I wanted to dedicate a blog post to Indonesia itself– a country not often discussed in conversations back in Canada. When I told my friends and family that I was going to be working in Jakarta, they often asked, “where is that?” 

I, myself knew very little about Indonesia before coming here. So, I thought it would be fitting to share some things I have learned about this country and city throughout the past five months. In particular, I wanted to shed some light on the environmental impacts of climate change on the city itself, since Indonesia does not get as much attention in Western media compared to its other Southeast Asian counterparts like Thailand or Vietnam. In doing so, I also wanted to celebrate the positive actions the government has taken to address the environmental challenges the city faces.  


Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, consisting of roughly 17,500 islands, of which 7,000 are uninhabited. Indonesia’s population sits at roughly 280 million people– over half of which are located on the island of Java. Indonesia is also the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world. It is home to over 1,340 ethnic groups and hundreds of languages spoken– it is arguably one of the most geographically and culturally diverse countries on the planet. It is rich in lush forests, beautiful beaches, and massive volcanoes. The country is a biodiversity hotspot with many types of wildlife found only here. Indonesia has a rich history and culture that has been influenced by its strategic location and history as a trading hub.


Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia, with a population of more than 10 million people. Located on the northwest coast of Java, it is the economic and political center of the country. However, Jakarta is also one of the most vulnerable cities in the world to the impacts of climate change.

Rising sea levels and coastal erosion are major concerns for Jakarta. The city is built on low-lying land and is at risk of flooding from both the sea and rivers. This is partially due to rising sea levels and the rapid extraction of groundwater throughout the city. In 2007, a major flood hit the city, which caused widespread damage and disruption. In addition, Jakarta is also facing air pollution and other environmental problems, such as waste management and deforestation.

Yearly flooding in Jakarta during monsoon season.

Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia– but perhaps not for much longer. Indonesia is planning to relocate its capital city to Nusantara, a region in the province of East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. This repositioning is to ease the demographic issues of congestion, pollution, and overcrowding that Jakarta currently faces.

Dempsey, C. (2019). Indonesia will be moving its capital. Geography realm. https://www.geographyrealm.com/indonesia-will-be-moving-its-capital/.

But this is only half of the story. Jakarta is actively working towards greener initiatives to combat these challenges. 

Positive Steps Foward

Jakarta has taken several positive steps to combat the impacts of climate change. One of the most significant actions taken by the city is the implementation of a green infrastructure plan, which aims to reduce the urban heat island effect. This is a phenomenon that occurs when urban areas are significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas. The green infrastructure plan includes the planting of trees and other vegetation, as well as the construction of green roofs and green walls. These measures help to reduce temperatures in the city by providing shade and evapotranspiration.

Jakarta has also introduced policies to reduce the city’s carbon emissions. One of these policies is the promotion of public transportation. The city has invested in the construction of a new MRT line and bus rapid transit system, which have reduced the number of cars on the road. This has not only helped to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions, but it has also improved traffic congestion in the city.

Me riding the MRT

Jakarta has also taken steps to improve the resilience of its coastal areas to the impacts of climate change. This has included the construction of sea walls and other coastal protection measures, as well as the implementation of plans to relocate communities at risk from sea level rise. 

Despite the challenges that Indonesia and Jakarta face, they are still great places to live and visit. The people of Indonesia are hardworking and resilient, and they are working to address the issues that the city and country face. As a result, Indonesia and Jakarta continue to be amazing places with a lot to offer.