Hot Issue, Cool Solutions

On Thursday, Sept 29, 2011, The Climate Reality Project Indonesia (TCRPI) held a workshop for the youth group at TUNZA 2011 in Bandung. I and three other fellow TCRPI presenters who teamed up for this workshop have only been communicating via emails and telephone conversations, but we eventually made it. We had our session right after lunch time, scheduled from 13:30 to 15:00, and it started unsurprisingly a bit late. The room was filled with about 25-30 young people, mostly from Indonesia (Bali, Madura, Manado, Bangka, etc.) and the Caribbean countries, and also a couple of young boys from Sri Lanka.

Our session was divided into four: Dian started first by explaining about The Climate Reality Project, then continued by Arifah who delivered the scientific background of Global Warming and Climate Change. Between the two presentations, we screened a video of a woman being rescued by her neighbor during a heavy, violent flood in Brazil. That was quite a breathtaking scene that got a conversation going in the room. The video was a part of TCRP new presentation material that we acquired only in the morning, so we wished we could have shown more of the new slides. Anyway. The third presentation by Risa explained about how we – youth – must take the stand, discussing the quitter and climber types. The fourth (and last) presentation was my part, talking about Hot Issue, Cool Solutions, pointing out what youths can do in facing the current environmental situation and in preparing a pleasant, liveable earth, by being creative and active.

At the end of the presentation, we asked if any of the audience has an experience in mobilizing his or her communities, or in conducting a project, which relates to the issue. It turned out that some of them are having ongoing projects, i.e. providing clean water for his village, managing local solid waste, etc. We could see that no matter which part of the world you come from, the problems are similar. Most of us are prone to the impacts of extreme climate, but at the same time most of us – especially young, energetic people – also have the potential to face the challenges and to improve our own environment.

Following are my slides. All images, if taken from external resources, are credited, and I’m very much indebted to greendiary.com for their post about children & youth and their activities.

Among my suggestions is for them to check their ecological footprints and compare them to those of their friends’, classmates’, neighbors’, families’, etc. See who’s most ‘harmful’ for the environment and who’s most friendly, challenge themselves to change their lifestyles into more harmless ones by reducing the widest part of their footprints. I have applied this challenge to my students in several classes, who offered surprising and entertaining solutions, all specific to their (local) situations.

Another challenge might come in the form of controlling your waste. This can also be done collectively, i.e. one classroom competing with another, to see which class comes up with most garbage by the end of the week. It can include not only the classroom facilities, such as chalkboard and cleaning substance, but also the students’ candy bar wrappers, packed juice or bottled drinks, papers, etc.

Youths and their hopes for the Earth should be heard, and in this era of global information access, social media and Internet technology, relaying messages should come in a more creative forms. Groups of youths that are active in the ecological issues can connect to similar groups abroad and share experiences, just like we did in the workshop session. They can post stories, photos, plans, to inspire and encourage others.

Children and young people now are those who will live on Earth many many years from now, so they have the right to decide the kind of world they’ll live in. And they can’t just rely merely on current decision makers, multinational companies, and all adults in general. So let’s change the world into a better place to live!

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Young Readers Edition

I got my first Al Gore book, The Inconvenient Truth, as a present on the day I defended my dissertation, January 2007. I wasn’t really in touch directly with the climate change issues, or Gore’s Climate Project, but more with the phenomena of appropriate & intermediate technology, community development through design and design development projects, the impacts of (industrial) products to ecological, economic and social-cultural systems, and such. It was much later that I acquired Our Choice, bought at a book shop at Jakarta international airport, I think. By then I was already exposed to a whole lot of things concerning The Climate Project and a variety of campaigns concerning climate change. These two books provide comprehensive explanation about the subject in a pleasant way: clear, very informative, and are rich of images and graphic information. I thought the books couldn’t be much ‘readers-friendlier’, until I found the Young Readers Edition of both.

 

Here are the books, An Inconvenient Truth and Our Choice, along with their Young Readers versions

Although I’ve read only a few pages, these versions are obviously written in a conversational style, in simple words without decreasing the messages, and have the feel of a picture book, also due to the easy font types and sizes.

Pages from the Young Readers Editions

All in all, I’m sure these books will assist me significantly in preparing materials concerning climate change, especially to young audience. To end this post, following is a quote from the Conclusion of Our Choice – Young Readers Edition, that gives the feeling of intimacy, like an uncle telling you a story:

The choices we make now will decide what the world will look like 20 or 30 years from now. Twenty years from now, if I’m still alive, I’ll be an old man. But you’ll be a young adult. […] I know that a lot of information in this book can be frightening. But I still have hope that the world can come together to end the climate crisis, and I really believe it will – when all of us insist on it. I hope that when you’re an adult, you’ll be able to tell the great story of how you saw the world change for the better.

Why don’t we just live in another planet?

That question, asked by a 7 y.o. boy, was among the questions Nada and I received after presenting about Climate Change to students and teachers of Cendekia Leadership School (CLS) that morning. Nada (she’s 12 years old, now sits in Grade 7 of SMPN5 Bandung), answered wisely. “We’re not sure if we can survive in another planet’s atmosphere, and we’d need water, too”, said she, “Besides, it’s not nice if we move away from the one we’re destroying already, leaving it broken, then destroy the next one”. More questions that followed didn’t subside, although we were already running out of presents (a booklet from The Body Shop) for those who asked. These questions were a response to the slides and videos within the theme Climate Change, what is it actually?, which we presented in front of about 90 CLS students and teachers.

The opening page of our presentation

Among the slides, next to a number of decks from Al Gore’s materials (translated into Indonesian), were extra slides depicting natural disasters in Indonesia that were related to human activities, and a couple of videos, among other are 7 Billion (National Geographic Magazine) and Halo, Bumi! (Hello, Earth!), a work of a group of students from Design & Sustainability class at ITB. Our points of presentation were the cause of temperature change in the atmosphere, the significant impacts it can cause to the earth’s surface – especially the damages, how human beings contribute to the causes, and also our attempts to prevent and mend the damages.

Nada, explaining

Reactions from our 6-13 years old audiences were a combination of wonders, sometimes affections (when shown an image of a group of penguins standing on top of a drifting ice block), sometimes fascinations (when shown the image of a giant jellyfish), and sometimes also exasperation (when shown an image of a heavily polluted river, and of a person sawing a huge tree).

Audience

Nada, also a Climate Presenter and Inconvenient Youth member, has helped a lot during the preparation of the slides. Bearing similar age to the audience, she picked images and videos that might interest the audience and also selected out some that might bore them, or are considered too complicated. Also, since she also did a part of the presentation herself, the kids perhaps felt as if it’s an older sister or a friend who’s telling them a story. Therefore the discussion session that came afterward didn’t need any pause until they raised their hands for questions.

Raising hands

The first ones were questions such as, “Where did you get those videos?”, or “How come it takes so long for those high school students to finish their baso?” (referring to Halo, Bumi! video). The next ones were more focused, such as, “What kinds of gases are dangerous for our atmosphere?”, “Where do those gases come from?”, “Why do we need oxygen to live?”, “Where can we get seeds to plant?”, “We like to plant trees, but where can we do it if everywhere is already full of buildings and streets?”. Some more were actually quite deep, “Why do human beings have to damage the environment they’re living in?”, or radical, “Why can’t we all just die, so trees can continue to live?”

All in all, it was an overwhelming experience. For me, it’s because I’ve never been presenting as a duet before, especially with a 12 y.o. girl, also because I’ve never really been a teacher for elementary school kids for a rather complicated subject. Moreover, these kids are eager and critical. It’s not a simple job to satisfy them with our answers.

 

p.s. More about The Climate Project:

The Climate Project: http://www.theclimateprojectus.org/

The Climate Project Indonesia (TCP Indonesia): http://www.tcpindonesia.org/

TCP Indonesia in Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TCPIndonesia

 

p.p.s. After the morning hard work, we deserved some yummy lunch!

Lunch

 

Climate Change: What have designers got to do with it?

This post will contain slides from my presentation titled Climate Change: What have designers got to do with it? for Product Design Focus #3 at Padi Art Ground, Bandung, January 31, 2011.

TCP AsPac Summit 2011 Group Photo

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned about participating in The Climate Project Asia-Pacific Summit 2011. Here’s one of the group photos with Al Gore. The one with me in it, too, of course 😀 (upper row, fifth from the right, shabby hair, wearing black).

GROUP6 TCP AP SUMMIT

Photo Credit: Farishad Latjuba/The Climate Project Indonesia

More group photos of that event can be viewed at The Climate Project Indonesia’s Flickr album.

Climate Change for Designers

This would be my first ‘official’ presentation about Climate Change after participating in The Climate Project Asia Pacific Summit 2011. Let’s have an exciting evening, people! 🙂

Climate Change for Designers

Scribbles: The Climate Project Asia-Pacific Summit 2011

The most exciting occurrence that kicked 2011 for me was being participating in The Climate Project Asia-Pacific Summit that was held in Jakarta for three days. Al Gore himself came, spoke and trained us about climate change, its consequences and solutions. His team also gave us comprehensive materials concerning the science of climate change, also the arts of presenting yourself and your materials in order to be able to relay the important messages to your audience.

I might run over that subject some other time, but this time I’m just going to put a link to scribbles I’ve made during the sessions. This scribbling is a habit I have ever since I attended school, of course in different forms; the styles have been evolving. I drew these while listening to all speakers (except when we were told to do activities), so some things might not be comprehensible unless you were in the same room with me those days. Here’s the link to all 23 pages: The Climate Project Asia-Pacific Summit 2001 Scribbles.

Such is the look of the sketches

Each segment has its own story, that’s why it might take a long while to explain everything. But you are very welcome to ask.