Anissa S. Febrina, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
What can you do to help conserve the environment?
If making your way of life a bit greener is too much to ask, then maybe buying cute merchandise could be a more viable way to do your bit for the planet.
After a Thursday lunch, female executive Dania Wardhani walked out of a makeshift booth situated on the ground floor of Plaza Senayan, Central Jakarta, carrying four brown paper bags.
But unlike most shoppers, Dania's bags did not contain top designer shoes or the latest summer collection from one of the fancy boutiques.
Instead, Dania's shopping theme for the day was saving endangered species.
"This merchandise is cute. And buying it means I'm supporting conservation," the 26-year old said as she walked away from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) booth.
There was the Panda T-shirt, the blank cards bearing pictures of Sumatran tigers and elephants beside the slogan "save our precious butts," a pencil case and several colorful pins.
Office worker Sari Hutapea also had her attention caught by the cute merchandise.
"I have no knowledge about the environment. I'm just drawn in by this stuff," she said.
Sari ended up buying nothing, but still left with flyers about endangered species.
"People might start out being interested in our merchandise. But, as they stop by, we also hand out flyers containing information on endangered species or other green messages," WWF campaigner Maria Magdalena Lakaseru explained.
From that starting point, it then depended on each individual how far they wanted to be engaged in protecting the environment, added Dede, a fellow campaigner.
As green becomes the new black, and environmental groups start to reach out to the public by new means, it is no longer unusual to see a stuffed Orangutan toy sitting in the front of any posh boutique.
From June 11 to June 24, the Orangutan is paying a visit to Plaza Senayan, to spread a message of awareness about the endangered species.
In just three days, more than 300 people visited the WWF booth, campaigners said. Some left with merchandise, some did not. But all were at the very least reminded that some species were on the brink of extinction, in turn threatening the ecological balance.
"We do this kind of public outreach once a month and the message is usually customized. Here, we chose endangered species because it can be made to go in line with the Kid's Fair going on here," Maria said, pointing to the central atrium of the mall.
And even if environmental issues are fairly hip these days, campaigners like Maria still have to answer basic questions like "what are endangered species."
Questions like this are an entry point for further environmental knowledge for less informed visitors like Sari.
"An office worker like me knows nothing about this stuff. My nephew was the one who used to share this kind of information because the group (WWF) probably went to his school," Sari said.
It is true that Jakarta's busy bees feel far from issues such as endangered species. But this is exactly why environmental groups such as WWF are reaching out to places like shopping malls.
Outside the mall, two Greenpeace campaigners were also busy persuading passers by to stop for five minutes to listen to information about deforestation.
The five minute talks are hoped to raise environmental awareness and people's willingness to support green efforts.
Those who were interested in getting more involved were given the option of becoming active members or just passive donors to the organizations.
Even a panda pin or an Orangutan T-shirt was enough to go some way to help conserve the environment.