Bridging Borders for Sustainability
Upskill Post Graduate Semester Program Final Lecture Summer Semester 2023
Henrik Schmidt is an avid scholar, teacher, and researcher from Switzerland, shared his meaningful experience after finishing his semester of Tropical Coastal Ecology and Community Based Management with upskill study of Udayana University
The last day of upskill’s Tropical Coastal Ecology and Community Based Management with upskill study of Udayana University closing event commenced with opening speeches from Professor Ir. Ida Ayu Astarini, M.Sc., Ph.D., and Professor Dr. I Wayan Budiasa, S.P., M.P. NIP, highlighting the significance of the program and the importance of cross-cultural knowledge exchange. It was also attended by esteemed individuals including Professor Dr. I Wayan Budiasa, S.P., M.P. NIP, the Director of the Postgraduate Program, Yayasan LINI (Nika), Urban Biologist Mr. Buya Azmedia from Urban Compost, Drs. Job Nico Subagio, M.Si. from YBPL (Yayasan Biodiversitas Pesisir dan Laut), Laura Korwa and Wahyu Gunawan from the Upskill team, as well as representatives from UPIKS FMIPA Udayana and the Vice Dean II of the Postgraduate Program.
Following these speeches, Mr. Henrik Schmidt, our post graduate first participant, took the stage to deliver his final lecture, sharing his invaluable experiences and insights gained from his exploration of Balinese culture, biodiversity, and sustainability initiatives.
The Complex Beauty of Balinese Culture
Henrik emphasizes the complexity and beauty of Balinese culture, particularly its embrace of diversity. As a member of a patchwork family, Henrik's personal experience resonates with Balinese society, which also values and accommodates diverse family structures. The Balinese culture serves as a metaphorical mirror for Henrik, reflecting the intricate tapestry of human connections that transcend geographical boundaries.
The Magnificent Mangroves
Henrik's exploration of Bali's mangrove forests revealed both their decline and growth in certain areas. He discovered that Indonesia, particularly Bali, leads the world in terms of mangrove coverage. However, the lack of protection in many areas poses a threat to these vital ecosystems. Henrik highlights the numerous benefits of mangroves, including erosion prevention, nutrient capture, and their role in safeguarding against tsunamis. Furthermore, the immense biodiversity found within Indonesian mangroves, with over 40 mangrove species, showcases the significance of these forests as crucial ecological niches.
Keystone Species and Ecosystem Management
Drawing a comparison between the fauna of Switzerland and Indonesia, Henrik discusses the successful reintroduction of keystone species such as lynx and wolves in Switzerland. He contemplates the potential for reintroducing other keystone species in Bali, such as saltwater crocodiles or tigers, to aid in ecosystem management. Henrik recognizes the complexities and potential conflicts associated with reintroduction efforts but believes that such discussions can lead to a deeper understanding of ecological dynamics.
The Carbon Story: Mangroves and Seagrass
Henrik explores the immense carbon storage capacity of mangroves, which makes Indonesia's mangrove forests a crucial resource for global carbon neutrality. He also emphasizes the importance of seagrass meadows in capturing carbon and their ability to fulfill various Sustainable Development Goals. Henrik points out the value of these ecosystems in terms of economic benefits and suggests exploring alternative uses for seagrass, such as insulation material.
Community-Based Initiatives and Stakeholder Engagement
Henrik acknowledges Bali's strength in community-based initiatives and active stakeholder engagement. He praises the collaborative efforts of local communities, particularly in the Guelphar area, in conserving and utilizing their natural resources sustainably. Henrik also highlights the potential of innovative projects like fish domes, which involve global participation and support.
Lessons for Switzerland
Through his experiences in Bali, Henrik recognizes the importance of ongoing dialogue and engagement between the public, politicians, and policymakers. He contrasts Switzerland's representative democracy with Bali's community-centered approach, emphasizing the need for increased citizen involvement in decision-making processes. Henrik believes that Swiss society could benefit from learning about Bali's inclusive governance model.
As the event drew to a close, Mr. Schmidt was presented with a certificate of completion, recognizing his successful attainment of the postgraduate program's objectives. This achievement symbolizes the culmination of his academic journey in Bali and stands as an evidence of the grand value in promoting worldwide cooperation and mutual comprehension.
The journey of Henrik and his family in Bali exemplifies the potential for cross-cultural learning and exchange. Through his exploration of Balinese culture, biodiversity, and sustainability initiatives, Henrik discovered valuable lessons that can be applied in his native Switzerland. The intricate tapestry of Balinese culture, the significance of mangroves and seagrass, the role of keystone species, and the power of community-based initiatives all offer inspiration and insights for sustainable development. By fostering a mutual understanding and shared commitment to ecological preservation, cultures around the world can collaborate to address pressing environmental challenges.
By Billy Bagus