Bridging the People's Understanding Regarding Environmental Issues

Foto Mohammad Syifa
Photo 1. Mohammad Syifa.

Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer of rock band Green Day, once said that passion is power, it is the same strength Moch. Syifa has. It is his passion in writing and journalism is leading him to be a journalist and an editor in Jawa Pos Group. Syifa is responsible for writing and editing articles in the newspaper so that readers may understand them easily.

In his career, Syifa wishes to live his passion and professionalism in writing and journalism. Particularly, he is aiming to strengthen his skill in communication, especially regarding the environmental issues so the public may easily comprehend the information.

Syifa's interest in environmental issues started from his many experience of reporting news regarding environmental issues as a field journalist. Environmental issues, he said, are less popular among the people of Indonesia, particularly ones connected to the topic of climate changes. Portion for reporting such news in mass media is less sounding among the primetime. These issues motivated Syifa to deepen his understanding regarding the environmental issues.

In order to follow his passion, Syifa decided to continue his education into higher level. He heard about USAID-PRESTASI Scholarship program with the target of opening of environment studies and he enrolled.

"Actually, I have tried to apply for the USAID-PRESTASI two times. On the third trial in 2015, I was picked as one of the students who got the scholarship," Syifa recalled. Through the program, he took the Communication and Development Studies program in the Ohio University, Athens, United State, focusing on the topic of environmental issues.

In his study, Syifa learned a lot about the concept of continuity, climate change, migration, development, and strategies on designing effective communication in delivering message regarding environmental issues. He also took classes on environmental and science journalism and mass media law in order to support his career as a journalist.

Foto Mohammad Syifa
Photo 2. Syifa (with army green jacket) with his college friend in Ohio University, Athens, USA.

Other than studying in classes Syifa also participated in many field activities to support his master study. For example, a field trip to several places in Ohio, such as the closed coal mining site and the largest power generator in Ohio. At the field trip, he learnt the environmental issues caused by extensive mining and the use of coal-powered generator.

"Indonesia could take examples from my observation to these two sites. US government put the location of the closed mining site and power generator into rehabilitation by planting trees. Rehabilitation to the polluted environment remains a viable possibility," Syifa explained.

Syifa had been also actively following discussion forum with varied subject in the campus. He got the opportunity to participate in 2016 Global Fusion Conference, an annual conference for communication science held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

He got valuable lessons and experiences in his master study in United States to strengthen his duty as a journalist and editor. The major benefit of his study is he got his own way to deliver messages regarding the various environmental issues which the masses often found difficult to comprehend into something easily understandable through the mass media.

Syifa's workplace has also got the benefit from what he got from the study in master degree. "The company hoped the lessons I have learned can be taken by other employees as well," he added.

Foto Mohammad Syifa
Photo 3. Syifa (in black shirt) while conducting a discussion forum and discussing about media literacy related to environmental issues.

After he finished his master study, the man whose hobby is travelling towards new places, he opened several forums with his community as the place for discussion related to media literacy, especially regarding the environmental issues. His targets are young generation and young professional. As the step forward, he is planning to do research regarding teenagers' literacy on environmental issues.

Syifa's achievement today is nothing but hardwork. He sends his gratitude to the USAID PRESTASI Scholarship Program that gives positive support to his progress as an individual and as environmentalist. "The USAID-PRESTASI not only gave me the opportunity of master study, but also the opportunity of participating on many activities outside college. Adapting and getting to know the American culture further also will support my career development," Syifa added.

Thus, Syifa's message for the youth is for them to find their passion, for it is the key to success. "Never give up on realizing your passion. Whatever it is, as long as you are committed to it, it will always be something that meant the world for us," he closed.