I was out in Samarinda last week. A city in East Kalimantan, in the land of most remained forests in Indonesia but also has the issue of land conversion to oil palm plantation and mining. It turned out that last week popular issue was an article on K-index. Thanks to Felicia, one of the young field biologist in Indonesia, who post about this in her blog “Indonesian Scientists on Social Media” #WomenTweetScienceToo. I do not blog often. I used to when I was finishing my PhD.
So, why I blog? I have several reasons of course. First, I was a PhD student. I need a scientifically reasonable procrastination besides grooming my data. I wrote about this years ago. Blogging is a good way to practice my analytical thinking, combining problems in my data analysis and find justifications, and arranging a better systematic thinking. Second, I lost my oldest brother during these years of finishing my PhD. He had PhD in physics, material science and a lecturer at a university. My reason was simple, he had his legacy in his students, I didn’t. I spent my time in the field, not in class. Although I met many students, I was more of ‘field teacher’ or ‘field supervisor’. How can I give more? Blogging is my way of giving, a pay it forward at least in my Indonesian blog. English is not our mother tongue and I know that many students still use Indonesians in google search. I wanted to fill this space by not using by not copying textbook but combine some field observations with science thought. I got many comments and questions. I even helped some of them analyze their data with PCA. Today, I don’t write that often but I still got around 100 visits per week.
Todays, blogging is not so popular anymore. People turn to more instantly social media like twitter and facebook. But I still think that there are still not many conservation biologists share their thoughts in social media. When it comes to science, social media can be ambiguous. It’s hard to say about your own research when you have not publish it, particularly for me who doesn’t have many publications yet. You want to say something about your work but afraid that it will affect your institutions and yet, you represent your institutions even though you try to be anonymous. But you still can write anything. Felicia said that blog can be used as portfolio. Life is a science itself. There is science behind cooking. The red color in red velvet cake needs chemistry. Watching my son grow is a storytelling for my blog and my behavioral ecology class. Yes, I teach in class now even though I am still not a formal teacher at the university. Scientists have the obligation to teach people, formal or informal. How can you wish people to understand and join the green lifestyle or green economy without you showing the way. People hear about REDD+ but some of them don’t realize that you need to integrate your way of using transportation, or buy more local food, grow local fruit plants, or keep a mixed plants in your garden can help in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Blogging and other social media provide space to fill in. There are many good scientists in this country, some are my friends. I wish they write more….
Anyway, the picture is a commemorate to my last visit to East Kalimantan. The picture was taken in 1997 during my field visit to East Kalimantan. Our team, Suer Suryadi, Bas van Balen, and Rajendra Puri went to the up rivers around Malinau where we go through our survey using small boat. It was durian season and we enjoyed our durian feast at the end of our survey……
This post is a compliment to Felicia Lasmana.