Emily Cousins, Ready To Connect Schools in Surabaya – Melbourne on the Environment Program

Surabaya- I have very limited experience in running environment programs in Australia, however I have been involved in many different programs and initiatives concerning the environment. One of these programs was run in a local park near to where I lived at the time. The aim of the program was to revegetate and rehabilitate the creek which had become choked with weeds and litter, as well as introduced species.

Over a number of weekends a group of people from the community (including myself) would go to the park and pull out the weeds from in and around the creek. Further work was done to plant native species of flora as well as to remove the willow trees which were beginning to choke the waterway. The area was mulched to assist with water retention, and the creek was landscaped a little so as to assist with flow and filtration of the water.

The work done in my local park was part of a wider initiative to establish and maintain “green corridors” in suburban areas. This is because as the amount of area being developed increased, animals were becoming trapped in small islands of parkland, making it difficult or even impossible for them to move to other areas. The concept of “green corridors” aimed to make it easier for the animals to reach other areas of parkland as well as new sources of food.

The environment is becoming an increasingly important issue for youth in Australia. Children are taught not to litter and to recycle when they can. Children are made concious of the fact that whatever rubbish they drop in the streets will end up in ocean via storm water drains and can hurt marine life.

The most important environmental issue that children are taught about is water saving. Water is a scarce resource in Australia, particularly in the state where I am from. We are constantly being told to save water in any way possible. The government sent out timers so that everyone can make sure they keep their showers to 3 minutes. Another government initiative was to swap old shower heads with new ones that are more efficient. Some people install “grey water” systems which means that the water from the shower is then syphoned out onto the garden. Water saving techniques are becoming part of the melbourne lifestyle and so most young people take part in these environmental initiatives and behaviour.

Concern surrounding global warming means that public transport and cycling are becoming increasingly popular. Young people often ride their bikes into university, and the government is working to make the city a more bike friendly place, developing the bike lanes on the road and supplying bikes for rent for those who may need them. Walking school buses have become popular in primary schools. How they work is that a group of children walk to school together under the supervision of a volunteer parent. This aims to reduce the amount of green house gases which would be emitted if each child were to be driven to school by a parent.

Some young Australians are also becoming increasingly aware of the impact that their choices as a consumer can have on the environment. Buying local produce or organic food has become more popular, and some people choose to join food co-ops as a way to reduce their carbon foot prints. Food co-ops can be found in most universities, and for a small payment each week students can collect a box of fruit and vegetables sourced from local growers.


I care for the environment in a number of simple ways.

1.   I eat very little meat as farming animals produces vast amounts of green house gases. Also, the animals bred for meat in Australia are not suited for the countries environment as they have hooves which compact the soil and damage the natural habitat of native animals.

2.   I save water as much as I can using the initiatives mentioned above.

3.   I take public transport everywhere or ride my bike.

4.   I also donate to a number of non-profit organisations that care for the environment through conservation projects as well as initiatives against things like logging.

5.   I choose products that have very little packaging

6.   My housemates and I recycle any suitable rubbish that we produce and compost any organic matter.

7.   We also decrease our carbon footprint by growing tomatoes and herbs so we don’t have to buy them from the shop, avoiding the emissions that would be produced in transporting them from farm to the supermarket.

8.   My housemates and I also try and save electricity to decrease our carbon footprint, so turn electrical goods off at the powerpoint when we have finished using them. We have also switched all lightglobes to more efficient, environmentally friendly brands.

One of the things that I would like to do while working with Tunas Hijau here is to establish links between Indonesia and Australia. Creating new connections between the two countries will mean we can learn from each other about different cultures and environmental issues. I would also like to gain some experience in environmental programs so that I can take the things I have learned back to Australia and put them to use in my home town.

While I may only have limited experience in running environmental problems I have come across many environmental issues as part of my first degree. My majors where development studies and international studies and many of the subjects i undertook as part of these had an environmental focus. Hopefully the knowledge I have gained from my undergraduate study can be of use in Surabaya.

The city I am from in Australia is very big, but is not as densely populated as Surabaya. The traffic follows very strict rules and it is considered rude or reckless to break those rules.

Melbourne is divided into two areas, the city and the suburbs. The city is central and is situated at the mouth of the yarra river. The city is full of sky scrapers and tall office buildings where people work during the day, as well as many clubs and bars where people go at night to relax.

The suburbs radiate out from the city. Most people live in houses in the suburbs though some choose to live in apartments in the city but it can be very expensive to do so. The more expensive suburbs have big houses on large blocks of land, whereas the cheaper suburbs have more modest housing on smaller blocks. Nearly every house has a front and back garden, however as the population of Melbourne increases, the blocks of land are divided and developed to create more housing.

Café culture is also big in Melbourne and people like to go out for breakfast or lunch as well as out for coffee. People in Melbourne have high standards when it comes to coffee and can be snobby about it.

There is a saying about Melbourne that goes “in Melbourne you can see every season in one day”, and it is true. It can be cold and frosty in the morning and by afternoon it is like a summers day. In winter it gets really cold and wet and occasionally in heavy unexpected rains it can flood because the drains cannot handle the volume of water. In summer it reaches very high temperatures just like here in Surabaya. But the heat in Melbourne is dry not humid like it is in Surabaya.