Contested values and climate change mitigation in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
Anu Lounela University of Helsinki

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Climate change mitigation pilot projects (REDD+ – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) affect and interact with the local population in Central Kalimantan and many other parts of Indonesia. Rather than being politically and economically neutral activities, climate change mitigation projects tend to objectify the value of carbon, land and labour, contributing to a process of commodification of nature and social relations. In this specific case study, a set of values – equality and autonomy – central to the Ngaju people, the indigenous population in Central Kalimantan, become contested in the course of the climate change mitigation project. These central values are produced in everyday activities that include mobility and the productive base – subsistence and market‐based production – among the Ngaju people. On the other hand, the climate change mitigation project‐related environmental practices and actions produce values that point to individual (material) benefit and stratification of the society. The aim of the paper is to draw attention to and create understanding of value production and related tensions in the efforts to ‘fix’ environmental degradation problems through the climate change mitigation pilot project in Central Kalimantan.

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