When we first met “Benny from Biak”, we thought he was mainly going to guide us to some fun surf “way off the beaten path”. Benny’s knowledge of climate change and it’s pending impact on his home turf was deep – and he became our local passport to spending time with the elders & children of his village to discuss how protecting their local mangrove forests is key to solving the climate crisis.
Benny amazed us with his commitment to creating a positive impact - so we’ve been supporting his efforts as a local sustainability teacher and activist, and he’s been sending us “Postcards from Benny” to share the positive impacts he’s been busy growing.
“My name is Benny and I live in Waryesi Village in Biak Papua, Indonesia. I work as a tourist guide, and I am part of a community that is working to protect the social, economic, and educational development of the region, as well as improve gender equality and human rights of the Waryesi people in, Supiori, West Papua, Indonesia.
Specifically, we’re working to provide chances for local youth to learn relevant skills for their future needs. We want to help them to develop their interests and talent in the local culture, arts, and wisdom; to foster the skills of critical thinking and global engagement; as well as to promote community economic development through culture-based tourism.
When COVID-19 broke out in Jakarta and spread out to other provinces including Papua, we have been doing door to door visits and talking to the people about the virus. We are also talking to the community about how to protect themselves in terms of using a mask, washing hands, and social distancing.
We have also been working with our community to focus on growing food locally. With travel restrictions and disruptions to shipments of food and supplies, planting and harvesting food from local gardens is helping provide essential food during this pandemic. It also aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of No Poverty, Zero Hunger, and Good Health and Well-Being.”
"Besides my work, I also act as a member of Ambassador for the Planet and help educate my community about the importance of SeaTrees ecosystems in Biak. I love teaching the kids about how to protect our ocean, climate change in the Pacific, biodiversity, sustainable living, and other challenges.
Hopefully, the pandemic will be over soon, and every one of us back to our normal life and help the world to be a better place for future generations."
You’re probably wondering why Benny knows so much about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. So were we. Stay tuned for Benny’s next postcard to find out more.