We’ve been hearing a lot about the Indonesian rainforests lately and there is a terrible reason why. They are being razed at an alarming rate, killing wildlife and wiping out the livelihood of millions.
Before the dawn of the 70’s, 80% of Indonesian rainforests were still around according to the Rainforest Action Network. But then we got greedy and the picture today is a scary one. Our insatiable demand for products like pulp, paper and in particular palm oil (which shows up in so many products), has meant that over half of the Indonesian rainforests are gone. This is playing havoc, not only with the oxygen supply we all need to survive but with animal and human survival in that nation. Endangered species have become even more so as their home is taken away from them and they simply don’t have enough space to live on. Tension has arisen between indigenous communities for the same reason. Resources are getting harder to find and for those who need the rainforest to survive, the odds are looking pretty grim.
In the pursuit of profit, small farmers don’t stand a chance against the big guys and usually end up being swept off their land, which will eventually be destroyed.
The razing of the Indonesian rainforests is not a gradual process either, conservative estimates say we are losing over a million hectares a year, that’s over 2.4 million acres. That football field a day mantra we all hear probably underestimates the problem.
After forests are cut down, which can often involve large scale fires that are choking Indonesia, the pesticides roll in. In this way, the beauty of the place, the air, and even the water are destroyed for everyone.
Generations of people will suffer for the benefit of a handful who will leave a trail of destruction in their wake. So take a look at the products you buy, see how much they are connected to the rainforest, and vote with your wallet. If there is no market, these purveyors of destruction will have no motive, we will get our world forests back and the people there can have their home as it should be.