WWF Opens a New Environmental Education Centre in Indonesia

The World Wildlife Fund has opened its first environmental information centre in Indonesia. Over the last decade Indonesia has had the world

INDONESIA

Sabtu, 15 Feb 2014 13:01 WIB

Author

Emma Watson

WWF Opens a New Environmental Education Centre in Indonesia

Indonesia, environment, curriculum, WWF, Emma Watson

With colourful fluffy puppets a teacher performs a story about how turtles are getting sick from swallowing rubbish that has been thrown into the sea. He is an environmental educator from the World Wildlife fund who is here as part of a day of environmental education.  8-year-old Freya is enthralled.

"Don't throw rubbish into the river or the ocean. Don't kill animals. To care for animals, you can't throw rubbish into the river. If we don't care for the environment, it will become damaged."

This is what WWF calls its Panda Mobile unit. Since 2010 they have been going around to schools in the major cities of Java teaching children about the environment.  The teachers arrive in a truck painted with Indonesia’s endangered animals: the turtle, elephant, tiger, orang-utans and the rhino.

"Because, in so many cases in Indonesia, they damage the home, the house, of the orangutan, the house of the tiger, the house of the elephant. It’s our job to make people realise we should have sustainable living."

Iqbal Hanif is in charge of today’s program. He says unlike children older people are often hard to change.

"Maybe they don't care about the environment, because they thinking about the economy and their children and other things.  “If we're giving value to the kids - if their mother isn't throwing waste in the correct place, they can say: 'Mum, why aren't you throwing rubbish in the rubbish bin?' That's the challenge - we want to make kids realise we have to save the environment."

This is the second time Sri Suryani has invited Panda Mobile to her school, Pembangunan Jaya School in Bintaro, on the outskirts of Jakarta.

"Our school, with a special curriculum, makes environmental education very important. We need to worry about that, right? Such as global warming etc.. So our expectation to invite WWF to our school is to give our students the real environmental education.”

From 2010 to 2012 Indonesia lost a staggering 15 million hectares of forest. Many of its animals are on the critically endangered list and in the major cities rubbish disposal is a huge problem. Children often throw their rubbish on the street or into waterways.  There is no official recycling system but here WWF is teaching students to reuse their waste.

Q: “What are you doing?”
A: “Making bags.”

WWF volunteer Rahadian Rajendra Basoe is surrounded by children ripping up old newspapers and cutting string.

"What's happening here is that children from grade four, primary school, are being asked to make a product - in this case a bag - from recycled material. We use whatever material we have, and as you can see here we're using old newspapers. We add a little glue and string so they can make a bag they can take to school or shopping. And that's just from recycled newspaper."

In the nearby city of Bandung WWF has just opened an environmental information centre, the first of its kind in Indonesia. It’s in a house opposite a local school. Each room as a different theme and is filled with books, puzzles and computer games. Head of WWF Dr Efransjah, says the place is for everyone—but there is a special focus on children.

"In due time, they will be the decision makers themselves. So we rely on their mindset and understanding on the future wealth of our nature."

Indonesia is implementing a new national curriculum to be rolled out by 2016. The government claims it will simplify the education system. Spokesperson for the department of education Ibnu Hamad says that environment is taught in is every subject

"For example, in Bahasa, we talk about the environment in maybe one story about the nature, the recycling and so on. After that, our students can talk in Bahasa about the issues. So we include it in Bahasa. Issues of culture, issues of natural, issues of social – many terms we have taken to make ‘good’ better and better. We took the term and included it into many, many courses. We will continue to include environmental education into our education."

But WWF believes that it’s not enough.  Their Panda Mobile aims to fill in the gaps.

"The Indonesian community still doesn't realise that environmental education is important. We can see on the street that maybe some people throw their waste at the street or in some places there are many rubbish bins, but they don't realise they have to put the waste in the right place. They don't think it's important."

After five hours of environmental education the students of The Pembangunan Jaya Brinato School seem to have learnt something.

Q.”Why is the environment around you important?”
A.”If for example there is no environment, what resources do we have?”

One girl says without the environment we have no resources left.


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