Peatland issue has become a hot topic of conversation in the middle of 2019, specifically due to the fact that Sumatera and Kalimantan were on fire. Speculations floated into society about the cause of the fire. Some people proposed that massive scale corporations burned the land unsustainably. Some others blamed the smallholders who set the fire since it is the cheapest way to clear the land. These opinions mostly did not have any framework of thinking yet, unfortunately, flourished easily in our society, especially among the young generation. This is the generation who heavily use social media on their daily basis. It has two sides of one coin, social media utilization can give a lot of benefits but can also cause major problems. Furthermore, the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) of Indonesia said that the low level of awareness and knowledge of peatland tend to fasten the environment degradation itself. Coming from this concern, Youth for Peatland (YfP) conducted a series of campus visit to prevent the dissemination of misleading information about peatland.
YfP was established with a mission to educate youngsters with reference to basic knowledge of peat. Significantly, YfP wants to offer different perspectives to learn more about peat in a balanced, fun, and interactive way. To gain the goals, YfP has several to-do-list to be accomplished in the future such as interactive social media engagement, campus visit, website construction, and podcast development. Among the twelve founding members of YfP, two of them are from Tay Juhana Foundation (TJF) who believe that the two organizations share similar causes.
Yogyakarta is the first stop of the series of YfP’s campus visit. The members visited Universitas Sanata Dharma on 21 September 2019 and Universitas Gajah Mada (UGM) on 11 October 2019. There were approximately 150-200 participants in each venue. The campus visit was conducted by having sharing sessions, which was divided into two parts. The first session was presented by the representative of the National Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) and experts of the field. After that, the second session focused on the members of Youth for Peatland who shared experiences during the Live-In program in Kalimantan.
Under the mission of spreading awareness and knowledge about peatland potential, TJF’s representatives who took part in campus visit emphasized the knowledge on sustainable agriculture in peatland. Furthermore, we also highlighted that every educational discipline has the same vital role in taking care of mother nature. At the end of the day, both TJF and YfP want to ignite the youth’s enthusiasm to find their own ways for the purpose to promote the new image of peatland. Shifting its negative image – marginal, burden, unproductive land – into a productive one using sustainable agriculture practices, so that it benefits both human and nature.