Yes, I know, it’s possible to think of a world record idea and several email / web form exchanges later, be able to attempt it in 15 minutes outright. I’ve done that many times. But approaching some world record attempt projects requires much longer lead in times than that. I’m experiencing that exact thing this week.
Here at a tiny and remote under-resourced village school more-or-less in the centre of Borneo, Indonesia, I’ve discovered s staff of teachers who’re longing for better educational resources to appear. Well, then came Al Galpin of WorldRecordChase.com and did things start to happen! As I await progress on other world record activity I’ve kick-started elsewhere in Borneo, I’ve set to creating colourful and informative items of all shapes, sizes and materials to be used in the bare-walled classrooms here. My objective is to implant basic knowledge about environmental sustainability into the minds of these little children.
I’m doing that, guided by the teachers, using whatever second-hand and waste items I can find. My aim as far as the materials I source are concerned is to utilize rubbish insofar as I can, to show the kids that much of what they traditionally call “waste” can – and should be – reused. Sure, I’ve had to use brand new items too, but I’m trying to limit my use of new stuff.
When I arrived here, the little ones were doing a few important things wrong, in just the right way to ensure their local community collapses in a heap of trash and self-created sterile natural surrounds. They’d throw plastics, metals, mechanical oils, old tyres, paint and anything else unwanted into the jungle river nearby without reserve. They’d toilet in the river and wave at friends brushing their teeth in the same river flow just 30 metres downstream. They’d burn piles of plastic in the streets, on school premises and in front of homes as a convenient way of making it “go away”. They’d chase and kill most wildlife species that were unfortunate enough to come within range of the village, and their goal seemed to be to catch every last fish possible down to an inch or less in length. All this in a jungle village of little fresh air; smokers constantly puff a haze of cigarette smoke into the air here, forcing every resident – be they a smoker or otherwise – to breathe the toxic particulates without an option.
That’s what I saw when I arrived. But I had a will to attempt to change that, because I’m aware that social and environmental collapse is a one-way process. There’s no praying to the gods, no wailing loud apologies, no retrospective discipline that can reverse collapse when it tumbles into action. My method, as you’ve probably guessed, is to link the ecological destruction in this village to projects involving world record attempts.
Without giving away too much at this stage, let me finish off by saying there’s plenty going on in this village right now. With teachers backing me, with students beginning to realise the difference between wise and unwise behaviours, and with plenty of encouragement, I’m making good headway into what I hope will be a year of meaningful world record success. It’s taking long hours, but my heart remains full of hope. I shall soldier on!