“Surabaya goes SCP: From Learning to Living”
"Mom, I have checked the electricity meter: we should shut the windows quickly!", says nine-year old Lia. Lia is a student of SD (elementary school) Kaliasin 1 Surabaya, Indonesia. This school, like other schools such as SMAK St Louis, SDN Bubutan 4, and SMPN 10, is very special. First of all, they have a lot of plants: in the yard, on the walls of the building, even hanging from the roof tops. Second, the garbage in this school gets a lot more attention than elsewhere. Normally, people want to get rid of it as soon and as easy as possible - throw it away, on the street, dump it and look away. But wandering around schools such as this, you might get the idea the people here care a lot about their waste - they might even like it! Everywhere there are nice and clean varicoloured waste boxes. Signs and labels show which waste belongs to which colour and whole school classes get taught how to deal with organic waste in order to transform it into good, healthy and most notably free of charge soil.
Most striking is the fact that this green school is teaching not only their students but also the students' families via the Program "From Learning to Living" (FLTL). FLTL is part of the "Don't (just) recycle. Think first!" campaign, a nationwide action program promoting the sustainability change in the whole country, launched by the SWITCH-Asia Policy Support Component for Indonesia.
Since its inception on March 22, 2014, FLTL was participated by 500 schools, which were shortlisted to become 100 schools. From these 100 schools, "Green Families candidates" have been selected. About 200 families were assisted to implement green living at home. These families were also encouraged to become multiplier agents for change by inviting other people to apply green living at home. Families shared their experiences in applying green living by up-loading stories, photos, videos, and tweets in social media. They also actively participated in the fun campaign sessions in the car free day, housing complex, green shopping race in supermarkets, green cooking, as well as joined some competitions such as poster, jingle, comic, video production, and hand puppet show competition.
Implemented in close cooperation with the City Government of Surabaya, this special program shows families how they can save money and live a healthier life while contributing to sustainability at the same time. The candidate families have been visited by experts that put electricity and water meters into their homes in order to truly and objectively measure the effect of their behaviour change and their contribution to sustain the environment. There is a list of criteria that the households must fulfil in order to get into the program: from simple actions like reusing drinking bottles and shopping bags to taking initiatives to reduce water and electricity consumption to more advanced efforts like creating home composting or having a biopori (infiltration wells). The behaviour change was checked with altogether 19 criteria and only the families that showed effort and distinct results were chosen to go on with the program. There have also been reducing factors like using chlorine detergents or using plastic-intensive sachets instead of bulk packages.
"At the beginning not anything was clear to me but it seemed fun and there was the idea of actually saving some money, so we tried" says Wijiastuti, mother of Lia and two younger boys. "It surprised me how easy it is on the one hand to make a change and save money without any big effort and on the other hand to learn about relations between organic and regional food and our health".
Before the program Wijiastuti thought that saving the earth is not anything that she could influence nor that it had any practical and quick positive impact. But thanks to the program, families like hers changed little things that make a lot of difference, for example shutting the windows while using the AC or turning it to even healthier 24 degrees instead of icy 18. In the Hernowo family, this is the 12 years old daughter's favourite: checking how much slower the meter runs when windows are shut, meaning reducing the monthly electricity bills by every hour the new routine is kept.
FLTL has been handed over to become a regular program of the City Government of Surabaya. "Sustainable Consumption habits have to start from families. Government policy itself cannot make the SCP City happen but can facilitate it. It has to be a habit and lifestyle, and I believe Surabaya is ready for leading it," said Tri Rismaharini, Mayor of Surabaya City, who attended the final award ceremony on November 15.
(Authors: Astrid Angloher, Christine Effendy)
(Editor: Silvia Sartori)