Tackling Environmental Issues Through the Lens of Islam: UIII Student’s Insights from Borneo Youth Camp

May 28, 2023

Contributor: Magello Fenis | Editor: Supriyono

Muhammad Nasir, an MA student at the Faculty of Islamic Studies of Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII), has successfully participated in the Borneo Youth Camp held in Pontianak City, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, from May 11 to 14, 2023.

Gathered 63 youth leaders from around the world, this program aimed to provide a global platform for exploring the potential of young people to become public leaders with insights into environmental sustainability, tolerance, and entrepreneurship.

Taking the theme "Youth for Environmental Action and Sustainability", the camp was a joint effort of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Youth Indonesia, DPD IMM Kalimantan Barat, and the Asian African Youth Government (AAYG).

A number of Indonesia’s state officials were also present at the event and delivered messages of solidarity. These include Dito Ariotedjo, the Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sports; Tenten Masduki, the Indonesian Minister of Cooperatives and SMEs; and Sandiago Uno, the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy.

The event was made up of three panel sessions each of which had its respective theme: Green Economy and Entrepreneurship, Interfaith and Leadership for the Environment, and Advancing Youth in STEM for Sustainability. The panel sessions aim to educate, develop knowledge, exchange experiences, and empower young individuals to actively participate in addressing environmental issues through diverse approaches and initiatives. 

Nasir played a significant role in the 'Interfaith and Leadership for the Environment’ session, in which he highlighted the importance of having a conversation that could foster ethical responsibility and stewardship toward the Earth and promote understanding and respect across various religious communities.

"To find common ground and long-term solutions, we can rely on the knowledge, concepts, and teachings of other religious traditions by participating in interfaith discussions and bringing up the diverse values found in every religion, emphasizing caring for the planet we live in," Nasir said.

Given the complexity of environmental issues, Nasir argued that it is, however, unattainable unless there is a positive relationship across religions based on honesty and mutual respect. This can only be accomplished if religious leaders spread the words on this, he explained.

“For example, I propose a call for a better understanding of Islamic ethics in dealing with environmental issues, such as food security (as Islam forbids 'tabzir' extravagance) or waste management (keeping the environment free of harmful things like specks of dirt) - 'removing a harmful object from the road is charity' (hadith). I call it 'Tackling Environmental Issues Through the Lens of Islamic Values'," Nasir elaborated.

Notwithstanding, Nasir encouraged fellow UIII students to join such youth camps to expand their views and adopt fresh viewpoints. "Youth camps also provide the perfect environment to connect and network. They create significant connections with peers, mentors, and industry experts, possibly leading to future partnerships, internships, and employment possibilities," he concluded.

Leadership training is essential in environmental action as it can empower individuals to motivate and mobilize others towards a shared objective. In today's world, young leaders like Nasir would be able to analyze risks and develop innovative approaches to effectively address environmental issues, facilitating dialogue and creating positive synergies.