In the mid of Ramadhan this year, people of Kendeng which incorporated in the Community Network Saving the Kendeng Mountain (JMPPK) met and consolidated while doing sahur together in Yu Patmi Langgar (small mosque), located in Tambak Romo, Pati, West Java Province.

This occasion became a momentum for the community around Kendeng Mountain to share the current condition of their area. The community re-strengthened the movement, which had weakened in several regions, to focus on guarding the implementation of the Strategic Environmental Studies, Spatial Plan, and Regional Mid-Term Development Plan, as well as formulating further joint actions.

Ustadz Ubaidillah Ahmad, who attended the event, reminded the human obligation in preserving the balance of nature. “The command to maintain the balance of nature is already stated in the Quran. Humans have a holy relationship with the environment or known as wahdatul wujud, so humans must live in harmony with nature,” said him.

“Our ancestors used to say, don’t cut down trees, then the tree’s owner got berserk,” said Ustadz Ubaidillah. “Who says nature didn’t get angry. By cutting down trees, oxygen decreases while living things need oxygen. Trees absorb water, and water is much more valuable than gold. Humans cannot live without water, so we must protect water and the environment,” added him.

Maryati Abdullah, the National Coordinator of PWYP Indonesia, explained that Kendeng area stores 62% of the water in Java Island. Unsurprisingly, the Kendeng Mountains region have huge resource in the agriculture, so sustainability needs to be maintained.

“People has powers to determine their leader as well as involve in the public policymaking process that impacted their living space. On the other hand, leaders need to be fair and listen to the needs of the people,” added her.

Maryati also reminded the community to continuously monitor the implementation of the Strategic Environmental Studies, Spatial Plan, and Regional Mid-Term Development Plan, also oversee the determination of Watu Putih Groundwater Basin (CAT) as a protected area. “Development is important. But what we need is a sustainable development, which put into account the carrying capacity and environment capacity,” Mary concluded.

Dr Laksanto Utomo, Chair of the Indigenous Law Lecture Associations (APHA) who also spoke at the event, emphasized that the community has rights to question the policy. Laksanto reminded the statement of Mbah Tarno—the elder of Sedulur Sikep, which is “yen Pulau Jawa kuwi wetenge diodol-odo, ya rusak sak menungsane.” Means, if the underground material in Java Island continuously being extracted, then the earth and its people are destroyed. According to Laksanto, the fight of the Kendeng Community against mining activities is an effort to preserve the environment, save food sources for future generations.

In the closing, Zainal Arifin, Director of the LBH Semarang, shared the latest update of the litigation  efforts to reject the cement plant in the Kendeng Mountains region. Besides attended by the community who lived around Yu Patmi Langgar in Tambak Romo,  the community from other areas such as Surokonto, Kendal Regency also participated.