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Environmentalist: Youngster May Bring Change

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Head of the Sorong City Environmental Protection and Management Agency, Julian Kelly Kambu, (left), EcoNusa Foundation Youth and Public Support Manager Rina Kusuma, EcoNusa Foundation Program Director Muhammad Farid, and Head of Protected Forest Management Ina Roselina Sikirit, at the School of Eco event Basic Class Diplomacy in Sorong City, West Papua (EcoNusa Foundation/Lutfy Mairizal Putra)

Youngsters have vital roles to act as an agent of history in terms of environmental conservation. They have abundant energy to define the future condition of earth. Earth has currently been in worsening condition as environment has never been a significant consideration in economic development plan. 

The statement was addressed by the head of Sorong City’s Environmental Management and Protection Office, Julian Kelly Kambu, on the opening speech of School of Eco Diplomacy (SED) training in Sorong, West Papua, on Tuesday 22 September 2020. Head of Protected Forest Management Ina Roselina Sikirit, Greenpeace Indonesia’s head of Forest Campaign Amos Sumbung, EcoNusa’s Manager for Public and Youth Mobilization Rina Kusuma and EcoNusa’s Program Director Muhammad Farid also attended the event.

“Young people should become an agent of history to preserve environment. Formerly Soekarno demanded ten young people to rock the world, we have more than that. I believe that young people can bring change,” said Julian who is commonly dubbed ‘Pace Lingkungan’ (Environmentalist) by locals of Sorong. 

As to Julian, environmental condition is an integral part of economic development discourse. When environment is damaged, a development plan could hardly be implemented properly. On contrary, paying no attention to environment will generate natural disaster.

Let alone, Sorong is located on the areas prone to earthquake, flooding and tsunami. In July 2020, Sorong suffered from flooding and landslide that claimed five lives. The disaster was due to the C-type mining operating in Sorong Municipality. 

“Building a bridge is easy. But changing the mindset to safeguards environment is not as easily done than said. Today has given me a new spirit with the new hope of change from young people,” said Julian.

Ina Roselina Sikirit remarked that young persons should build a compassion to observe many kinds of the surrounding natural resources. When there is destruction, youth can create a network to have collaborative movement to save environment. 

“Do not ask what the country can give to us, but ask us what we can contribute to our environment. Safeguarding the ecology is one of noble deeds,” Ina said.

Greenpeace Indonesia’s Forest Campaigner Amos Sumbung  virtually said that the youth voice is needed to save environment. He cited Sorong as an example as a city with many concessions for mining and palm oil estate and it reduces the forest areas. The participants of SED Sorong training are expected to become young green activist as done by the Swedish, Greta Thunberg, who is consistently articulating climate change issues to international forums. 

“Young people can analyze and make many questions. Are there any environmental problems in your surrounding? What is the solution? Is there any community or individual for it? If there is no, you have to take parts. What action plan that you could be done,” said Amos.  

Elementary SED class in Sorong was attended by twenty young people from Sorong Municipality. SED was held from 22-25 September 2020. During the training, the participants engaged in discussions with some experts and inspiring young figures from Tanah Papua. They had field visits to Trash Bank in Sorong and Klawalu Mangrove forest while learning their knowledge on planning an action for environmental change.

“We hope this training could raise awareness among the youngsters in Sorong and concerns with environmental issues in their hometown. They are expectedly to collaboratively do positive changes in the future so that they can be proud of themselves as the agent of ecological change in Sorong Municipality and other regions on earth,” said Muhammad Farid, EcoNusa’s Program Director, on his opening speech of SED event.

Peninjau: V. Arnila Wulandani

Editor: Leo Wahyudi

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