Ngatijo finds school teaching an eye-opening opportunity to influence others to help the earth. Over three years he has dedicated himself to urban climate change initiatives. He created an environmental working group with his students in Bandar Lampung, so they can get practical experience in addressing climate change.
Ngatijo was born 47 years ago in a small district called Kalirejo in Lampung Tengah. He is Vice Principle of State Junior High School (SMPN) 7, Bandar Lampung, where he teaches physics and math.
Living in Bandar Lampung, Ngatijo witnesses climate change impact the city experiences including higher intensity of extreme weather, prolonged drought and heavier rains. The impacts are water crises and higher risk of flood and inundation. Even though these challenges are getting worse, the city is fully adapting to them.
As a citizen, Ngatijo realizes that people cannot solely depend on city government to addressing all their problems. Yet he also sees the lack of capacity of citizens to look after themselves by understanding and managing corresponding risks. Both Bandar Lampung’s government and citizens need to make extra effort to adapt to risks and challenges together. A problem is that if city residents and representatives lack a common understanding of the climate challenges they are facing and how to deal with them there remains a lack of motivation to participate in resilience building initiatives. Urban Climate Change Resilience practitioners have a crucial role in helping city stakeholders learn, coordinate and collaborate to be able to help themselves.
In 2012, Mercy Corps Indonesia, in a collaborative action with Bandar Lampung City Government and Lampung State University, started a program called “Building Teachers’ and Students’ Climate Change Resilience Capacity” under the ACCCRN program.
As a teacher and vice principle, Ngatijo used the program as an opportunity to actively join a movement addressing urban climate change challenges. He eagerly supports the implementation of a climate change education program at his school as he believes that people’s awareness of climate change should be raised from the youngest age as a child’s education is their basis for every aspect of their future life.
Under this education program, a school team developed a climate change education module for the 4th and 5th grade pupils of two elementary schools and the 7th and 8th grade pupils of two junior high schools in addition to those in SMPN 7.
“Having theory is not enough for me, as knowledge is worthless if you don't know how to use it,” Ngatijo said.
Ngatijo started program implementation by convening a student environmental working group. Through the working group, students got practical learning experience about hygiene, energy saving techniques, green environment, and skills in making compost fertilizer for an urban hydroponic garden. There have been practical results. There is no more garbage in or around the school and the school-working group scheme is being adopted by other climate change education program pilots across Bandar Lampung.
“The success factor in reaching students to build their attention on climate change adaptation is beyond my expectation. Definitely, I am not the sole-achiever of this. Everyone in the school, the headmaster, teachers, students, and the school caretakers all are in this effort together. The credit is theirs,” Ngatijo said as we closed the interview.
Mercy Corps expects figures like Ngatijo will inspire more people to take on board and realize the importance of climate change adaptation, and ultimately to take action.