It all began in childhood, where I grew up in Indonesia with two dogs, two turtles, four chickens, and many fishes. I loved taking care of them and my plants! My family taught me to understand that humans and all living creatures should live in harmony as we share the same planet.
It breaks my heart to see news about how endangered animals’ lives are threatened because of human activities. It is devastating to see hungry skinny polar bears struggling to find food in a melting habitat, crying orangutans trying to protect their baby while losing their home from deforestation, sea animals found dead with plastic inside their stomach, and the death of the Great Barrier Reef.
I wonder, if animals and plants could speak, what would they say, what are their wishes for the earth as their home, too?
I am sad to know that the earth has provided so much, but now a large part of its environment has been damaged and its living creatures are being harmed. Knowing that human activities are one of the factors contributing to our environmental problems has driven me, even more, to be responsible for what we, humans, do. Although the rate of environmental damage is still increasing across the world, I have a strong hope that we can do something good for this earth!
As a child, it became my dream to raise awareness to be kinder to our planet and all its inhabitants, but I did not know how to do it. I felt small and powerless, I thought nothing I could do would make a big difference.
In my final year of my master’s degree in architecture school in Sweden as I was writing my thesis about Child Friendly City design interventions, I came across Comics Uniting Nations’ Climate Comic Contest! This contest challenges young people around the world to create a climate superhero character to protect our planet and save the world with their superpowers. The deadline for the contest was only a few days away, but I thought this was a perfect shot for me to do what I love - drawing illustrations and writing stories - while at the same time having the chance to meet my dream- raise awareness to environmental issues. I believe comic books can reach anyone in the world, starting from children to adults, because it is easy and fun to read. Am I right? This was my chance to make a difference!
I started to draw my ideas quickly, and as I love marine life, I decided to talk about this in my comic book! A couple of months after I sent my sketches, I received an email from UNICEF that they were interested in developing my idea into a real comic book. It was one of the best days of my life! I am glad to share with you, my comic book entitled The Ocean Adventure of Sasha the Shark and Pipi the Pilot Fish, which tells a story about life below water and how these best friends work together to make the ocean cleaner!
In my eyes, children are the present and the future. All children deserve to have access to education and learn about what is truly happening on earth. Children have the rights to raise their voice and to be included in decision-making processes and building a sustainable world.
Through my comic book, I might be doing something very small in hopes of a better earth for children and all creatures, but I do know that no matter how small we try, it matters. No matter who you are, you have a talent which you can use to create a better world. Everyone has their own ways to express their thoughts and share their ideas, and I am sure you do too.
I love the earth, do you?