Tag Archive for: community

Travel Better, Enjoy A Whole Lot More

Written by Maria Olivia Laurent, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

There is no better occasion than today to think about our ongoing crisis of climate change and learn how we can invest more in our planet. The 2022 Earth Day movement focuses on the collaborative effort by businesses, governments, organizations, and every one of us to take accountability in protecting our beloved Mother Earth. One of the major events this year is the Great Global Cleanup, a worldwide campaign initiated by individuals and communities to reduce trash pollution in beaches, parks, and other public places. Now, speaking of those cleanups, we all know Indonesia is beginning to relax some travel restrictions, and as wonderful as it sounds for our economy, there is still one thing we need to be careful of. Trashy tourism. What is that? Well, let’s just say… trash + tourism = disaster for all involved. 

Some Announcement First…

Before we get into this, make sure to check out our online campaign following last month’s Water Day Event on our Instagram page @project.child. You can also directly donate through Campaign.com on the link below. Every fun challenge you finish will be converted into donations by our amazing sponsors! 

https://www.campaign.com/challenge/id/save-the-groundwater-with-healthy-lifestyle

Alright, now let’s focus back on trashy tourism. 

The Dark Secret Behind The Tourism Industry

Tourism is one of the most polluting industries in the world. It represents 8% of global greenhouse gases emission and contributes up to 40% of marine trash during the high season. When we think of mass tourism, we think of overconsumption. People tend to carelessly ignore their surroundings as they only think of themselves and their holiday. Because of this ‘visitor’ mindset, tourists can produce up to twice as much waste as residents, causing an overflow on landfills and sewage plants. The improper disposal of trash and toxic chemicals from overcrowded hotels and restaurants also escalates the issue further where those businesses only care for commercial success and not the environment. 

This problem surges higher than before as tourism becomes more accessible over the years. Take Bali as an example. Everyone can now easily book a hotel and hop on a plane to Bali. With how easy travel has become, people begin to develop a disposable society approach where it’s also easy for them to just toss their plastic bottles into the ocean and forget about it. 

More people need to realize that Bali is not just a travel destination with pretty beaches and exotic forests. Bali is also a home to millions of people and wildlife whose lives are affected by this growing waste pollution. You might say, “Hey, but Balinese people also contribute to their own waste!” Yes, but not as severe. Data reveals tourists are responsible for 1,7 kg of trash per day compared to the locals of only 0,5 kg per day. Basically, we’re in somebody’s home, and we’re trashing it. Shouldn’t we be ashamed? So, how can we do better?

The answer is actually already right in front of our eyes. 

The tourism industry itself IS the answer. As a traveler, we can be part of the solution. We, along with the leaders and businesses in the industry, are the ones who can build awareness around the issues and spur waste infrastructure improvements. Progressing with the recovery of the pandemic, the tourism industry has the opportunity to start things fresh and choose a more sustainable path forward. If we want to preserve the beauty of the places we enjoy, we must care for them as if they’re our own homes. 

Change The Way We Travel

The word sustainability has been going around in recent years, and we can also apply it in our travels. According to the Three Pillars of Sustainability, this new tourism approach is all about balancing environmental health, local economic growth, and human and animal welfare. With just a small action today, we can start a chain reaction for long-time impacts for our future generations. Here are a few things we can do easily and affordably to minimize tourism’s negative effects:

  1. Save Energy

Public areas, hotels, parks, and restaurants all rely on a lot of energy to operate. Excessive electricity and intensive water use can significantly strain local water and energy supplies. Tourists often consume more water and energy per day because they thought, “I pay for this. I can use it as much as I want.” Please don’t be one of those selfish people. When leaving your hotel, turn off the AC and lamps. Take a shower occasionally instead of baths and reuse your towels to prevent unnecessary laundering. 

  1. Support The Locals

Many communities are suffering from the pandemic. You can help them bounce back by trying community-based tourism! Stay in locally-owned homestays rather than international hotel chains. Try out traditional dishes made with native ingredients and explore local markets and shops. These local businesses care more about the environment and the neighborhood because they are part of it. You can also use this opportunity to learn about the culture and traditions of that place. 

  1. Be Responsible 

If you’re going on any wildlife tours, avoid those who are unethical and profit-focused. That means if you’re allowed to ride those animals or be in a close encounter with endangered species, you might want to consider that as a bad sign. The same way goes for snorkeling and scuba diving. Always be careful to stay away from areas with a fragile coral ecosystem, avoid overcrowding, and wear reef-friendly equipment. Enjoying wildlife is one of the highlights of traveling, but make sure you’re not disturbing their natural habitats.

Do all of those things above, and you can enjoy your vacation with a better and healthier mindset! Earth Day today reminds us that every one of us is responsible for the difference we want to make for our future. We need to urge industry leaders and companies to improve sustainable tourism and protect the environment. Our choices, social actions, and personal awareness all play a part in achieving that. After all, we still want to see those pretty beaches and exotic forests for a long time, right? Then we have to make sure they won’t be destroyed by our very hands. 

References

Earth Day 2022. (2022). Earth Day. Retrieved from https://www.earthday.org/

Earth Day 2022: Theme, Facts, Latest Events, and Celebrations. (2022). Earth Reminder.  Retrieved from https://www.earthreminder.com/earth-day-2022-theme-facts-events-celebrations/

KaitlynBra. (2021, March 9). Top 10 Tips for Sustainable Travel. Sustainable Travel International. Retrieved from https://sustainabletravel.org/top-10-tips-for-sustainable-travel/

Marchant, C. (2019, March 26). What is sustainable travel? (And how to be a sustainable traveller). Charlie on Travel. Retrieved from https://charlieontravel.com/what-is-sustainable-travel/

Zero trash tourism: how to generate less waste while we travel?. (n.d.). My Waste. Retrieved from https://meuresiduo.com/en/blog-en/zero-trash-tourism-how-to-generate-less-waste-while-we-travel/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=zero-trash-tourism-how-to-generate-less-waste-while-we-travel

Siddharta, A. T. (2019, October 14). Bali fights for its beautiful beaches by rethinking waste, plastic trash. National Geographic. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/bali-fights-for-its-beautiful-beaches-by-rethinking-waste-plastic-trash

Online Learning, Is It Just for Our Vulnerable Community?

Written By : Intan Realista Zanta Avhisa – Sekolah Sungai Program Manager

The contagious virus, COVID-19, had struck severely almost every country without exception. The major sectors to support basic human life could not be avoided to get impacted significantly since the appearance of the outbreak in the end of the year 2019. Education is definitely the sector that encounter unprecedented challenges throughout the pandemic. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced that more than 850 million students around the world, or about half of all students, have been forced to stay at home. The students are deprived of education due to the prolonged widespread cases. 

The first positive case confirmed on March 2, 2020 in Indonesia led to the changes on the education system afterwards, as a respond to stop the spread of the pandemic. The Ministry of Education had declared some adjustments on face to face into online learning. The policy was also highlighting the cancellation of the national and semester exams and its possible substitution. The teacher and school are proposed to present the education on the awareness on the coronavirus among the students for the nonce. It was such an ideal answer to fight against the pandemic for education sector so that it was not stopped at all. Though the online learning continues the existence of education, it also reveals our inability to protect vulnerable community maximally and emboldens the social gaps at the moment.

Well-established schools located in urban area may adjust to the online learning quickly without meaningful obstacle since it becomes one of their daily approach to support the learning. Meanwhile, schools with minimum facilities located in rural area surely struggle to inform and conduct the shift from face to face into online learning. The accessibility of the online learning is also questionable though the Indonesia’s Internet users is in the fifth rank worldwide. There are still students who could not access online learning to catch up with the current education system out there. The parents who work as blue collar worker that were fired because of the pandemic obviously choose to buy food for their family’s survivability than credits for the children to follow the online learning.  This becomes a huge problem, since in this pandemic, they do not have their face to face learning as one and only accessible way to pursue education. Students are forced to stay at home and lost their opportunity to get appropriate education. For some students, online learning is a perfect solution while other students could not even enjoy the solution given due to their unfortunate conditions. 

The difficulties also occurred on the practice of the online learning. Online learning had been applied for quite a long time ago, but the challenges now lay on immense implementations throughout the country. It is used in all schools, all subjects and all-day. Many complaints from the students and parents to the unbearable tasks, deadline, and schedules are expressed every day. This shows the unpreparedness of Indonesia’s curriculum to be shifted into online learning. Some of the students were not accustomed to an independent learning process which becomes the important key of the online learning. The process of the learning is way more difficult for the student to develop in the current situation. Teachers and schools are also struggling to give the best contribution to the online learning through limited trainings and capacity.

The assistance of the schools and teachers in the learning is absence, which requires the replacement of the roles to the parents or guardian to ensure the process of the online learning. However, in the condition of the pandemic, this should be really analyzed on any possible scenario where the parents and guardian could be absence too. The parents may be busy to fulfil basic necessity to survive than accompanying their children to study. Some students may live with their grandparents which too old to utilize technology. In addition, not all students especially primary students are in the capacity to be an independent learner and able to operate the tool to access online learning by themselves. These circumstances are possibly to be happened and they become the most vulnerable victim of the situation. 

I am not saying Indonesia should stop the online learning due to some inefficiency of this policy. The policy should be appreciated as a direct respond to the pandemic. This is more to be a reminder for everyone in the education sector to keep looking for comprehensive solutions for the vulnerable communities to get access on education in the current condition. Students should learn how to be an independent learners, teacher must equip themselves to more online teaching strategy and government should be aware of the impact of each policy especially to the vulnerable communities. Knowing the fact that the similar situation possibly happens and it could force the students to stay at home anymore, therefore, our struggle does not stop when the pandemic is over.

A Volunteer Perspective: Understanding ‘Everyone Can Do Good’ Motto

A Letter by : Nadia Dewinda Kristanto

Hi! My name is Nadia, I started doing volunteering for about 4 months now. Currently, I am juggling in between two unpaid roles, which both I rejoice investing time, thoughts, and energy in greatly. I am interning as a Community Engagement Coordinator at Project Child Indonesia, and also volunteering as a learning facilitator at an informal alternative school in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Frankly, I am lucky enough to be part of these incredible spaces to grow as I have given wonderful opportunities to develop and serve.

Back in university, I undertook a community service. Although it was mandatory, I genuinely relished the moment and had such an amazing serenity. At which point, I have found community service therapeutic and brings me contentment. I also came across a realization that I like and want to be directly involved. Albeit how blissful it sounds, I ought to keep on reminding myself of my purpose. Questions were popping still, such as “Am I useful enough?”, “Am I doing it within the right place and or with community whichever urgent enough to be assisted?”, “Do all of these matters?”. By chance, I found a fair answer to alleviate that reluctance of mine. 

As luck would have it, I learn so much by being in a process with Project Child Indonesia. I caught up in their motto and how the organization members live up to it. Which fortuitously led me to have faith in contributing to humanitarian aid. ‘Everyone can do good’ is very beautiful yet strongly empowering words of wisdom. According to my interpretation, it taught me to be brave as each of us has the capacity to do good. The “do good” here translates to the context of helping. Along the way on having mutual exchange with Project Child Indonesia, I also began to value help significance as an intangible substance. The utmost humble formation of help is expression to care, thus, there is no measurement when it comes to helping others. Help always matters enough, even the smallest ones, and it should be done genuinely. In Project Child Indonesia, I discover that there are always dreams and hopes if you want to help, and those dreams and hopes are within you.

I wish this piece of writing may give you a little hint on how ‘Everyone can do good’ is the spirit of Project Child Indonesia and how you can inspirit it likewise in helping others.