eco-Talk: Rama (R.O.L.E Foundation)


Meet Handoko Ramawidjaya Bumi aka Rama. as Media Manager for R.O.L.E Foundation, Rama finds a home for his love of the environment, inviting schoolchildren to visit and learn about the environment in their ecopark (among other activities they do). Indeed he does believe that children are key to a zero waste future. Find out why – and more! – in our latest eco-talk with the genial half-Balinese and half-Chinese.

What’s your view on waste, especially relating to your Balinese background and what’s actually happening in reality?

The waste issue is getting very massive each year—that I’m sure of. I lived in Sanur, and to go to work I have to pass by Suwung landfill where the smell has gotten unbearable, I can say double the smell since 2015. As a Balinese, it is such a shame that we move from everything organic to plastic in our daily God offerings. It used to be all banana leaf and young coconut leaf, now everything turns to plastic. In most Hindu ceremonies, there are candy offerings and somehow we don’t even take off the candy wrapper.

Tell us the worst waste experience you’ve gone through yourself?

Once I attended a Chinese ceremony for the deceased and after they scatter the ashes, they also threw plastic jar with offerings inside. I got furious and tried to warn them, but none of it worked. Also several times I attended environmental-related conferences or workshops and there were rice boxes everywhere! On the table, bench, walk path, grass—everywhere they sit. I’ve tried warning them, but they replied with “Oh there’s already a cleaner, why bother?” Often I’m devastated by how our society has turned into.

Tell us about your role in R.O.L.E Foundation?

Right now I’m the Media Manager of both R.O.L.E. Foundation and Bali WISE. I managed and create all the creative content for both foundation, be it a flyer, photo, video, website design, etc. I also managed both account social media for promotion and content.


What has changed in your life since working for ROLE?

Before I worked for R.O.L.E. Foundation, waste wasn’t the issue I was very much interested in as I was more into humanitarian. But, Mike O’Leary, our CEO, has opened my eyes that every problem in the world is connected together and how caring for the environment could solve at least sixty percent of that world problem. Every Sustainable Development Goals is connected with the environment and if we can tackle this issue than every other issue can be solved effectively and accurately.

The most rewarding experience in your role now?

Working for R.O.L.E. Foundation has been the greatest work I have done in the NGO industry. I’ve met new people I consider as eco-warriors, who are ready to tackle this problem once and for all. Seeing firsthand how the Zero Waste to Oceans – Education and Skills Center were built was also my greatest moment. Back in 2016, it was just empty land, no plant at all, and now after two years, it has become one of the top environmental education centers in Bali. I must say that I am very proud with R.O.L.E. Foundation and can’t thank them enough for this wonderful experience.

The biggest challenge in implementing your solution? Was it hard in convincing other people—family, friends—to be responsible for waste?

Being only 21, it’s not easy to get into the hearts of the adults around me. My family can’t get rid of plastic from our lives, not even reducing it. Even though my Mom bought a lot of reusable bags, she rarely brings it to the market and keeps asking for plastic. The problem with adults is that littering has become a habit and they don’t realize the impact later, no matter how many photos, videos, facts you show them, they won’t change. They will call us a bunch of youngsters and what do we know?

Children, however, are getting more and more aware of the problem and easier to educate. My niece, who’s five, already knows how to separate her waste and she sometimes lectures her grandma not to litter. It’s so cute to see. I’ve also discussed this education issues to Mr. Komang from Malu Dong Buang Sampah Sembarangan community voiced a similar sentiment. He even stated that he doesn’t want to be a guest speaker if most of the audiences are adults.

The first thing you’ll advise people to be more responsible with waste? Any zero waste tips?

Don’t litter—that’s the very first step! Getting rid of plastic from our daily lives is hard, so we must start from the small things such as littering. It looks small, but the impact is great. Bali doesn’t have enough trash bin and people just throw away randomly saying, “It’s okay if it’s only one.” If we can stop littering, then we can move slowly to differentiate our waste and reducing plastic.

Becoming Zero Waste is very tricky as most of our products nowadays contain plastic, but you can always start small by using a reusable plastic bag, reusable bottle, bringing your own metal straw to restaurants and café. Always try to buy organic products that are not covered in plastic packaging, which can easily be found at the local traditional market. Whenever they offer you plastic, just say no and pull out your own bag.



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