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Waste Time: Responding Locally to Global Issues

November 8, 2019

This coming Thursday, November 14, 2019, UW SEED (Students Expressing Environmental Education) will be hosting a screening of the film, Waste Time, a documentary covering the prevailing waste problem in Saparua, Indonesia. After the screening, they will be holding a discussion on how we can respond locally to these issues that affect people globally.

Waste Time is the story of a shared dream. Conscious of being surrounded by the polluted ocean and of the absence of a functioning waste management system, the inhabitants of the small Moluccan island of Saparua had no choice but to mobilize their own forces and find local solutions to the global environmental problem that affects their daily lives.

In anticipation of the screening next week, we spoke with Lois Hutubessy, who will be curating the event.

Could you give us a brief explanation of what the film covers?

The inhabitants of the small Moluccan island of Saparua have always relied on their spices and on fishing to survive. In the last years, because of the big amount of plastic spread over the island and into the ocean surrounding it, the fishing has becoming insufficient and contaminated. Waste Time shows how a diverse group of people from the shop owner to school children take action together and find creative solutions to reduce, reuse, and process waste, despite the absence of a functioning waste management system. After all,  “if we don’t do it, who will?” sings to us the local traditional guard of nature. Pollution is affecting today not only Saparua island but the entire world, especially those communities living in areas where there is no functioning waste management system.

What makes Saparua, Indonesia, a particularly significant point of intervention?

Waste Time is the third episode of a documentary series that illustrates the community work approach of the international NGO The Constellation. This series is called As You Open Your Eyes, and each episode shows the story of a different community, in a different place with a different local issue. The purpose of these episodes is to spread these stories and trigger discussions on how people deal with these issues in their own communities. That Waste Time takes place in Saparua means it is specifically relevant to the communities on that island, and allows us to locate and think locally about the repercussions of global waste production and inadequate waste management.

Could you tell us a bit more about The Constellation?

The ultimate goal of The Constellation is to “connect local responses around the world,” and since 2005, they have facilitated local responses in more than 50 countries through partnerships with governments and organisations as well as through coaching small groups of people. Their mode of interaction with the communities they work with uses the acronym SALT: Stimulate/Support, Appreciate, Listen/Learn/Link, Transfer/Team/Trust/Transform. The appreciative approach characterized by SALT supports the community through the hard work, and the setbacks that they will inevitably encounter.

Finally, what can you tell us about your ongoing efforts to raise awareness about these global issues?

There’s an action going on right now to help reduce waste: We would like that as many as possible of these communities can be inspired by the people from Saparua during screening sessions of Waste Time. We want organize four screening sessions for youth in Burundi, Indonesia, Uganda and Rwanda. Each film performance will be followed by a SALT session (the NGO’s approach) where the children will develop their own feasible actions towards a clean environment. To find out more, visit

The Waste Time screening will be held at 5:30 PM on Thursday, November 14, 2019, in the Alder Auditorium.