Fellow Since 1995
Rimbawan Muda Indonesia (RMI)
This profile was prepared when Mia Siscawati was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1995.
The New Idea
Mia Siscawati is educating youth and adults about the natural environment. As she pioneers the field of environmental education in Indonesia, she is learning how to spread an awareness of the environment that can change consumer behavior and sustain the kind of citizen action that changes national policy.Even in Indonesia, where vast tracts of virgin wilderness have been "developed" in the frenzied past two decades of all-out economic growth, the idea of environmental education is not new. Mia's multi-pronged approach, however, is unique and original. She is simultaneously introducing environmental teaching into the school system and offering courses on the environment to adults through strategic venues such as botanical gardens. Her method to spread the movement relies principally on a great "renewable resource" - volunteers - and her goal is nothing less than to effect a major shift at the national level in favor of economically sustainable patterns of economic development. Rather than addressing the audience directly, she is building up an intermediary corps of volunteers, teachers and parents to carry her message of environmental protection further.