Indonesia Map
Image source Wikimedia Commons

There are 14,752 individual islands in Indonesia, and wrapped around each of the islands is thousands of miles of coastline – 33,999 miles  to be exact. Despite this, the ocean that surrounds the country’s islands has not urged individual citizens or government officials to develop an ecologically responsible society, even while climate change affects the nation in more ways than one.

To examine the public’s perception of climate change, among other social issues in Indonesia, GeoPoll recently conducted an exploratory study in the country. This post explains and analyzes the results of this survey that focus on climate change.

Survey Methodology

GeoPoll’s mobile application was used to conduct the survey in Indonesia. Respondents were asked about access to news information, social media usage, healthcare quality and accessibility, climate change, and economic development. Data was collected in May 2018, with a total of 101 responses from survey participants located across the nation.


Question: Select all that apply. Which of the following are consequences of climate change 1) Increased temperature 2) Increased storms & floods 3) Change in climate 4) Earthquakes 5) Volcanic eruptions 6) Landslides 7) Other 8) I don’t know


Almost a quarter of the respondents indicated that increased storms and floods were the main consequence from climate change in Indonesia. Interestingly, this data aligns with one of the country’s main ecological problems—broad stretches of land under constant flood water.

Indonesian flooding
Image source The Independent

Throughout the past three decades, the mangrove trees surrounding the Indonesian islands have been rapidly destroyed by humans. The communities living on the shore have been cutting back the mangrove trees to have better fish and shrimp farming area and to make room for rice paddies. The mangroves on the coast used to keep the ocean water levels manageable for the islands. Without the lush mangrove trees, the ocean has no barriers to keep water at bay.

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Coastal towns across Indonesia wait for tides to roll in each day. During high tide, entire communities are flooded with ocean water. The residents of these areas do not intend to move away from their tight knit fishing towns. Instead, they do their best to live with the daily flooding.

Question: Select all that apply. Which of the following are causes of climate change in Indonesia? 1) Greenhouse gas emissions 2) Cutting down trees 3) Burning of fossil fuels 4) Increasing population 5) Urbanization 6) Others 7) None


The majority of respondents replied to this question that they perceive cutting down trees as the cause of climate change in Indonesia. The next highest response rate attributes climate change in the region to greenhouse gas emissions, followed by a tie between burning fossil fuels and increasing population.

Palm oil deforestation
Image source Wikimedia Commons

The responses collected from the survey do point to deforestation as a main issue surrounding climate change in Indonesia. There are over 11.9 hectares of oil palm plantations in Indonesia. Due to the lucrative nature and global demand for palm oil, the acreage of oil palm plantations is massively increasing each year. Indonesia is the most fruitful palm oil producing nation in the world, yet this fact brings the country into the lead for global greenhouse emission levels. Behind China and the United States, Indonesia is the country emitting the most greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Harvesting palm oil involves using heavy machinery to strip land of trees that used to exist there. The harvest process is not only bad for the environment because of deforestation, but it is also harmful because of the greenhouse gasses emitted during harvest and transportation.

The Indonesian harvesters have been confronted about the issues surrounding palm oil production. The farmers respond to negative messages by saying that the economic development of Indonesia should be the focus of government and harvesting should not be regulated. Change in opinion on this subject does not seem promising.

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Question: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being not concerned at all and 10 being very concerned, how concerned are you about the effects of climate change in your country? 


Although 25% of respondents were not concerned at all with the effects of climate change in Indonesia, 55% of respondents expressed moderate to severe concern—with answers 6-9.

Most of the world’s onlookers cringe at the reality of the climate change situation and it seems as though the majority of Indonesian citizens agree. The survey responses received indicate that Indonesian citizens are aware of the ecological issues in their country—and more than half are concerned about them. 55% of respondents reported being concerned about climate change. Furthermore, when participants were asked to select causes of climate change in Indonesia, the majority of respondents answered: cutting down trees, greenhouse gas emissions, and burning fossil fuels. Each of these responses can be linked to the rampant deforestation in the country caused by palm oil. The citizens of the country do not seem blind to the effects of their nation’s environmentally damaging behavior.

The data from this exploratory GeoPoll study indicates there is need for further exploration of this topic in Indonesia. Future research on this topic will provide more insight into the awareness surrounding the ecological issues in Indonesia.

GeoPoll is highly experienced in remote data collection in hard to reach areas of the world. Our mobile surveying platform has collected information from millions of people across the globe. To learn more about how our capabilities can help your company accomplish research goals, contact us today.