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Indonesian priest leads crusade against climate change

Father Marselus Hasan's use of hydroelectricity is empowering farmers to build better lives and look after the planet

Indonesian priest leads crusade against climate change

Father Marselus Hasan from Ruteng Diocese speaks to farmers in East Nusa Tenggara. (Photo supplied)

Bitter experience of dealing with a broken generator when working in St. Damian Parish in Bea Muring, a remote area in Ruteng Diocese in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province, persuaded Father Marselus Hasan to find a new source of electricity.

"Almost every night I was with the staff at the rectory busy taking care of the generator," he said.

In 2011, many people in the province still used gas or kerosene lamps, in addition to generators as a source of lighting at night.

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Frustrated with the situation, Father Hasan sought information on alternative electrical energy sources. The 38-year-old priest then contacted Budi Yuwono, a hydroelectric expert in Java who agreed to go to Flores to conduct a survey.

After the survey was conducted, the priest and the local community agreed to start a hydroelectric project using a nearby river as a power source.

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