The sea, the wall and the power of destroyed nature


If Irma Susanti wants to see her city sink, she just has to go out the door. Three steps, and the woman in the colorful dress stands by the concrete wall, which keeps the sea from sloshing into her apartment. Meanwhile, Irma needs a ladder if she wants to climb the wall. When she moved here a few years ago, to Muara Baru, a slum area in the north of Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, the defensive wall was a meter and a half high. Now he measures 2.30 meters.

But that's no longer enough. When it rains heavily, dark brown, stinking broth floods into her house. Then there is the 30-year-old, married, two small daughters, the Java Sea back in the kitchen. With all the trash floating on the other side of the wall: old tires, flip-flops, used plastic cups and plastic bags, even condoms. A dense, disgusting carpet of dirt.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has summed up the threat of climate change with a summary of its three most recent reports. Since September 2013, the panel has published its 5th World Climate Report in three parts. Although he had shown that climate change is progressing with power and the human has a huge share in it. However, the researchers also made it clear that the increase in temperature with global use can still be slowed down and a rapid switch to alternative energy costs little.

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"I was already up to my waist in the water and I drew and scooped," says Irma. It is worst in January and February, when the big rain comes and sometimes the tide. Now the sun is shining. She is sitting on the bench with a neighbor, the one-and-a-half-year-old girl in her arms, the older woman next to her. "I notice that the water is getting higher and higher, and that it's going faster, but my husband is a fisherman, we can not leave."

That's how hundreds of thousands are here. In the harbor basin of Muara Baru and in other quarters along the coast, one can guess what the mega-city, which stands on badly muddy ground, might expect at some point. Today, 20 percent of Jakarta is below sea level. By 2050, according to a forecast by the Bandung Institute of Technology, BIT for short, it will be between 35 and 40 percent.

Probably no other city in the world sinks faster, even if big cities like Bangkok have similar problems. In Jakarta, the consequences of man-made environmental changes can already be experienced today to an extent that hardly anyone in Germany can imagine. Only that the vast majority of the population is not really interested. Something like a "Fridays for Future" movement does not exist in Indonesia.

Worst affected are the coastal areas in Jakarta's north, where the poorer people live. Here the soil sags every year by up to 20 centimeters. The BIT believes that in 30 years 95 percent of the land will be flooded. Just like the Wall Adhuna Mosque today, ten minutes walk from Irma. Nobody has prayed in the church for a long time.

In 2005, the mosque was left to the sea. Given up. That was before the protective wall was built. Now it rises like a memorial of the Apocalypse from the water. The roof is half collapsed. The walls are crooked, covered with mold. Until a while ago a dome with a crescent sat on the dome. But it somehow got lost.

The children from the slums who used to play here are also gone. In the meantime, you would have to walk 50 meters out of the wall. The dirt is too much even for them. Only a small boy paddles on a homemade raft, his feet in the water.

Almost half a millennium, Indonesia's capital on the north coast of the island of Java is already old. It was founded in 1527. The Sultan gave the settlement the name Jayakarta ("Great Victory"). In the meantime, the Dutch colonial rulers renamed the city Batavia. They tried to build a tropical New Amsterdam on the marshy foundation, with a dense network of streets and canals. There is not much left of it.

Since 1942 Jakarta has the old name again. Today, more than 30 million people live here in the metropolitan area – the center of the largest island nation in the world and also the most populous Muslim country in the world. 17,500 islands that give home to more than 265 million people. One of Asia's huge states, which are becoming increasingly important, and a reasonably functioning democracy. So many are not here.

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