Promoting Professional Development and Best Practice in EE
Ananda Winny Mezha Puteri
Roles at NAAEE:30 Under 30
Masohi, Indonesia SEE OTHER BIOS HERE
Winny leads ISEC Indonesia, a national movement to inspire climate action and build future climate education leaders.
Tell us about yourself!
I come from Indonesia, but am currently living in Russia. I am the founder and National Director of International Student Environmental Coalition (ISEC) Indonesia, which is a national movement for climate education and action. With ISEC Indonesia, we are implementing education campaigns across three regions, focusing on climate change and plastic pollution.
My biggest project so far was organizing a three-day eco-camp in Sumarorong, Indonesia, where we had 430 students successfully plante 2,100 trees in one day. We also organized a two-day intensive activism workshop for 50 high school students, where we trained participants on how to lead their own environmental education campaigns. And yes, we can do more! Our 2019 agenda is more focused on plastic pollution, since Indonesia is the world's second largest contributor to the ocean plastic problem!
I’m now a third-year student majoring in Energy Conservation and Resource Saving Processes in Chemical Technology, Biotechnology and Petrochemistry at the Northern Arctic Federal University (NARFU) in Arkhangelsk, Russia. Here in Arkhangelsk, I am also involved with the local environmental group, “42.” I speak five languages (Bahasa Indonesia, English, Russian, German, and Norwegian) and I have traveled a lot in my life, which makes me fall in love even more with this planet!
What inspired you to become a champion for environmental education?
I would say my fear. I am frightened about our planet's condition, and all the emerging problems that are now arising due to the effects of climate change. I live in a society where environmental problems are still a taboo to talk about. For example, when I explained my work to a woman in Indonesia, and we started talking about climate change and the warming planet, she believed that planet has been always hot (we do live by the beach, so, yes, the temperature there is tropical). However, I don’t understand why many people are still unaware, and if they are, they don’t necessarily pay attention to it. Instead, they often focus on other issues, such as our poor economy. But what if money means nothing, when our future is vanishing?
That is how I decided to become a climate change activist, to educate my people about the effects of climate change and other environmental issues. My dream is to help everyone understand that taking care of this planet is one of our most important responsibilities and should be made a priority. This planet will be fine without us, however we need to keep our planet in good shape because it’s our home. We can't go anywhere else – this is the only home we have – and as such we need to take action to preserve our planet.
What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders that are looking to bring about positive change in their communities through EE?
I remember the first time I tried to persuade my friends in my dormitory to separate their waste. We have a large pipe for general waste on every floor, but to separate waste you have to walk outside, which is less convenient. However, I knew the positive impacts of recycling would be worth it, so I began talking to everyone about the importance of recycling. I started with my roommate. Then, the people in my block. Since separating waste is not a very common practice in Arkhangelsk, Russia, my blockmates that once couldn’t find enough information about recycling could now do it themselves and understood the importance of it. I was once ignorant, as almost all of us were at one point in our lives, but I believe that as human beings we naturally have intentions to do good deeds. Being ignorant is a result of not having enough information. Once we find out what we are facing right now, our natural instinct will guide us.
Just like heroes, when don’t understand how to use our power, we can easily destroy everything we have been blessed with. But after we figure it out, we can save the world. We are all heroes in my eyes. The most important thing is to just get started. Believe me, doing good things is addictive, as you will understand once you get started. Or have you?
What keeps you motivated, inspired, or hopeful for the future?
My admiration for the beauty of nature itself is what motivates me. This planet has provided us with everything we need, being the best and most beautiful home we could ever ask for. Sometimes I feel tired and exhausted, but since I am fighting for the most precious and essential thing in my life, I can always find the spirit to keep going. The thought that we could soon lose the beauty of this planet, if we remain ignorant, encourages me to do more and more.
If you had to live in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?
East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. This place is a complete package with its incredible nature and cultural heritage, with hundreds of ethnic groups and beauty in diversity. My country, Indonesia, has a lot of beaches, but in my opinion East Nusa Tenggara’s are the best. In East Nusa Tenggara, you feel really close to nature. If you love surfing, you can go to the popular Nemberala Rote. If you prefer diving, heaven is in Alor. If you love hiking, you have Mutis Mountain. You can literally do everything here. Not to mention that Nusa Tenggara has one of the “New7Wonders” of the world, Komodo Island!