That question, asked by a 7 y.o. boy, was among the questions Nada and I received after presenting about Climate Change to students and teachers of Cendekia Leadership School (CLS) that morning. Nada (she’s 12 years old, now sits in Grade 7 of SMPN5 Bandung), answered wisely. “We’re not sure if we can survive in another planet’s atmosphere, and we’d need water, too”, said she, “Besides, it’s not nice if we move away from the one we’re destroying already, leaving it broken, then destroy the next one”. More questions that followed didn’t subside, although we were already running out of presents (a booklet from The Body Shop) for those who asked. These questions were a response to the slides and videos within the theme Climate Change, what is it actually?, which we presented in front of about 90 CLS students and teachers.
Among the slides, next to a number of decks from Al Gore’s materials (translated into Indonesian), were extra slides depicting natural disasters in Indonesia that were related to human activities, and a couple of videos, among other are 7 Billion (National Geographic Magazine) and Halo, Bumi! (Hello, Earth!), a work of a group of students from Design & Sustainability class at ITB. Our points of presentation were the cause of temperature change in the atmosphere, the significant impacts it can cause to the earth’s surface – especially the damages, how human beings contribute to the causes, and also our attempts to prevent and mend the damages.
Reactions from our 6-13 years old audiences were a combination of wonders, sometimes affections (when shown an image of a group of penguins standing on top of a drifting ice block), sometimes fascinations (when shown the image of a giant jellyfish), and sometimes also exasperation (when shown an image of a heavily polluted river, and of a person sawing a huge tree).
Nada, also a Climate Presenter and Inconvenient Youth member, has helped a lot during the preparation of the slides. Bearing similar age to the audience, she picked images and videos that might interest the audience and also selected out some that might bore them, or are considered too complicated. Also, since she also did a part of the presentation herself, the kids perhaps felt as if it’s an older sister or a friend who’s telling them a story. Therefore the discussion session that came afterward didn’t need any pause until they raised their hands for questions.
The first ones were questions such as, “Where did you get those videos?”, or “How come it takes so long for those high school students to finish their baso?” (referring to Halo, Bumi! video). The next ones were more focused, such as, “What kinds of gases are dangerous for our atmosphere?”, “Where do those gases come from?”, “Why do we need oxygen to live?”, “Where can we get seeds to plant?”, “We like to plant trees, but where can we do it if everywhere is already full of buildings and streets?”. Some more were actually quite deep, “Why do human beings have to damage the environment they’re living in?”, or radical, “Why can’t we all just die, so trees can continue to live?”
All in all, it was an overwhelming experience. For me, it’s because I’ve never been presenting as a duet before, especially with a 12 y.o. girl, also because I’ve never really been a teacher for elementary school kids for a rather complicated subject. Moreover, these kids are eager and critical. It’s not a simple job to satisfy them with our answers.
p.s. More about The Climate Project:
The Climate Project: http://www.theclimateprojectus.org/
The Climate Project Indonesia (TCP Indonesia): http://www.tcpindonesia.org/
TCP Indonesia in Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TCPIndonesia
p.p.s. After the morning hard work, we deserved some yummy lunch!