“If you don’t know it, you won’t love it”

to understand what the environment means to me

Fatmawati Santosa

--

There is a phrase in Indonesian: “Tak kenal, maka tak sayang”. If I translate it to English, more or less it means: “If you don’t know it, you won’t love it”. This phrase has been said to me, when my mother found out that I was fighting (verbally and emotionally — not physically) with friends at school. She used to calm me down by saying, “When you become angry, you don’t try to get to know her better. You have to know her more, so that you could become a best friend.”

There are so many suggestion about contribution we can do to save the environment from climate change. I instantly think about, “Alright, I’ll use less plastics and transition to be a vegan.” But honestly, I did not know which part of environment I should save. The whole earth? I am just one individual without any political power and authority. What does the environment even mean for me?

I was walking in the forest along the river last week. It was a good weather day in winter, 5-deg-Celcius outside, with clear blue sky above me. I took couple of deep breaths and I could feel the fresh air flowed and cleaned up my lungs. My brain suddenly loaded a memory from 10 years ago when I lived in the suburb of Jakarta, Indonesia. I just graduated from the university, got my first job about 30 kilometres from where I lived. Luckily, the company provided the company busses from several pick-up spots across the megacity.

The bus started at 6am to avoid the traffic in the highway. The office starts at 8am and ends at 5pm (or much later than that). In the morning, when traffic was fine, it took us around 45 minutes to reach the office. On the way back home in the late afternoon or evening, it could take between 1 and 3 hours.

Here is the thing, the bus had no air conditioner. To put into context why this point is important: the average temperature in the morning was 28-deg-Celcius, but late afternoon it could reach more than 30-deg-Celcius, with humidity between 70–80%. We had to open the sliding window to get some air (not fresh, but better than no air at all). Once I arrived at the office, I rushed to the restroom to wipe my face. The wipe was normally getting black spots.

Photo by Achmad Al Fadhli on Unsplash — common view during rush hour

--

--

Fatmawati Santosa

sharing thoughts, experience, and lessons learned | an engineer on working days and a dreamer for most of the time :)