This essay was submitted to participate in Bayer Young Environmental Essay 2006 Competition. I made it and I was invited to come to the interview selection in Bogor. I moved on to the Grand Finale session and was invited to take part in the BYEE Eco Camp 2006 in Puspiptek, Serpong, Tangerang. Unfortunately, my lucky star didn’t bring me to win the ticket to Leverkusen, Germany; though I went there eventually in 2007, magnificent…
(Mohammad Reiza – President University)
The wheel of all activities in life is human. It is the people who activate all the ideas and the developments in this ever-changing world. There are illiteracy and education problems in Indonesia. Based on this serious issue, I am organizing a so-called people empowerment program, whose main objective is to create behavioral change toward environmental awareness and sustainable living. To reinforce the success of this program, I have been actively involved in environmental issues for the past four years.
In 2002, I joined Teenage Ambassador of Indonesia Program held by Indonesian Ministry of National Education and AEON 1% Club Japan. It was about “youth empowerment” program through introductory of diverse Japanese environmental issue. This program encouraged me to join the panel of judges of Surabaya Cleanliness Competition 2003 held by the City Government of Surabaya. I also participated in a tree planting program for Surabaya City Park before getting involved in the opening of “City Park” by the former Environment Minister, Nabiel Makarim.
During my study at President University, I have formulated other environmental-related programs. Through the community development program, I empower local people to be more environmentally aware and help them solve some environmental problems in their area by creating a pilot project of environmentally friendly garbage bin that separates different types of garbage. Currently, they are handling the garbage problems by themselves.
Furthermore, I also regularly visit an orphanage to empower the orphans towards environmental awareness and education. As well, I have been working in collaboration with a national newspaper to expose the program. As a result, some friends are encouraged to organize similar activities in the neighborhood near the university.
In 2005, I joined Teenage Ambassador Alumni Meeting in Japan that was attended by around 200 teenage ambassador alumnus of AEON 1% Club from 11 countries. We participated in tree planting festival in Nagoya. Afterwards, I organized an environmental campaign in the university. In addition, I was asked by the university to present my paper in a seminar on people empowerment. My paper is now being published in the university scientific journal.
I am developing the concept of people empowerment and the purpose of this is to empower people with multiple skills and knowledge, especially in environmental issues. I approach local people surround the university with its developing economy through the integration of environmental problems with economic values. I work together with my university friends and lecturers to make these environmental projects successful.
The objectives and the results of these programs are the development of their skills in turning environmental problems into economic values as well as improvement of their living standard. If people are introduced to simple ways to manage environmental problems, they will find out other possible ways by themselves.
In my opinion, as scholars, we have to be actively involved in changing the mindset of Indonesian people through people empowerment program, which will result in behavioral change towards environmental awareness to improve and develop Indonesia’s sustainable living quality.