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Ari Putra Susanto: Always Adapting, Always Learning

Fieldwork of any kind constantly requires well-rounded thinking. Out in the field, things always change; often in unexpected ways. At times, those changes turn out to be detrimental to your work.

As such, it is important for anyone whose career involves fieldwork to be agile, able to quickly adapt to different situations and turn potentially challenging scenarios around.

This is especially true when it comes to Ari Putra Susanto's role as a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Assistant. The position Ari currently holds is quite unique.


“The knowledge around this specific science is quiet rare in Indonesia, and here I am getting it first hand from the expert.”

As a GHG Assistant, Ari is responsible for regularly collecting and processing atmospheric measurement data from instruments located at four different GHG Towers belonging to APRIL in Pelalawan, Siak and Kampar Regencies, Riau Province. He is also tasked with periodic maintenance and calibration of these instruments that are designed to monitor GHG emissions around the company’s operational areas.

"That is the basic outline. In addition to that, you also have to pay attention to other technical substances and regularly coordinate with the other teams to ensure the greenhouse emission monitoring project runs smooth," Ari said.

Once he completed processing all available data from the GHG Tower instruments, he then coordinated with other teams to synchronize the results into a research paper to be published in a scientific journal.

“Working as a GHG assistant is multifaceted, starting from being accountable for the equipment maintenance out in the field, to analyzing data that can be communicated to the scientific community.”

However, this is where things begin to get more interesting.

Ari's responsibility does not only require that he abides by this regular routine of data collection and processing; he is also expected to be ready 24/7 to deal with potential issues that may affect the research, such as equipment failure.

The towers use cutting-edge technology, and spare parts are only available overseas.

Thus, if the project's GHG instruments experience technical breakdowns, Ari has to find effective ways to handle the issue.

"A GHG Assistant is also the engineer for GHG instruments, as we can’t rely only on external engineers. We have to understand our own instruments and be able to solve light to medium levels of problems," Ari said.

It’s a wide-ranging challenge, so Ari, who was educated in forestry, had to learn meteorology, environmental engineering, and mapping in order to do the job well.

Thankfully, for Ari, this kind of mindset came naturally.

"With my enthusiasm for learning new things and willingness to accept new challenges, I was able to adjust to this role," said Ari, adding that after nearly three years of growing with APRIL in this field, he can now keep up with much more scientific and complex work arrangements.

To help him cope with this challenging condition, he always believes that even an expert has to start somewhere.

“I learned many hard-earned and valuable environmental knowledge by working in APRIL for the past three years. The role gives me a sound understanding of greenhouse gas emission patterns; this information helps us to understand trends of climate change in the future. Most importantly, this role has inspired me to keep on learning – after all, any expert, at some point, started as a beginner.”