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Green State Vision is an Indigenous Melanesian Wisdom to Solve Global Environmental Problem within West Papua Nation-State

Opening Remarks

West Papua Provisional Government of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), under the leadership of Interim-President Hon. Benny Wenda. Hon. Benny declared the Constitution of West Papua and officiated the Provisional Government of West Papua on December 1st, 2020 that West Papua.

It was announced early 2021 that the vision of the newly formed government of West Papua was a “Green Vision” to complement “Blue Pacific Continent” being promoted fellow Melanesian leaders within the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

What is Green State Vision?

There are varieties of interpretations of the “Green State Vision” of West Papua, however, I would like to elaborate from the perspective of a Melanesian Tribal Elder, Amunggut Tabi, from one of the tribes in West Papua.

Green State for a tribal elder, or commonly for tribal peoples means “Leave us Alone!” and “Let us show you the way to live and to be as human beings on this Planet Earth”.

“Leave us Alone!” as who we are, how we are, where we are, however we are. No need to be worried or concerned about us. “Just leave us alone!” We do not need human rights campaigners or any religious or environmental organisations to come and teach us how to live according to the Laws of the Nature (laws of the universe).

“Let us show you the way to live and to be as human beings on this Planet Earth” means we are now more than ready to show to the world how Melanesians in New Guinea Island have been keeping this Second Largest Island on Earth as Green and the largest Ocean on the Planet Earth as blue as they are.

Green State Vision: “Leave us Alone!”

The slogan of “Leave us Alone!” has been voiced throughout the campaigns a free and independent West Papua in the last three decades since the founder and Secertary-General of the Koteka Tribal Assembly (Dewan Musywarah Masyarakat Adat Koteka – DEMMAK): Sem Karoba and Benny Wenda began their campaigns in the United Kingdom in 1998, then across Europe and finally around the world since 2002.

This slogan does not mean foreigners are unwelcome in West Papua. It rather means, everyone is welcome. It rather means everyone is not just welcome, but is respected as who and how they are. It means everyone is welcome to West Papua and afterwards to accept whatever we have, whoever we are and however we are as Melanesian peoples in our homeland: West Papua. There is no need for anyone to feel that we are poor, we need money, we need more buildings, we need more roads, and so on. We are not, and we never did ask for anyone in the whole world to come and help us. We never needed any help from anyone in whole world. We are just okay, we are still okay, and we will be still alright all along. There is no need for anyone to think or do anything about us.

If God ever asked any foreigners to come and help us, then just do so not by blaming, negating, and finally destroying who and how we are, but come by respecting what God had created and placed in this Island: spirits, plants, animals, humans, landscapes, skyscapes, and seascapes.

There is no need to change, no need to do anything on any of the things that exist in this Island. We are just fine, and very well.

Green State Vision is a re-statement of this slogan, a modern version of saying the same thing. However, it has more weight for two reasons. The first one is because this statement is now made by a Provisional Government of a new Nation-State-in-waiting called, The Republic of West Papua, or perhaps it will be called the Confederal Republic of West Papua, only the time will tell.

The second reason is because at this very moment, the year 2019-2021 is the time when the world is facing real, deadly and serious existential challenges due to the Coronavirus 19 Pandemic and global warming that causes climate change followed by various environmental disasters. In the last two years only, the world has heard openly and clearly, messages coming from the Crown Prince of Wales and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, that human beings are now facing serious environmental catastrophe caused by human own mistake. First of all, as Prince Charles says, for thinking that human beings are separate and therefore different from Nature, and secondly, for treating Nature as a separate entity, unrelated and un-connected to human beings.

The Prince of Wales is a Tribal Elder from the United Kingdom

The Prince of Wales is a Tribal Elder from the United Kingdom, that holds the same worldview on life and the environment and therefore, has the same vision as any tribal elder. Tribal Elders exist first of all because they are dedicated to sacrifice anything they have for the security and betterment of the society. Secondly, it is because they have clear vision and with that vision, lead their people towards a better future. There is no tribal elder in the world that will sacrifice his/ her people for the sake of money or pride or prestige.

One of the examples is this YouTube.com video entitled, “The Prince of Wales’ Half Term Nature Challenge” that can be accessed at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVdu9HzD-CM> features on February Half Term 2021. The Youtube.com description says, “The Prince of Wales is inviting parents and their children to take part in nature-based challenges “. The emphasis here is how amazing nature is and what nature does for us. In other words, how we are and how we do for ourselves. He emphasizes how nature exists and operates, and that we human beings need to get in touch with nature and understand and communicate with nature in order to understand how we operate in this life, inside and outside our physical bodies.

Let us read the following quote, directly from the Prince of Wales, as reported by Royal Correspondent, Rhiannon Mills:

“See for instance, how many birds you can spot; plant the seeds left from cooking vegetables and see how long it takes them to sprout; decorate pebbles, stones or shells.”

“And actually it’s been one of the nice things, seeing children outside playing in the parks, playing together when they were able to do so, and I think that there is a lot of interest now in connecting with the natural world.”[1]

First of all, the Prince of Wales is encouraging the children, talking about children, not adult, not parents. Why? The most obvious reason is that children are the future, and parents are the past. If we want a better future, and if Prince Charles wanted the future human beings to be environmentally friendly humans, then he will definitely spend more time and energy talking to children, investing more with the future generation, the hope, rather than the past, the history, that clearly have contributed to the disaster that we face today.

The second thing to note is that the Prince of Wales is saying that the nature has lessons to pass on to children, therefore, children should spend more time interacting with nature. When children understand how nature works, they will automatically appreciate how their own being works as a living being on this planet Earth.

The tribal elder of West Papua as saying, “Leave us alone!” means, anyone who comes here, anyone who interact with us here, please do so with due respect to the norms, values and systems that operate in life particularly in New Guinea and Melanesia in general.

António Guterres is an Italian Tribal Elder that Lead the United Nations

António Guterres is an Italian Tribal Elder by tribe that Lead the United Nations by his role as an elder. Guterres says, “It’s time to make peace with nature, UN chief urges”[2] The subtitle of the article says, “The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has described the fight against the climate crisis as the top priority for the 21st Century, in a passionate, uncompromising speech delivered on Wednesday at Columbia University in New York.”

Again, elders speak for the sake and on behalf of those they represent. The UN Secretary-General is representing human beings, speaking to human beings, in relation to nature and current natural phenomenon that human have to understand and wisely interact.

Even though the UN Chief says “Nature always strikes back”, the matter of fact according to Melanesian elders is that nature does not fights back, but what it does is automatically and uncompromisingly balances itself out whenever imbalances occur at any point of time and place. The balancing act of nature is called the Judgement According to the Laws of Nature.

Secondly, Elder António Guterres says in his second subtitle that it is ‘Time to flick the green switch’. What is “Green Switch”, if not Green State Vision? The question here is whether or not the “switch” is “Big Green” or “small green”, is it “green politics” or “Green State Vision”; is it “green” as a political agenda or “green as a way of life?

Three issues were addressed by the UN Secretary-General: climate, bio-diversity and omission.[3] In this event, the UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen will officially launch a new report, Making Peace with Nature, during an online press briefing. “I want to be clear, without nature itself, we will not strive or even survive”. Yes, it clearly shows that two elders are speaking about nature with somewhat different perspective. Prince Charles is saying humans are nature, part of nature, whereas Guterres says nature and human beings are two separate entities that should make peace. However, the purpose of the two messages is that there is no life without nature, and human beings cannot live by destroying nature. They both agree that human beings have to humble ourselves and agree that our way of life that undermine and ignore the importance of nature, and therefore violates the rights of nature to exist according to the Laws of Nature is not only abusive, but is suicidal, and at some degree, it is more than foolish to think and behave in that way.

Below is the quote of Guterres’ speech entitled, “U.N. Chief António Guterres: ‘Making Peace With Nature Is The Defining Task Of The Century’”:[4]

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres:

President Bollinger,

Dear friends,

I thank Columbia University for hosting this gathering — and I welcome those joining online around the world.

We meet in this unusual way as we enter the last month of this most unusual year.

We are facing a devastating pandemic, new heights of global heating, new lows of ecological degradation and new setbacks in our work towards global goals for more equitable, inclusive and sustainable development.

To put it simply, the state of the planet is broken.

Dear friends,

Humanity is waging war on nature.

This is suicidal.

Nature always strikes back — and it is already doing so with growing force and fury.

Biodiversity is collapsing.  One million species are at risk of extinction.

Ecosystems are disappearing before our eyes.

Deserts are spreading.

Wetlands are being lost.

Every year, we lose 10 million hectares of forests.

Oceans are overfished — and choking with plastic waste.  The carbon dioxide they absorb is acidifying the seas.

Coral reefs are bleached and dying.

Air and water pollution are killing 9 million people annually – more than six times the current toll of the pandemic.

And with people and livestock encroaching further into animal habitats and disrupting wild spaces, we could see more viruses and other disease-causing agents jump from animals to humans.

Let’s not forget that 75 per cent of new and emerging human infectious diseases are zoonotic.

Today, two new authoritative reports from the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme spell out how close we are to climate catastrophe.

2020 is on track to be one of the three warmest years on record globally – even with the cooling effect of this year’s La Nina.

The past decade was the hottest in human history.

The only way forward is the make peace with nature. We cannot do anything else. We cannot fight back. We cannot continue with our conventional way of thinking and practices in life.

Amunggut Tabi: A Melanesian Tribal Elder from West Papua

Amunggut Tabi says “Green State Vision” of West Papua Nation-State is about turning the “Big Green Switch” for ensuring this planet Earth stay habitable for life for another century, if not until the next era. It is not about a political agenda. Neither is it a project, such as Green Park Project, or Green Investment Policy. This is not a green political ideology either. Green State Vision is talking about a way of life and a way of living on this planet Earth, primarily on the Isle of New Guinea. It is proposing the swift in how we run a modern or post postmodern nation-state, not aiming at economic welfare or prosperity, anthropocentric democracy or human rights.

We are talking about the rights of all communities of beings: spirits, plants, animals (including human beings), mater, scapes (landscapes, skyscapes and seascapes).

Green State Vision of West Papua means Melanesians in West Papua know how to live peacefully in nature, that we call, simply-joyful life, that is commonly known as life in harmony with nature. The life in harmony with nature means living according to the Laws of Nature, life with primary concern and focus on the “balance” of life and living.

As tribal elders, we in Melanesia look after our lives by emphasizing the “balance”, not the needs and wants, not the wishes and ambitions of human beings. As tribal elders, we in Melanesia always think and speak about what is the impacts of what I say and/ or do to others: be it spirits, plants, animals, matter, scapes or even other human beings. If cutting down a tree might bring about flood, or might not be good for spirits around the area, that we in Melanesia do not cut down certain trees and in certain areas, and also at certain times, and in certain ways. We know when to hunt or go fishing, and when not to do so. How to hunt and fish and the restrictions and taboos on certain things, places, times and ways.

Making peace with nature does not just mean stopping deforestation and planting more trees. It should mean declaring more nation-states as Green States. Not just by promoting and funding green political parties around the world, but more importantly encouraging more Green Nation-States to emerge on global political arena.

Green State Vision: We Are Ready to Lead the World in Saving Third Largest Rainforests on Earth and the Third Tropical Glaciers on Earth

The report from WWF Panda says human inhabitants in New Guinea lived in this island since the last 40,000 years:

About 40,000 years ago, a primitive boat with a group of humans landed on New Guinea for the first time. From archaeological, linguistic and biological evidence, it is thought that these first visitors, the Papuans, are the oldest human residents of New Guinea.

Today, more than 80% of the island’s people live outside of towns and follow a largely subsistence lifestyle. Natural resources provide for basic needs that cover food, education, health and other needs.[5]

This quote clearly explains the human life in the past and at present time. The Papuans as the oldest human residents of New Guinea, and one of the tribes belong to Elder Amunggut Tabi. And today, more than 80% of those New Guinea Islanders live outside towns, including Elder Amunggut Tabi. We speak representing the past and the present, for our collective future.

Green State Vision of West Papua means

  • Yes, we have kept this New Guinea Island as it is today;
  • Yes, we have kept this Melanesian archipelago as blue as it is today;
  • Yes, we have kept New Guinea bio-diversity and cultural diversity as diverse and unique in this planet Earth;
  • Yes, we have kept the third rainforests on planet Earth to stay green for millennia;
  • Yes, we have kept the third tropical glaciers to stay as ice for millennia;
  • Yes, therefore, we know how to keep our Islands green and our waters blue, as green and as blue as possible.
  • Therefore, we are the people on this planet Earth that are coming out to proclaim how to life at peace with Nature, how to life in harmony: the balanced way of life, according to Melanesian wisdom.

We do not need any environmentalists or anthropologist from the West or modern community to come and teach us about how to make peace with nature. We are the experts, we have proven it for centuries, we are ready to teach the world about it.

As Papua New Guinea, the eastern half of New Guinea Island is leading the Rainforest Alliance movement, “REDD+”, i.e., Reducing Emissions from Deforestation, Forest Degradation with the “+” stands for the role of Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests, and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks”,[6] West Papua on the western half of the Island is standing up now with Green State Vision, a vision that encapsulates the indigenous perspectives and paradigms of life and living, of planning and development, of running a modern government within indigenous norms, values and systems.[7]

Green State Vision: “Indigenous Peoples in Modern Nation-State”

The presence of nation-states means the absence of indigenous tribal systems of governance, norms and values. In Karl Marx’s stages of social development, it is said that when modernity arrived, there is no more tribalism, or primitive communism. Amunggut Tabi says that this is proven to be untrue today as tribal people in Melanesia still exist today, inside modern nation states called West Papua, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Kanaky.

Green State Vision is about tribal people establishing a modern nation-state with current political, social and environmental phenomenon, utilizing indigenous or primitive communist wisdom for a better future, and for life on New Guinea Island and consequently on planet Earth.

West Papua’s Green State Vision talks about advocating the rights of indigenous peoples in West Papua to gain their external self-determination according to the United Nations Declarations of the Rights of Indigenous Populations, particularly Article 3.

West Papua’s Green State Vision envisions the future of human kind and all creature on this planet to live in harmony. No more deforestation! No more anthropocentric development paradigm. No more economic-oriented development projects. No more purely scienced-based policies.

West Papua’s Green State Vision means not only striving to exist as indigenous peoples in modern era, but also to lead life on this planet Earth into the next era, teaching humanity about how to live at peace with nature: both inside and outside, as microcosm and as macrocosm; individually and collectively, locally and globally.

Green State Vision: “Indigenous Peoples in Modern Nation-State” is about Melanesians standing up as the models for the world conservation movement and efforts, to carry our conservation according to Melanesian perspectives, paradigms, and approaches, that is to say, in a Melanesian Way.

The Melanesian Way Conservation is the Conservation that prioritizes the “hearts” rather than minds, the sense rather than logic, the spirits rather than the materialistic needs and wants.

Final Remarks

Among all indigenous people of the world, we Melanesian are proud to proclaim to the world, that we Melanesians are the only human beings on this planet Earth that have been living in many different eras in one life-time. Jared Diamond, an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist says:

… Diamond first confronted some fifty years ago when, as an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist, he was in the New Guinea Highlands and his indigenous helpers introduced him to an other way of thinking, behaving and understanding the world around themselves.

It is a book of extensive personal experience and insight derived from visiting and studying remote forest villages of highland New Guinea over fifty years.

Professor Diamond has taken on the huge and provocative subject of who has got it right: the technologically advanced westerners or the small-scale egalitarian hunter-gatherer groups of 50 to 100 individuals living in direct contact with nature.[8]

His book’s subtitle says it all, “What can We Learn from Traditional Societies?” And the Green State Vision is saying, “What We Can Teach to Modern Societies”. We Melanesians have wisdom, knowledge, experience, and therefore, we are capable and we have authority to come to the world stage campaigning and demonstrating how we humans should life on this planet Earth, primarily by demonstrating it inside a modern nation-state called, “The Confederal Republic of West Papua” or the Republic of West Papua.

The Republic of West Papua, is therefore, to be established not based on Human Rights, Democracy and Modern Legal Principles, but it will be established based on the rights of all communities of beings, based on the Laws of the Nature that cannot and can never be challenged and defeated by any other laws that ever existed in human history.

The Republic of West Papua, is therefore, a modern nation-state, established based on indigenous principles, norms, values and systems of life and government.

Both Prince of Wales and Guterres understand well that this year, and today is the time for all human beings to befriend with nature, make peace with nature, interact with nature, learn from nature, appreciate nature, and develop strategies to grow in line with the development and dynamics of the nature. Green State Vision of West Papua is just doing that.

[1] COVID-19: Prince Charles encourages children to explore nature and ‘decorate pebbles’ in bid to tackle lockdown boredom, by Rhiannon Mills, Royal correspondent @SkyRhiannon, https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-prince-charles-encourages-children-to-explore-nature-and-decorate-pebbles-in-bid-to-tackle-lockdown-boredom-12217516

[2] Climate Action: It’s time to make peace with nature, UN chief urges, 3 December 2020, By: UN News, can be accessed at <https://www.un.org/africarenewal/news/climate-action-it%E2%80%99s-time-make-peace-nature-un-chief-urges>

[3] LAUNCH: MAKING PEACE WITH NATURE REPORT, Livestream, can be accessed at <https://www.unep.org/environmentassembly/launch-making-peace-nature-report>

[4] U.N. Chief António Guterres: ‘Making Peace With Nature Is The Defining Task Of The Century’,

By Green Queen Team Published on Dec 2, 2020 Last updated Dec 2, 2020 , can be accessed at <https://www.greenqueen.com.hk/u-n-chief-antonio-guterres-making-peace-with-nature-is-the-defining-task-of-the-century/>

[5] New Guinea People, from <https://wwf.panda.org/discover/knowledge_hub/where_we_work/new_guinea_forests/area_forests_new_guinea/people_new_guinea_forests/>

[6] Reducing Emissions from Deforestation, Forest Degradation and the “+”, can be accessed at <https://pngreddplus.org/>

[7] Read more of Green State Vision at https://westppaua.country/ and https://ulmwp.worg/

[8] Book Review: The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? by Jared Diamond, Allen Lane. December 2012, can be accessed at <https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsereviewofbooks/2013/03/05/book-review-the-world-until-yesterday-what-can-we-learn-from-traditional-societies/>


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