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Where Are They Now?

Satria Sambijantoro, Former Indonesian Intern

Satria Sambijantoro is a 21-year-old undergraduate student at the University of Indonesia, majoring in economics and business management. He held an internship with the Conservancy in Jakarta, Indonesia, for six months in 2010.

How did you get involved with the Conservancy?


I wrote regularly for the op-ed page of The Jakarta Post, the largest English-language newspaper in Indonesia. One day an editor of the newspaper told me an NGO was looking for an intern. I had never heard of The Nature Conservancy before, so I had no idea what I could expect. I ended up applying to that ‘unknown’ NGO, though. It’s as simple as that.

What was a typical day at your internship with the Conservancy like?


I worked under the supervision of Ms. Elis Nurhayati, the national communications manager of the Conservancy's program in Indonesia. I assisted her in doing communication tasks like writing, translating, doing media monitoring, publishing media press releases, etc. What was most memorable was the friendliness of the organization; it is a great feeling, all staff members know and support each other very well, just like family.

What other memorable experiences did you have?


I got to visit the Nusa Penida site, in Bali, Central Indonesia, which was my first time visiting a Conservancy site outside Jakarta. I was assigned to accompany some Jakarta International School students for their trip to Nusa Penida. From my visit there, I ended up writing two articles about the Conservancy: one about youth awareness of environment and one about Marthen Welly, the project leader of Nusa Penida.

What did you learn about youth awareness of the environment?


In Nusa Penida, I met Indonesians who could not afford to snorkel or dive. Of course, it’s a different situation in Raja Ampat (Eastern Indonesia), for example, where most of the people there work as fishermen and their children have to swim and dive deep to catch fish — and therefore have the chance to observe the beauty of coral reefs. But in Nusa Penida, why should the children go to the sea? Most people there work as seaweed farmers, and their children have to spend time helping their parents in seaweed farms instead of swimming in the sea. They may not know it, but coral reefs are important for seaweed production; the health of the coral reefs has a positive correlation with seaweed production in Nusa Penida.

I think it is important to give educational programs about the environment to youth. At least urge them to go outside and participate in activities such as snorkeling, hiking or camping, instead of merely going to shopping malls — that is what happens in Indonesia, especially in a city like Jakarta.

How did your internship affect your own awareness of the environment?


In Indonesia, many people could not care less about the environment. It was such a pity that many youth in Indonesia — especially those who live in urban areas like me — undervalue the beauty of their own country. For example, I know some of my friends who prefer having holidays abroad to Europe rather than exploring their own country, while in fact Indonesia possesses an almost unrivaled natural beauty that is rarely found in other places on Earth.

On my visit to Nusa Penida a Conservancy project leader said something that will surely always have a place in my mind: “You can use all the money you have to buy new cars and big houses, Satria. But if the fish species and coral reefs are extinct, no matter how much money you have, you could not buy them back.”

Thanks to the Conservancy I now possess a completely different mindset regarding environmental preservation. In the future, if luckily I become a minister or important policymaker in the government, without doubt I would prioritize Indonesia’s environmental preservation and would not let money or businessmen’s vested interests dictate my decisions.

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