by Pippin Barry
Today was my first day at work for Tunas Hijau. In the morning Pasquella, Mandy and I went to a junior high school SMP 31 Surabaya to give presentations about the environment in our home countries. There were 40 children in the class of different ages.
I spoke first out of the group, I discussed Australia’s flora and fauna and showed the class pictures of kangaroos and koalas. Then I talked about the problems Australia has had with massive land clearing and the flow-on effects of this i.e. erosion and salinity. It can be difficult to gage how well the message is getting through because I don’t speak Indonesian but I think Dani was a great translator – you don’t get much opportunity to practice your environmental vocabulary.
Pasquella and Mandy did a joint presentation about their climate change and water pollution. Again I think it will take time to work out what level of complexity we want to use in our presentations and how we present the information. Pictures and videos can be useful so I want to try and search for some good ones I have seen in the past. After Dani did the final presentation we played a game with the kids where you had to pass a pack of cards one at a time down a row. I carried my team to a great victory!
Later in the day we went to the estuary of Surabaya river for Mangrove observation. Local people had cut down vast areas of mangroves in the past few years to use as firewood, disrupting the local ecosystem and allowing mud and silt to pollute the river. Tunas Hijau has been planting mangroves here for two years and last year planted over 50,000. This year I will be helping plant mangroves over the next few weeks to help restore this part of the country.