M Mushthafa, teacher at SMA 3 Annuqayah, facilitator Plastic Rubbish SCC Team
This week, I had several environmental activities. First, I had an environmental workshop held by Community Development Bureau of Pondok Pesantren Annuqayah. The theme of this workshop is “Global Warming, Local Cooling”, and participants are thirty Annuqayah teachers. This workshop conducted on Tuesday, April 21, at MAK Annuqayah. Facilitator of this workshop is Ridho Saiful Ashadi, former Executive Director of WALHI (Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia—Indonesian Forum for the Environment) East Java.
The workshop began at 10.00 a.m., two hours late from the schedule. Mas Ipul, the facilitator, delayed his departure from Surabaya because his wife borne approximately at midnight.
Actually, this workshop didn’t really satisfy me because plot of discussion during the workshop didn’t go on as I expected—at least based on the schedule that I received before. The discussion primarily focused on developing social transformation in general. Environmental issues had a minor space to be discussed here. Mas Ipul said that the most important thing to develop local cooling movement is concerning to framework of idea. Mas Ipul introduced new method of thinking called “Asset-Based thinking”. This reminded me to positive psychology developed by Martin EP Seligman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, which I knew from his book, Authentic Happiness. Mas Ipul explored this method of thinking extensively.
In fact, I can understand his choice to underline this approach in front of environmental and social problem on the whole. Environmental movement needs new, fresh strategies and power. But, in my opinion, environmental awareness as a basis of environmental education for the teachers should be built up by a sufficient supply of information and knowledge. OK, Mas Ipul said that such information is very easily found on internet webpages. The teachers just need to type the keyword on the search engine webpage and they will have a great deal of information and knowledge to encourage their environmental insight. But the fact is Annuqayah teachers are generally not acquainted with internet and information technology. And I’m almost sure that those who are familiar enough with internet maybe have a little concern to environmental issues.
When the workshop had finished, I thought that this workshop must be followed by another environmental workshop, or even an integrative action managed by Annuqayah teachers or at their respective schools. This subsequent workshop should reach to the core issues of environmental education, that environmental education is about our moral education—our ethical attitudes to the nature.
My second activity is a live interview at local television, Madura Channel, Sumenep. This interview held on Thursday, April 23, one day after the celebration of Earth Day. The theme is about environmental education. More exactly, about my experience accompanying environmental community at SMA 3 Annuqayah Guluk-Guluk Sumenep. This community concern on specific issue, that is plastic rubbish. The students recycled plastic rubbish in school neighbourhood to be creative accessories, like a school bag, pencil case, etc. Their activities got public attention through publication of mass media.
In that session of live interview, I tried to make the idea of Earth Day become more concrete through the example of my students’ activities. I tried to turn the discussion on the focus of ethical perspective, but the interviewer still focused to my students’ activities and achievements.
During the live interview, there was an interesting comment from Pak Gani, an audience who is a teacher in Sumenep. He said that my students’ activities, that are recycling plastic rubbish to be a handicraft, are not creative achievements. Pak Gani said that other individuals and communities in Indonesia also had done the same creation, including Pak Gani himself. So, Pak Gani challenged me and my students to initiate a truly new creation related to environmental project.
To be honest, I believe that our environmental activities are not a genuine project. But I’m very sure that every project has specific complexities in its local context. Those are the real challenge of every social project. Furthermore, plastic rubbish increases around us, so we cannot underestimate this fact and have to make a concrete response in our community.
My third environmental activity this week is a voluntary work with my students cleaning up our base camp of our environmental project on School Climate Challenge Competition British Council. Our school participated in this prestigious competition by managing three environmental projects, that is recycling plastic rubbish, conservation of the Asian palmyra palm (Borassus flabellifer), and organic fertilizer.
We cleaned up the dirty area at the corner of our school area this morning until midday. We are very contented with the result of our hard work. We think that we will be more enthusiastic to manage our project.
Yes, this environmental week give me valuable supplies to encourage the struggle on environmental issues.