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2012 • Extended Service, Kristina Blank


Feb 2012

Kristina Blank volunteered her time with Friends Peace Teams to Indonesia in Jogjakarta in February and March of 2012. After finishing her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University at Buffalo in December 2011, Kristina decided she wanted to use her education to give something back to her global community before beginning her graduate studies in Environmental Health.

Kristina studied ceramic water filters with the University at Buffalo’s Dr. James Jensen in the summer of 2011, and was captivated by the notion that locally available materials can be utilized to make effective, affordable water filters for those who most need them. Kristina was excited to work with Nick Rozard in Jogjakarta to enhance the production of the filters. She believes that all humans have a right to clean drinking water, and channeled her research training, time, and energy into trying to make that right a reality for a greater proportion of Indonesians.

Kristina is also motivated by the environmental safeguards that ceramic water filters help to achieve. Vast swaths of forests are cut down for use as timber in fires when boiling water is used as a sanitation method. Indonesia is considered the fifth-most wealthy country in the world in terms of biodiversity, and much of that biodiversity is in its forests. Kristina hopes that the promotion of ceramic water filters will provide a better alternative to boiling water, thus helping to limit deforestation and preserve Indonesia’s biodiversity.

While Kristina hopes that ceramic water filters will improve both human and environmental conditions, she was also excited to support an organization that endorses nonviolence. As corporations move to privatize water in Indonesia and around the globe, the risk of violence increases. The placement of a price tag on water creates an economic gradient in which some individuals will inevitably be unable to afford the very resource that makes life possible. The denial of water is thus a form of violence. Kristina believes that ceramic water filters may help alleviate both the economic disparity and the violence by providing an affordable do-it-yourself alternative to privatized water. Nonviolence, environmental protection, human rights, and international friendships: now that’s the kind of project we should all be invested in!

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