Time for Youngsters to Make a Change

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Alfa Ahoren, one of the alumni of the School of Eco Diplomacy organized by the EcoNusa Foundation in 2018 ago. (EcoNusa Foundation/I Gusti Ayu Azarine Kyla Arinta)

Alfa Ahoren, 24, is a youngster from Manokwari, West Papua. She is hailed as Alfa. Her interests in environmental issue leads her to be one of the participants of School of EcoDiplomacy in 2018 conducted by EcoNusa Foundation in Jakarta. Now she actively involves in environmental activities following SED training. One of her doings is about social and care for environment movement. Such movement lures young people and community to be involved in ecological clean-up action.

Alfa has opportunity to have virtual discussion with Siti Nurbaya, the Minister of Environment and Forestry, in a webinar discussion entitling “Millennials Generation Talk Show to Love Forest and Environment” on June 21, 2020. The following article is written to inspire young generation to have concern for environment:

“Hi millennial, I would like to greet you all. May you stay healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic. In this occasion, let me introduce myself. My name is Alfa Ahoren from Manokwari, West Papua. I am the alumnus of the first SED batch in 2018. I want to share my experiences when I had a chance to meet in person with the Minister of Environment and Forestry (MoEF), Mrs. Siti Nurbaya. It is an honour for me as a millennial from east of Indonesia to join with the other 39 audiences of the elementary, junior and senior high schools and the other millennials. They are brave and heroic peoples who share their experiences and unique stories in protecting and loving forest and environment during the talk show with Mrs Minister.

On this extraordinary opportunity, each participant has a chance to have 2 minutes to share stories before the MoEF Minister and her staffs. I was asked to share my experience when I was one of the participants of Indonesian Pavilion on the UNFCCC COP24 in Katowice, Poland, in 2018. I said to her that it was a precious moment for a millennial youngster from Papua who had a chance to show up on the Indonesian Pavilion and shared stories about Papuan forests in international level before the activists and COP24 participants from 190 countries in the world.

I was proudly telling about the natural and charming forests in Papua which makes Indonesia as the third country with the largest forests after Brazil and Africa. Forests in the Land of Papua are home to flora and fauna biodiversity. Forests are very meaningful to the indigenous people in Papua. To the Papuan peoples, “Forest is our mother”. Forest is our mother, because of forest, there is life. This belief starts from indigenous community life in Papua who always lives side by side with forest. It is the forest that gives contribution to life and economics of the Papuan peoples. “If you are silent, we are extinct.” Let’s protect forests! That was my message on that event.

My story was also about how I joined the COP24 side event and met many peoples with unique stories concerning with the various climate change issues. I also joined the street campaign together with COP24 participants conveying some messages for Earth using Papuan dialect. For instance:

 “Kalo ko diam, kitong punah (If you are silent, we are extinct)”

“Hutan adalah payung dunia (Forest is the umbrella of the world)”

Hutan itu kitong punya mama. Ada mama, ada kehidupan (Forest is our mother. When there is a mother, there is life)”

“Kalau ko jaga hutan, ko andalan (If you protect forest, you are outstanding)”

“Hutan itu sumber mata air. Kalau hutan rusak akan menjadi sumber air mata (Forest is source of water spring. If forest is devastated, it becomes the source of tears).”

 I had to contend with the spirit of COP24 participants. I spoke out those messages on the street among the other messages concerning with the various climate change issues.

I also addressed my action that I am currently doing to protect and save the earth. The action is to build awareness of young people in my hometown. Of course this is not easy thing. I do socialization and discussion dealing with waste contamination, environmental damages and forest, mobilizing environmental literacy through reading house. I also invite young people from the community to clean up beach, Eco park spot, and tree planting. What I am doing here might be deemed trivial. But, I hope my actions here are expectedly to make a change which is started from the closest surrounding within our reach. Doing so, that change will spread out to a larger scope. This is like snowball effect.

In conclusion, I have a message that youngsters are the agent of change and successor of a nation. It is them who could change the civilization. It is time to move and make a change. Our earth needs the spirit of young people to move together for a transformation of our earth. We want to save our earth from the lingering threat of climate change.”

 Editor: Leo Wahyudi

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