THE JAKARTA POST
Students of state elementary school SDN Menteng 03 listened and answered questions excitedly when volunteers from the GreenLifestyle community delivered a presentation on how to appreciate nature from an early age.
"Do you know where this place is?" asked volunteer Shanty Syahril, holding up a photo of heaps of garbage at the Bantar Gebang landfill.
"It's a dump site," the students answered quickly.
"Most of the garbage is plastic. Where's it from? It's from us, from Jakarta people," the volunteer said.
"So what can we do to reduce the garbage?" she went on.
Some students suggested recycling or composting, but third-grader Fariz raised his hand and said, "We can stop eating snacks with plastic packaging."
"Do you know that plastic only degrades after hundreds of years? Even after Jakarta is 482 years old, the plastic remains," Shanty said.
The students were then asked what else they could do to reduce plastic trash.
"We can bring our own linen bags each time we go shopping," said fourth-grader Zani.
The presentation was part of a four-day art festival held last week by SDN Menteng 03 in Central Jakarta to commemorate the city's 482nd anniversary, as well as celebrate the end of the school year.
GreenLifestyle volunteers taught the 100 students simple things that could mean a lot for the environment, such as turning off lights when leaving a room and unplugging electronic appliances not in use.
"Slogans and banners are not enough to teach children how to save the environment. They have to practice it too," said Edha Desri, head of the festival organizing team.
"They need to learn these things from an early age, because some of them have become used to conveniences that are not always good for the environment."
During the presentation, the students also learned about saving water, as well as going to school on foot, by bicycles or on school buses, as a way to reduce traffic jams, save fuel and keep the air clean.
Some topics were presented through cartoons, such as how to "save the planet by using energy-saving light bulbs".
"Tell your parents to use energy-saving lamps at home," said Armely, another volunteer.
At the end of the discussion, the students were divided into groups and given a map of Jakarta. They were then asked to map out facilities they wanted the city to have.
"If all of you were the governor of Jakarta, what would you want the city to be like? How would you make it more comfortable and safer for children? Just map it out," Armely told the students.
Some students drew parks, plantations, football fields, malls, hotels, museums and even pet shops.
On the first day of the event, the students joined a tree-planting campaign in their schoolyard.
On the second day, they learned how to create useful items from recycled packaging, as part of the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repair concept.