Sena Pradipta


My name is Sena Pradipta. I'm from Indonesia. I go to Oregon State University where I am a PhD candidate in Public Policy.

What sustainability, energy, and community issues are important to you?

As a person with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering and a master's degree in mining engineering, supplemented with 13 years working in government dealing with a bunch of environmental and energy issues including contaminated site remediation, I think have seen nasty kinds of stuff as results from our business as usual "modern" way of life. Devastating environmental and social impacts from oil spills and the existence of the oil & gas industry to a country itself is jaw-dropping. My vision is to have communities that in aggregate would establish countries which are energy self-sustaining with wastes as the primary sources. We despise wastes, yet we have the mindset of NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) on managing our leftovers. By doing so, the world starting from our household has been distributing injustice to marginalized people. For example, Indonesia is the latest Southeast Asian country to send back trash amid a spike in imports from Western countries after China banned imports, disrupting the global flow of millions of tons of waste each year (Reuters.com, accessed 06/17/2019). However, the NIMBY frame of thought is also reversible; only if we perceive wastes as resources. These wastes, in addition to our daily bodily fecal wastes, have a significant potential for energy generation. By harnessing these unorthodox energy sources, we might solve at least two problems of waste management and energy demand. These energy self-sufficient communities would also play a significant part to transform the global society's heavy dependence towards oil & gas industry, which not only bring about the idea of "modernity" but also catastrophes which displaced, corrupted, polluted, divided, and killed many people, including women, children, and fundamental elements of the ecosystem in form of environmental deterioration.

What exciting projects/research are you working on now?

My research interest is related to "greenwashing," a practice of misleading consumers about firm environmental performance or the environmental benefits of a product or service (Delmas & Burbano, 2011). I am trying to build a more robust model to measure greenwashing and observe how the government's policies might stimulate or inhibit greenwashing, especially in the oil and gas sector. It is tough work because the foundation of the idea measures lies, and people's perception of being lied upon, which also problematic since I am also a "rationally bounded" individual. Another challenge is related to the researcher's bias since I have seen the bad stuff more than the good stuff. So, if you had experience with lies and being lied upon, I would love to discuss it with you. It is probably not a very interesting topic to start a conversation. Other than that, I just finished writing a book for my office in Indonesia on the lesson learned from the most massive oil spill ever recorded in Indonesia, which was happened in March 2018. I hope they will publish it soon. I also have a few ongoing papers related to environmental policies with hopes of being published. 

What are your plans for the next five years?

  1. Make more friends from all parts of the world each year, including from SISE's cohort, lecturers, and administrators.

  2. Can introduce myself as Dr. Sena Pradipta, an expert on greenwashing with a lot of friends.

  3. Return to Indonesia, hope to contribute to impactful policies regarding energy self-sufficient and sustainable living.

  4. Establishing an educational institution for politician and politician hopefuls to mainstream waste to energy vision and bring us closer to "real" sustainability.

  5. Publish a book on governance without oil, but with feces instead.

What made you want to apply to SISE?

SISE's perspective on energy transition profoundly resonates with my vision on a significant transformation from fossil fuel to wastes. SISE's diverse cohorts also might act as a venue for nurturing and establishing collaborative governance to promote and implement the transition to a global sustainable society in the future.

What are you most looking forward to doing in Chicago?

Visit the Argonne lab, the Oriental Museum, and related places which enable me to learn more about the great transformation from the legendary war between Al Capone with the Untouchables, a remarkable story on how a small band of strong-willed individuals toppled a substantial status quo.

Do you like Cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?

My most viewed YouTube videos are either Cream Heroes (the story about seven cats and their butler, including the mischievous-omnivorous chubby munchkin, named Lulu who will eat even pills, vegetables and exotic fruits such as durian), or Hosico, a calm golden Scottish straight cat. So yes, I love cats!