Nesha Ichida

Hello everyone, my name is Nesha and I’m from Jakarta, Indonesia. I am currently studying full time for my BSc in Natural Science degree from the Open University UK. Basically my university is wherever there’s internet since it’s a distant learning. So I rarely find myself in my city as I’m constantly traveling, mainly around Indonesia, for internships and volunteering jobs to get real work experience.

I’ve been passionate about marine biology since the first time I went diving in one of Indonesia’s crystal clear blue seas. My care for the planet basically follows after I saw how much destruction and bleaching has happened to the coral reefs of Indonesia, which is happened to be the centre of marine biodiversity. From watching hundreds of nature documentaries on National Geographic and others, my awareness grew.

I’ve been doing several campaigns of anything I could find in my country or through the web related about climate change, marine protection, sustainability and animal rights. I’m not a direct campaigner as what you see in the cities with banners talking to the people, I’m the one you would find in the field monitoring for coral reef’s health or volunteering at a rescue and wildlife center, and raising awareness through social media platforms from the field.

 

#ExxonKnew

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Yesterday, we attended a very interesting gathering of people from around the world. A mock trial of Exxon vs The people were being held at a warehouse outside Paris. Apparently, having the knowledge of climate change since the 70s and all its effects, Exxon still chose profit over people and went ahead with their operation to extract oil from all over the United states. We had witnesses coming from the far end of Alaska and the Arctic, to the archipelago of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. They were all telling stories of the effects of what climate change and Exxon caused to their homes, family, community and livelihoods. It was devastating to hear livelihoods were being gambled for profit. It made me wonder whether other companies which have been causing a lot of damages to the environment and people, knew about climate change since before they’ve started their operations as well. We all need to simply sit down and remember that the wealth of a country is its air, water, soils, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, biodiversity. And not by how much livelihoods is at stakes.

 

After the event Kevin and I had the opportunity to have a short interview with Bill McKibben about his expatations from #cop21 and what youth can do…

Finally at COP21

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It is absolutely fantastic to be here. I’m still very stunted to see the whole event and everything that are going on at the same time. I wish I could clone myself so I can watch every parallel events that are happening at the venue. To be able to speak and interview world leaders and world experts coming from so many different countries is absolutely amazing and what i would call “brain-gasmic”. Especially for someone who’s still in university, I’m learning so much in a span of several days from just chit-chatting with everyone. And it’s wonderful to hear their response to our project and how they’re completely on board with giving youths the voice we need. I can’t wait to see what the next several days have in stored for us.

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Youth4Planet at the Responsible Business Forum

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On the 4th of November, Kevin and I were invited to represent the Youth4Planet team at the Responsible Business Forum for Sustainable Development. As a science student, I personally never thought to attend, let alone speak, at a business forum. So you can well imagine how honoured I felt to be given the chance to share my opinion on sustainability and my experience in the Arctic to a room full of amazing world innovators and entrepreneurs.


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Listening to what each of them have done / will do to attain sustainability in their companies were really inspiring. It made me very hopeful and believe this year will be our turning point for a better future. I was really surprised at the amount of positive responds we got from the audience as well. It seemed like everyone’s really interested in our project and truly believe the youth generation’s voices need to be taken into account. I simply can’t wait to see what decisions will be made at the COP21 this December.
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Green exploration in the Arctic

taken at Kangerlussuaq airport

We were lucky enough to be given the chance to stay at a hostel which is own by the world renown polar explorer, Ramon Hernando. Travellers from 10 different countries shared the place. Ramon is known for exploring the Arctic and the Antarctic by using a wind powered sled, which he designed himself. He designed his first wind-sled in the early 21st century, and from then on, it kept evolving. His latest design has 3 parts in it, a transparent tent in the front of the sled for the driver, a supply tent right behind it for equipments and resources, and another tent at the back for people to work and sleep in. He combines the old technology of the Inuit sled with the modern technology of incorporating wind energy. The design is so simple that not a lot of people are interested in it, commenting on it as if it’s not high-tech enough. He feels that using clean energy is the new era of exploration.

A combination of ancient and futuristic technologies is the new way to attain sustainability in this world. Our ancestors knew what they were doing when they first explored the planet. The difference is, their way was only sustainable in their era alone, when global population was not even half of the current status. With rising global population, we can’t simply follow the old ways and assume the planet will still be able to sustain them. I believe the current youth generation has the capability to innovate the old ways into a much a sustainable version for our world.

Nature knows no borders

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When you think about trees, the high arctic isn’t the first image that will pop into your head, let alone tree planting. You might be surprise to hear that some parts of Greenland do have trees. Although they are usually very small and don’t grow very tall due to the harsh climatic condition. In recent years, Greenland’s ice sheet has been retreating up north due to climate change. This increase in temperature, especially in south greenland and the coastal region, has caused a massive growth spurs on the trees around the area.

In the past year, there has been a program to plant more trees in Greenland, for the sake of helping mother nature along in climate change. Young trees which grow on similar temperature and condition in other parts of the world have been transported to greenland for replantation. There has been a total of around 300.000 trees planted in the forest area of Nasarssuaq.

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Prof. Jason Box has personally bought 2000 trees from the US and wanting to plant them in the amount of time we were there. With the help of forestry students from the University of Copenhagen, whom are having the same project of planting 15000 trees in a span of 10 days, we were able to plant all 2000 trees in just 5 days. It was not an easy task as this was a job done by not more than 20 people in total, but the feeling of knowing that in 5 years, those baby trees will grow big enough to reduce the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, was heartwarming.

Planting trees is one of the easiest thing we can do for the planet right now. I personally reckon that it doesn’t matter whether you’re planting trees in your home or foreign country, mother nature knows no borders, your tree will still be acknowledge. So lets start getting those hands dirty shall we.

The melting of the glacier

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We took a helicopter ride to Kiagtût Sermiat Glacier with world renowned Glaciologist, Prof. Jason Box. It was an amazing experience as it was the first time we all get to go on a helicopter ride. especially to get a view of the glacier from above with our own eyes.

 

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Helicopter view of the glacier

 

When we landed, the youths were escorted off the helicopter and we were left with survival gear for safety reason, whilst the crew flew off with the helicopter to get an aerial shot of us. We were told to not roam off anywhere as there was the possibility of the glacier cracking and dropping a hundred meters down.

 

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After a few shots, we were reunited with the crew and the youths set off to get some footages of our own. Prof. Jason Box brought a 6-8 m pole, which can be dismantled into several ones. He was trying to show us how much ice has melted in a one year period. It dawned on us on how tall the pole was and that we could be 8 m higher on the surface just a year ago. With the current global warming rate, the pole could double in height by mid century and THAT will cause a tremendous effect on the whole global climate.

 

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As Prof. Jason Box said, ” We are at turning point; my generation fully documented the climate crisis, now it’s the current generation’s job to get cracking on solution ”

 

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From Nuuk to Nuuk

I’ve had the most interesting flight journey of my life today . We rushed to the airport for our 9 am fight to Nasarssuaq. The plane was so small that we had to be weighed along with our baggages.

Entering the flight we noticed why so,it was completely packed. The journey was planned to take around 45 mins for a stopover before Narsassuaq. But due to the weather system not cooperating with the plane, we had to fly around Paamiut for an extra hour or two. There are certain requirements for planes to be allowed to land, which was pilots need to be able to see the runway at certain distance before landing. Our pilots did not meet the requirement so they decided to head back to Nuuk. On the way back, we saw the most breathtaking scenery, the greenland ice sheet. We were constantly on our cameras throughout the whole trip. We even had the opportunity to go into the cockpit and take shots of the scenery Air greenland is definitely one of the most friendliest airlines I’ve ever been on. The pilots were even willing to do a short interview whilst flying the plane. I took the opportunity to take a sneaky selfie with them as well.

After 45 mins, mother nature basically did not allow us to land in Nuuk. So we ended up flying back to the city of Kangerlussuaq, the original city where we first landed in Greenland on our first day. As the flight attendant said, “When in Greenland, time is not important, weather is”. After a short stopover at Kangerlussuaq, we headed back to Nuuk for another night and hope for a better weather the next day.

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Icebergs up ahead!

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Finally arriving at Nasarssuaq, we noticed how the bay is completely packed with icebergs from the fjords. The locals mentioned that they never had so many icebergs during this time of year in the last few decades.

As we were crossing the bay to reach our hostel, the Lief Kensington hostel, we passed a few giant icebergs along the way. The group’s impression on it started of with more excitement than worry, since all of us have never seen this sort of sightings before.

After settling in our hostel, we decided to head to the nearest fjord/valley, where the icebergs were born, to document the whole situation on camera. Towering to about 10m in the air, we were overwhelmed by the gigantic size of these bergs. We began to noticed how difficult it was to navigate through the icebergs. not only did the captain had to watched out for normal icebergs, there were black ice half submerged in the water as well, which is transparent ice that are hard to spot and can easily be hit.

This unusual event was simply due to the amount of rain they had this season, which is cause by an increase in the warming of the ocean. Rain causes the glacials to have cracks in their structure, which in turn produces more icebergs.

Hearing about this, I remembered my flight attendant mentioning that Nuuk had 8 months of snow this year. Climate change has caused the areas in Greenland to have much severe winter and warmer summer. In other words, a colder winter and more icebergs to navigate through in the summer.