Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Fri, 06/06/2008 1:15 AM | Headlines
What exactly are greenhouse gas emissions? That was the first question a teacher asked during a forum on climate change held to mark World Environmental Day here Thursday.
Siti Zulfah, who teaches at an elementary school in Menteng, Central Jakarta, said she found it difficult to explain global warming to her students because of her own background and lack of knowledge.
“Climate change has become a much-discussed topic among students, but could you explain to us exactly what greenhouse gas emissions are and how do we deal with the impacts of climate change?” she asked.
The discussion was presented by Amanda Katili, an advisor to State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar. Amanda recently attended a training session on climate change under the direct tutelage of Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Al Gore, whose documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, won an Academy Award.
About 100 university lecturers and teachers from elementary, junior high and high schools attended the discussion.
Timoty Daud, a teacher from a high school in Jakarta, also asked a very basic question about global warming: “What are some websites that explain climate change issues?”
Amanda said she appreciated the “active” participants and thanked them for their “great questions”.
In her presentation, Amanda screened colorful slides illustrating the impacts and scientific data about global warming, ranging from melting ice caps to massive floods in China.
“All these slides belong to Al Gore, I just selected the pictures that are appropriate for you to help you understand climate change more easily,” she told the participants.
She insisted that global warming was real and all countries in the world had experienced its effects.
“Indonesia is not an exception; we are also very vulnerable to climate change. We just have to look at the recent flooding in Jakarta or other environmental events to see the impacts of climate change,” she said.
She said teachers could involve themselves in mitigation and adaptation efforts in their capacity both as individuals and as members of institutions.
“Just start small, but think big,” she said.
Amanda said to mitigate climate change, teachers could reduce the use of paper, which could lead to a decrease in deforestation.
“Don’t take a bath with warm water because it uses more energy. Have your children take public transport to school and turn off the lights whenever you leave a room,” she said.
“By doing this, you are doing your part in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide. The gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gas emissions,” Amanda told the participants.
After two hours of discussion, the teachers walked around the Jakarta Convention Center to look at an environmental exhibition themed “CO2 — Kick the habit! Toward a low carbon economy”.
Dozens of mining, plantation and automotive companies furnished their booths in green with the message writ large: “Kick the carbon dioxide habit to protect the earth”.
Carbon dioxide, mainly caused from the burning of fossil fuels, is considered one of the greatest contributors to climate change.
Climate change issues have become more well-known in Indonesia since the world’s biggest climate change conference, with about 10,000 delegates, was held in Bali last year.
The conference produced the Bali road map, which aims to pave the way for the world to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deal with the effects of rising temperatures.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono marked World Environmental Day with a call for people to plant trees as part of the effort to tackle climate change.