Batik Mangrove with bird and plant motifs in the mangrove forest. Photo : Petrus Riski

Around 2007, after the reform, the people around the city of Surabaya illegally logged mangrove forests on the east coast of Surabaya (Pamurbaya), East Java. The logging has even damaged about 10 hectares of mangrove forest along the shoreline and estuary of the Saridamen River, Mulyorejo District, Wonorejo District, and on the north coast of Surabaya. In fact, about 100 thousand trees that function to ward off sea water abrasion have been cut into pieces.

Seeing this condition, Lulut Sri Yuliani, felt sad. As an educator, he knows that mangrove forests play an important role as a coastal protection belt and community settlements from exposure to waves and tsunamis.

The damage to the mangroves made the former Javanese language teacher think about how to save and preserve the once lush and beautiful mangrove forest.

Lulut together with the community started a mangrove rescue movement by replanting deforested areas with similar mangroves. However, his efforts are recognized as not being able to directly repair the damage that has already occurred, as well as being able to mobilize the community to be actively involved in saving the environment.

There are still many people who use mangroves inappropriately, making Lulut have to find other ways to change the wrong community paradigm.

The mangrove rescue movement is also carried out by inviting the community to maintain the river flow connected to the mangrove forest, such as inviting people not to litter in the river, reducing the use of detergent soap and replacing it with soap that is more environmentally friendly, to empowering communities around the mangrove forest area to obtain benefits. economic benefits without having to damage the environment or mangrove forest ecosystem.

“We invite the community to participate in warding off the waves by replanting damaged mangrove forests, as well as empowering the community by using the biodiversity around the river without destroying the surrounding environment,” Lulut said to Mongabay.

Community empowerment by maintaining and preserving mangroves, but still being able to benefit from mangroves, is a way to invite people to change their mindset to protect the surrounding environment. Without changing his mindset, it is impossible for him to be able to maintain the mangrove forest which is prone to destruction again.

“Our target is not the extent of the saved mangrove forest, but the human target. If one person works on ten hectares, but if it only sits on one person’s hands, then it will only add ten hectares. But if the human resources are built, the improvement in Indonesia and even the world will be faster. It’s useless if we plant it but then other people destroy it,” he explained.

Damage to mangrove forests in Wonorejo, east coast of Surabaya. Photo : Petrus Riski

Through mangrove or in Latin rhizophora, he introduced mangrove batik, namely with mangroves as a natural dye for batik that is friendly to the environment. Through mangrove batik, Lulut has succeeded in empowering many people to be involved in conservation and environmental preservation efforts, especially mangrove forests, such as in Wonorejo, Gununganyar, Keputih and surrounding districts.

“We make products that are concerned with conservation, both in mangroves and in mountain forests, so we are really concerned about the environment. By building the environment we want to show that society can also prosper, through caring for the environment. Besides that, what we do is safe, there is no need for conflict,” said the recipient of the Kalpataru award for the category of environmental pioneer in 2011.

Leaving his original profession as an educator, Lulut pioneered the manufacture of mangrove batik, which was specially designed according to the fighting spirit he brought. By establishing Batik SeRu or the art of Batik Mangrove Rungkut Surabaya, as well as the Small and Medium Enterprises Cooperative (UKM) Griya Karya Tiara Kusuma which aims to promote and distribute mangrove products produced by local residents, Lulut wants mangroves to become a new icon of the city of Surabaya known as wide community.

“This batik is the only batik icon of the environment, we hope it will become the flagship of the region and encourage many people to do the same thing, but not copy it,” said the Chairman of the Environmental Care Forum (FPL) Rungkut District in 2007.

Currently, there are 2,017 batik motifs in place, from which it is hoped that thousands of environmental-themed batik designs will emerge. By using the five fingers management system, Lulut hopes that the batik made is not only for sale, but also for environmental conservation.

“Mangrove batik is not just for making batik and continuing to be sold, but it must be for the environment, for conservation. Because all the sales are for conservation, all the profits are for research development, community empowerment, and for conservation,” he said.

Everyone who joins his SeRu Batik Community is required to plant mangroves. This is to prove the person’s love for the environment. Batik sold comes with a certificate, which is only issued one design per buyer. By buying the batik, the buyer also helps to plant a mangrove tree.

“If people confess, but cannot show the certification of mangrove batik, and cannot show how much profit is given for conservation, development, and research, then it is fake,” said Lulut.

“The person who works on this mangrove batik must love the environment, if he doesn’t love it, he will destroy it. That’s why mangrove batik does not use chemicals. If the ingredients are chemical, it can trigger skin cancer,” he explained.

The process of making batik with the theme of mangrove by craftsmen and environmental cadres in Rungkut District, Surabaya. Photo : Petrus Riski

Community development

In addition to Batik Mangrove, the use of mangroves and the resulting products can also be used as the basic capital for community empowerment. Communities can use mangroves from leaves, stems, roots, to the fruit into products that can bring economic value.

According to Isroi Yati, one of the environmental cadres, members of the SeRu batik community, mangroves can be used to make various products, such as food products, beverages, household items, fuel substitutes, as well as dyes and batik motifs.

It took 15 years to empower the people in Pamurbaya, namely 3 years as entrepreneurs, 3 years later developing superior villages, 3 then leading areas, 3 years later becoming local regional superiors.

“It could be for food, it could be for drinks. Can be made cakes, sticks, bakery (bread), tempeh. Can also be made for soap, floor cleaner. The waste is used for batik dyes. The dregs can be used as a substitute for fuel, or briquettes. All of that can be sold,” said Isroi, an environmental cadre from Kedung Asri, Surabaya.

Environmental activist Lulut Sri Yuliani, the originator of mangrove batik, is the recipient of the Kalpataru award for the 2011 environmental pioneer category.

Isroi admitted that at first he did not know the benefits of mangroves. However, with the information and knowledge provided by Lulut and other environmental cadres, he is increasingly aware of the benefits of mangroves and the processing that can be made from mangrove products.

“Like mangrove syrup, besides having a sweet taste like honey, it also contains a lot of vitamin C which is useful for skin nutrition. I once had severe fever, sore throat, after drinking mangrove syrup, thank God, I recovered in 2 days,” he said.

Leaves and yeast from mangroves can also be used to make tempeh, which is different from ordinary tempeh. In addition to a different taste, tempeh from mangroves is believed to be rich in vitamins and nutrients from marine products. “For tempeh, the taste is more delicious, because it contains salt and vitamins from marine animals such as fish and shrimp. So it’s tastier and more durable,” he added. Lulut added that community empowerment through mangroves is believed to be able to improve the mangrove forest ecosystem which has been damaged by human activities. In addition to empowering the community, awareness to take part in protecting the environment, in this case the mangrove forest ecosystem, will be able to transmit the movement to care for the environment in other areas. Environmental activist Lulut Sri Yuliani, the originator of mangrove batik, received the Kalpataru award for the 2011 environmental pioneer category.

Environmental activist Lulut Sri Yuliani, the originator of mangrove batik, is the recipient of the Kalpataru award for the 2011 environmental pioneer category.

“We also disseminate this to outside Surabaya, such as Malang, Pasuruan, Jember, Mojokerto, Madura, and even outside islands such as Kalimantan. We hope that our mangroves are maintained and sustainable, while the community can still benefit economically from this environmental care movement,” said Lulut, who targets that the damage to the mangrove forest ecosystem will no longer exist in the next 25 years.

Source: mongabay