On Sunday, September 2, Yadi, Jenal, Didi and Charlotte went to Sindangsari, Kabupaten Pangandaran to meet Bu Siti and her students. We spent the morning teaching the school children how to be better Guardians of the Sea. It was a beautiful opportunity to witness an interaction between teacher and students, teaching the kids to be responsible about the Environment.
We could immediately sense real enthusiasm for our visit; something really important for us. As Bu Siti is an English teacher, with a volunteer from Belgium, we began the morning by introducing ourselves in English to the entire class – a brilliant opportunity for the kids to practice English with a foreigner which they really enjoyed. After these pleasant moments, we discussed the oceans and the important role they play in sustaining biodiversity. We explained that the ocean was the source of all life, that humans rely on it as a source of food but also for its important role in regulating the temperature of the planet. Sequestering CO2 and generating oxygen were also mentioned.
We could see that the kids were really interested in the science as they participated a lot during our presentation.
The next phase was to show the kids how human activities are destroying the oceans. We used simple PowerPoint presentations with pictures and videos of all the plastic in the ocean to demonstrate the direct impact on marine fauna. We talked about the floating plastic “continent” in mid-ocean, the destruction of coral reefs and the ice caps which are melting. In order to impart feelings of responsibility to them individually, the team had them them think about solutions, how they might act as said ‘Guardians of the Sea’ and through those actions, play their roles in preserving the all-important marine environment.
Two groups were formed and after a few minutes of discussion, we asked to the two groups to present their solutions. The main idea was to stop using plastic altogether, to recycle trash and raise awareness. Using different rubbish bins as a means to pre-process waste at school and home was also highlighted. We were really happy to see all these great ideas from these young children.
School programs are extremely important in raising awareness both about protecting the environment and changing our behavior. Education is indeed the key step towards making a positive change in our world. We obtained our own sense of positive reinforcement in that the ideas presented seemed to be received and understood by the children. We will hopefully work again with these same students.
In conclusion, we wish to thank Bu Siti for supporting us and making this program possible.