Volunteer Spotlight: Russell

If PM Haze was an animal I think it would be a Platypus because of its versatility.
Russell pic

How did you get to know PM Haze?

I met Tan Yi Han when I attended the ‘Mother Earth Toast Masters Club”, we kept contact and he sent me an invitation to a PM Haze meeting.

Why did you choose to be part of PM Haze?

In 2015 I was deeply concerned by the extent of smoke haze in Singapore.  Already aware of the underlying causes I researched the issue further and started blogging about it. My concern was not just for us in Singapore but the wider regional and global implications. I saw PM Haze as attempting to confront this problem through education and direct assistance to people affected by the haze, also joining with people at a grass roots level in Malaysia and Indonesia and attempting to find solutions.

Do you consider the Haze a big “cause” to fight?

Smoke haze is a very big problem, not just for people’s health but for the health of our planet.

What do you do with PM Haze? what SB team are you part of?

I’ve been helping in research and with the newsletter.

Are you facing any difficulties?

As someone in his 70th year I am at risk of serious ill health when the PSI is 100 or above.

What is your most memorable souvenir with PM Haze?

My most memorable souvenir from my time with PM.Haze is the friendship and connection with people from all walks of life both here in Singapore and on our recent Peoples Expedition to Experience Peat (PEEP) in Sungai Tohor, Indonesia.

What did you learn with PM HAZE so far?

I’ve learned of the commitment amongst PM HAZE members, their concern for the environment and people’s health, but my most profound learning was on the PEEP canal blocking activity to Indonesia. I came to understand that, while orang utan and tigers are well known victims of the forest clearing and burning for oil palm cultivation, Indigenous people are also greatly affected. This moved me to write a story about my experience. 

Could you tell us more about your background? What did you before?

Before retiring I worked in the development of digital teaching and learning materials and action based research on the deployment of digital technologies in 1:1 computer based classrooms. 
From 1984 until 2002 I operated a field study centre in Indonesia also working as a consultant to the Australia Indonesia Institute, Garuda Orient Holidays, Garuda Indonesia, Fork Films, and many other groups. This work involved developing and consolidating regional links through business, education, media and cultural exchange. Prior to 1984 I worked as a teacher, and as an educational administrator with a state wide responsibilities in NSW.

What are your expectations about PM Haze, in terms of how you want to get more involve or is there a direction that you would hope PM Haze will take?

I will continue to help in any way I can

Where do you see yourself and PM Haze in five years?

Within five years I think PM Haze will have become an important educative force in our region. I will have returned to Australia glad of my time with PM Haze, maintaining the contacts, and writing more about the environment.

If PM Haze was an animal what would it be?

If PM Haze was an animal I think it would be a Platypus because of its versatility.  Like this animal, it is adapted for life in a complex environment, though it is happiest when the swamps, lakes and rivers are at their most pristine. It is an amazing survivor with a great capacity for adaptation and can even live in urban rivers surrounded by the complexities of city life.  Maybe I’m describing the otter as well.

Are you involved in other environmental activities?

I have been involved in environmental activities since the 1970s. My focus has always been on education. I still blog about the environment. 

What would you say to someone hesitating to be part of PM Haze?

PM Haze is deeply and practically concerned about our environment and our health, working patiently, encouraging people to take responsibility for maintaining a safe liveable environment. It works to extend awareness, promoting environmentally sustainable practices in work, production, consumption and life. Without a sustainable approach, we are neglecting our responsibility for the health and safety of our fellow beings, we are failing to love our neighbours.

 

 

 

Short Bio to know more about Russell

Russell Darnley lives in Singapore where he writes short stories in the creative non-fiction genre.  His book “Seen and Unseen: a century of stories from Asia and the Pacific” was launched in 2016. He has lived and travelled in South East Asia since 1972.

He has an Arts Degree in economics, geography and history, with a Diploma in Education, from the University of Sydney. He also acquired a Certificate in Indonesian language, history and culture, from Sydney Technical College.

As an educationalist, he has strong interests and experience in e-learning, m-learning and Project Based Learning, employing connectivist and constructivist pedagogy.

From 2002 until 2013 he worked in the development of digital teaching and learning materials at a national level, in Australia, and then in the development of a digital content management system for a school, conducting action based research and leading the deployment of digital technologies in 1:1 computer based classrooms.

From 1984 until 2002 he was a small business owner operating interdisciplinary and intercultural field study centres in Indonesia. During this period, he coordinated a team that produced ‘Geografi Australia’, a text for middle school in Indonesia.  He also worked as a consultant to the Australia Indonesia Institute, Garuda Orient Holidays, Garuda Indonesia, Fork Films, and many other groups, acquiring skills and experience in developing and consolidating regional links through business, education, media and cultural exchange.

From 1972 until 1984 he worked as a teacher and educational administrator.

He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his voluntary work after the 2002 Bali Bombings.

Russell’s outlook is eclectic and interdisciplinary, environmentally focused, passionately scientific yet profoundly spiritual.