Haidar seeks balance in sustainable extraction

Fourth year student Haidar Putra

When your capital city is sinking into the ocean there are two things you can do: shrug and continue or figure out the role you can play in stopping it. For fourth year student Haidar Putra apathy wasn’t an option. He grew up in Indonesia and saw first-hand the effects of pollution and trash that wasn’t produced there. And time in Abu Dhabi and Qatar opened his eyes to development opportunities made possible through oil. Haidar connected all the dots and decided to be part of the solution.

Haidar is part of a larger student movement that wants to change the way earth science is perceived. He understands the role mining has played in providing so much of what we rely on and use today, especially our technology, but he believes geology can play a critical role in finding a balance around sustainable extraction.

Fourth year student Haidar Putra

Our program is so much more than Oil and Gas. Hydrogeology, geothermal, glaciology, and aqueous geochemistry are all areas of study that will have a profound impact on our world, and we have access to all of them and more.”

Haidar Putra

As an undergrad Haidar assisted with field work in B.C. rubbing shoulders with grad students and world-renowned faculty all while feeling like an equal in the process. Friendships from that experience continue today which has helped with course specific advice and a growing professional network.

Coming from a different culture, Haidar appreciated the collegiality of the faculty and department. Professors create a welcoming environment for learning, are open to conversations outside of office hours and participate in diverse campus activities, including dodge ball tournaments. Imagine engaging in a spirited session around solid carbon solutions and then sharing a beer with your prof after chucking dodge balls at one another. It’s the kind of atmosphere that promotes collaboration.

“My current supervisor, Rachel Lauer, always talks about super cool things that I don’t always fully understand, but her thoughtfulness and passion in explaining it rubs off on me. Most new students come in intimidated by the profs but really, they’re just kids at heart making a difference in some pretty incredible ways.”

Classes have also been far different than expected. One of Haidar’s favourites, Ben Tutolo’s Geology 403, was a class he thought would be lab centric. In fact, only a quarter of the classes were lab based as modelling and field trip work rounded out the experience. Lived experience ignited Haidar’s passion for change. Now, the Earth Science program gives him more positive real-life experience that fuels his desire to find real solutions. While Haidar initially entered the department with a focus on hydrogeology, his undergraduate journey led him to a diverse range of experiences. He was actively involved in testing Mixed Reality technology for earth science teaching, completed an internship in mining geology, and participated in an oceanography research expedition. He hopes that all these accumulated experiences will one day assist him in making a significant impact back in his home country.