“Malang is getting hotter every year”, said Sukoco’s wife Sri Winarti, 58. “Pollution is a problem. So is littering. But plants make such a big difference.” Sukoco and his wife lives in a two-story home in Malang, East Java nook, leaves no space for a forecourt. With no room to spread out, the couple has gone up – clothing their abode with a multicoloured vertical garden.
They are not alone, not far from Sukoco’s house, there’s a feeling of calm through many of the residents are busy in the alleys. The location is hard, concrete, urban, but the talk and activities are green. It’s not just individuals’ homes that are flooded with plants, but also every spot on the sidewalk has a pot. The locals call their project “Glintung Go Green”.
The idea was first triggered by agricultural advisor Bambang Trianto 7 years ago, when he was elected RW (Rukun Warga – community leader). He tried to persuade residents to garden. But then his successor was not so keen, and the project faltered. Bambang’s family moved to Jakarta in 2017 and decided to lead in their new home by doing, not directing.
There are many awards and notice board of visitor’s compliments decorate one wall in Bambang’s house. One of them is a message from Michale Clifton, formerly of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission. The contents are; “privileged to witness an inspiring model of community pride in action. Powerful proof of the power of passion and leadership to change lives.”
Bambang and his wife, Erni Irianto, 62, are building a seminar room where the principles of conservation, composing, recycling, and developing the green economy can be taught. He said “the most effective way to explain the benefits of going green is by example. That’s what we’re doing”.