“People are busy exploring options of life in Mars – why don’t they fix and protect our earth instead?”, said Krishna, a college student in environmental management when asked about his interest in environmental protection.

Krishna, 21, participated in a bootcamp as part of the WRI Indonesia’s Indonesian Young Thought Leaders (IYTL) on Environment program together with the other 19 participants, selected from almost 100 applicants to a nationwide essay competition. Winning essays included such topics as forests, recycling, food loss and waste, and environmental applications of Islamic banking.

The essay competition and camp were organized as part of the Indonesian Young Thought Leaders on Environment program, a mentorship program aimed to transform young individuals with knowledge, expertise and passions into agents of change in protecting the environment and improving lives.

The participants came from various backgrounds, from international relations, law, engineering, environmental management to accounting. The diversity shows that sustainable development is an issue that youth are passionate about. For instance, when asked about the reason to participate in the program, Ardhi, one of the participants, mentioned that he sought to channel his ideas about turning Depok, where he lives, into a more livable city. Others voiced their respective concern about environmental issues.


Throughout the camp, participants received trainings, including about research techniques and messaging, participated in roundtable discussions and worked in teams with mentors to create and present a research proposal. The energy and creativity of the participants were marvelous. They are likely to become leaders in whatever fields they eventually enter. Their understanding that growth and development can go hand-in-hand were also greatly increased throughout the camp. Perhaps most importantly, they found themselves among a group of peers who share concern and interest in sustainable development.

Three finalists out of this camp receive a one-month internship at WRI Indonesia and one of them will be selected to spend a month at WRI’s global office.