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EARTHKEEPER HERO:
SURYO WARDHOYO PRAWIROATMODJO
by Wisnu from Surabaya

(www.rolexawards.com/l

As a child on the island of Java, Suryo fell in love with the outdoors during yearly trips with an aunt who introduced him how beauty is the environment. Young Suryo dreamed of being an archaeologist because it would allow him to work outdoors, but his parents told him he was too small for that career. So they compromised on his studying veterinary science when he enrolled in Airlangga University in Surabaya, east Java.

In 1982, Suryo went to west Java to work for the Green Indonesia Foundation. It was a pivotal time for Indonesia's environmental movement. He realised that nature wasn't the problem, he has to be more focus to the humans to change their attitude to the nature.

Environment Education Centre

Then, he back to Surabaya and began the quest to get environmental education to school's curricullum. Most of the schools were refusing that idea, but Suryo persisted and he got small group of teachers that support him. After that, he successfully convinced the World Wildlife Fund to support the purchase of land on the slopes of the sacred Penanggungan volcano, in east Java, where he founded the Indonesia’s first centre for environmental education.

Suryo’s commitment to environmental education won him a Rolex Award for Enterprise in 1990. The prize brought international recognition after several years during which Suryo had experienced the loneliness of his calling. With that Rolex Award he was able to finish the centre for environmental education.

After few years, environmental education centre for Bali was open in 1997 in Sanur, it was run by Balinese residents with Suryo as an adviser. Suryo helped establish a similar centre, focusing on coastal environmental issues, in south Sulawesi. In Irian Jaya, Indonesia’s eastern-most province, Suryo helped a school director start an environmental education centre. Following Suryo’s example, a group of women foresters began planning a centre in Bogor, west Java.

He is very kind to other people, his work has become an inspiration for many people. He is successfully atracting peopleand teaching them to behave and to care for the environment the right way. That's why he became my hero....


Written by Wisnu from Surabaya
Photos courtesy of rolexawards.com
Last changed on: 8/12/2005

A tribute to Suryo Wardhoyo Prawiroatmodjo Rolex Awards

Jeffrey, Paul. "Suryo Wardhoyo Prawiroatmodjo, Environmental Agitator." [Online] Available http://www.rolexawards.com/laureates/laureate-48-prawiroatmodjo.html.

Ashoka. "S u r y o W. P r a w i r o a t m o d j o." [Online] Available http://www.ashoka.org/id/fellows/fellows1990.cfm.

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