Inside the Sinking of Jakarta & The Move to Borneo


in this episode

Indonesia is one of the fastest growing countries in the world, with nearly 280M people to date, close to the size of the UA. It’s capital city, Jakarta, is now sinking. Due to it’s local water system, poor city planning, and climate change, if some of the 10M people do not get out of Jakarta, nearly half of the city could be underwater by 2050.

In August of 2019, the Indonesian president Joko Widodo, announced plans to build a new capital city in East Kalimantan in Borneo, a vital island home to rich peatland rainforest and one of only two remaining islands housing orangutans. Borneo has already been decimated for decades by the palm oil industry, and just as that industry is starting to curtail and get regulated, this new problem emerges.

Indonesian officials say they can move 1.5M people to Borneo without threatening the ecosystem and it’s wildlife, but many have doubts on how that is possible. There are still many details to be worked out and announced.

Today we sit down with Juliarta Barmansa Ottay – or, Arta – an Indonesia biologist working with the Borneo Nature Foundation, to discuss these plans and the future of Borneo, one of the most sacred and critical rainforests in the world.

Please also checkout the work of the Borneo Nature Foundation online, and make a donation to support their work if you can!


(1:22) Intro to Modern Indonesia
(9:20) Indonesia Officials & Local Communities
(10:42) The Sinking of Jakarta
(17:32) Who is being asked to move to the Borneo Capital?
(20:12) What will impact be on orangutans and other Borneo wildlife
(23:57) Why was Borneo chosen?
(27:15) Do we know how to do this well without damaging the environment?
(29:00) The relationship between economic growth & population growth
(33:36) Climate impact of losing Borneo’s peatland ecosystem
(38:12) Indonesian’s relationship with the palm oil industry
(42:40) The double standard Western countries hold on developing countries
(52:56) The Borneo Nature Foundation