspective. This event is the opening of the anniversary celebration series on February 21.

Starting his oration, Prof. Jatna provided an overview of three species of Orang Utan in Indonesia: Pongo abelli, Pongo tapanuliensis, and Pongo pygmaeus. They are the main species from Indonesia because they only exist in Indonesia. Besides, Indonesia is also an archipelagic country located in a tropical area with the third largest area of ​​tropical forest in the world. Indonesia also has the second longest coastline in the world, with sea area (70%) and land area (30%) on many islands (>17,000). Prof. Jatna said that this extraordinary biodiversity potential must be used as an asset to provide prosperity for Indonesia.

The ever-increasing human population and all its activities have created damage to the earth, such as global warming due to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, environmental pollution due to dangerous and toxic materials, and biodiversity loss. In his presentation, Prof. Jatna stated that 2023 will be the warmest year in the world, and the last five years have been the warmest in history since 1850. This year, the earth’s temperature has reached an average of 2℃ compared to preindustrial levels, and it is estimated the earth’s temperature will increase even more in the following years.

He explained that an increase of 1℃ could melt the ice at the poles and endanger the existence of many animals. If the earth experiences a rise of 2℃, it could wipe out 40% of rainforests, resulting in insufficient animal food resources. Furthermore, at an increase of 3℃, trees will no longer be able to hold carbon dioxide, and cities will be heavily polluted. “If there is an increase of 5℃, I think the earth will no longer be habitable. So, we have to prevent it before it continues to increase,” said Prof. Jatna.

The next crisis is a severe biodiversity loss, both in quantity and quality of habitat. The loss of biodiversity is caused by human activities. Humans are to blame for all environmental problems and threats to preserving biological resources. Therefore, the conservation of natural resources is not only a physical issue but also a socio-cultural issue.

Furthermore, Prof. Jatna explained that other earth crises are chemical, plastic, water, and air pollution. Environmental pollution occurs in every corner of the earth; pollutants accumulate and disrupt habitats. Pollutants impact the abiotic and biotic environment.

Hence, Prof. Jatna said one way to mitigate climate change is by developing carbon trading, both in a green and blue economy and through a mix of New and Renewable Energy and decarbonization, and other latest technologies (hydrogen, nuclear, and others) to achieve Net Zero Emissions faster.

“We are obliged to study trade-offs in land use, use of biodiversity, the impact of climate change, and policies and management related to forests and seas. Therefore, we must empower and unite various development actors and connect the community knowledge system with multi-interdisciplinary science in higher education to improve natural resource governance for sustainable development,” said Prof. Jatna.

Meanwhile, UI Chancellor Prof. Ari Kuncoro, S.E., M.A., Ph.D., invited UI academics to care for the earth, dedicate knowledge, and maintain the dignity of the University of Indonesia. 74-year-old UI, Prof. Ari, said that compared to humans, this age is considered elderly; the productive age has long been left behind, and we have to enjoy the rest of our lives. “However, for educational institutions such as the University of Indonesia, increasingly mature age reflects how far we have come and how meaningful our achievements for Indonesia,” said Prof. Ari.

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