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Is Community Education the most effective way in changing Communal Behavior and Awareness towards Sustainability?

Tue, April 16, 1:30 to 3:00pm, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Bay (Level 1), Bayview B


In Indonesia, one of the major problems towards sustainability is the shear amount of preventable solid waste and wastewater discharged into the open environment. This problem mainly happens because of the lack of adequate infrastructure to process both solid waste and wastewater, however on top of this problem many still adopt behaviors that are damaging towards the environment. These behaviors include discharging solid waste or domestic wastewater directly into the river, which results in rivers being highly polluted, all things that could have easily be prevented. How do we change this communal behavior and increase awareness towards Sustainability?

Throughout the years, many different community intervention programs, which typically include community education or campaign programs, have been raised to change this communal behavior towards solid waste and wastewater. One extreme example is an intense community education program brought into an urban slum in Yogyakarta, Indonesia by a Christian Priest named Romo Mangun. He dedicated years of his live to live in with the community especially to increase their awareness towards the environment and also improve their behavior towards sustainable living. In the process this urban slum had also served as an icon to Indonesia and undergone visual transformation as well, such as the re-coloring of the houses of the area.

In another urban slum in a different city, in Malang, Indonesia, residents were exposed to a different strategy to change their behavior. Although some communal education exist, the emphasize of this strategy is mainly on the coloring of the urban slum houses, which ended up making the area a good tourist destination spot. So by comparing these two different cases of urban slum regeneration, in which both community behaviors had changed, in this research it was investigated whether community education is the only or most effective strategy to change the communities’ behavior towards Environmentally friendly behavior.

It is found from the research that to change behavior towards solid waste management, visual improvement had more significant impact than community education. However to change behavior towards wastewater management the role of education is still most important. This is maybe because understanding of the need for wastewater management requires more abstract understanding than simple solid waste management that is much more straightforward.