The Surui people from the Brazilian rainforest are fighting to stop the destruction of their homeland. But instead of bows and arrows, they are using the Internet, GPS and Google Earth. Next they plan to start carbon emissions trading.
It is from here that he wages his battle against the deforestation of his homeland. His weapons of choice are the Internet, Google Earth, and GPS. He talks about satellite images, about the million trees he intends to plant, and the 16.4 million tons of carbon dioxide he wants to sell on the global emissions market.
Almir Surui believes his people need modernity to help them maintain their traditional way of life, that this is the only way they can save their forest, their culture, and their tribe. But because it is an experiment, the outcome is uncertain — for both the Surui and the rest of the world.
Indonesia is endowed with some of the most extensive and biologically diverse tropical forests in the world. Tens of millions of Indonesians depend directly on these forests for their livelihoods, whether gathering forest products for their daily needs or working in the wood-processing sectors of the economy. The forests are home to an abundance of flora and fauna unmatched in any country of comparable size. Even today, almost every ecological expedition that sets out to explore Indonesia’s tropical forests returns with discoveries of new species. More
Along the road to the downtown…
The long road from an airport leading to the downtown of a city in Western part of Borneo was quiet. Our plane touched down Pontianak (the city which is located exactly at the equator line, thus it’s indeed boiling weather in midday) late in the afternoon. I felt the hot air blowing soon I left then-simple-airport, and followed my dad hail a taxi. I heard people spoke Indonesian in a Malay accent- the accent which soon I adopted for a year or two.
My dad was sitting next to the taxi driver while I was sitting at the back seat of the taxi while enjoying the left and right view outside of the window. I was already excited about how the city looked like. The road leading to the downtown was long, and quiet. My vision of busy city soon vanished when I noticed high trees thickened by green leaves on the left and right side out of the window. I got goosebumps because they looked scary in my eyes; the eyes of a young girl who were used to living in a neighborhood with fewer forests. I was still young, and I didn’t pay attention too much on illegal logging. However, I remember noticing some logs scattered every few meters along the road. My goosebumps did not go away, you know what kid was imagining when seeing dark places or thick forests, hehe. Well anyhow, I was amazed with the view I was seeing that time.
At home… in the neighborhood called Danau(lake) Sentarum.
The thing I regretted a bit is the lack of memorable objects that can take my memory back to the time when I was in Borneo, living there for a year more precisely. The home I lived with my parents and siblings was a simple two-storey house. When I went upstairs, there was a small balcony, but it wasn’t that nice I’d say. The balcony was hot as it did not have a wide shady roof that could protect me from the rain if ever I had been there during the rain, besides, there was not so much space to stretch out my legs, I could only stand up. I didn’t like the balcony overlooking the thick forests in front of me.They still looked scary to me. There were only few simple houses in few meters distance away from each other, but they looked like forming a kind of organized settlement (you know with the leader of the community). My neighborhood was indeed far from what people now call as “Modern” life. It was a back-to-nature neighborhood. When I cycled I often found trees here and there. Sometimes I cycled my bike so fast that I felt extremely exhausted huffing, and puffing catching my breath which seemed to be lost in the forest I passed by, and which I was afraid of.
A year passed by…
Having relocated quite often was a part of my life, so that’s why I have mixed tastes of everything. I belong to many cultures. Yes, my dad worked in a forestry department, thus we all often relocated from one city to another, from one island to another- to find some greenery to analyze.
I was sad for leaving the city that gave me memory of thick forests I somehow was involved in. When I passed by the long, and still road to the airport, I still found the same images as the first time I came there; thick forests left and right, and some logs scattered every few meters away from each other. The forests began to fade away soon I entered the airport area. I turned my head back and looked at the window to say goodbye to the forests. Tears trickled down my cheeks
I am wondering how the forests look like along the road I passed by some years ago.
I am wondering whether they are still as thick as in 1992/1993.
I am wondering whether I will be welcomed by the presentations of malls, and settlements if I pass by the road for the second time. I can be a bit optimistic. Some days ago I asked a student of mine who visited Pontianak, and I asked him whether there were many malls there. He said “No, and it’s a boring city.” Perhaps the forests are still there
I am wondering whether my Borneo’s forests are still as evergreen as ever.
I should go back to answer all those of my inner monologues.
I should curse those who do illegal logging, dang!
I have a plan to have a garden that I will plant with some nice trees, and plants
I have a plan to present a little forest in my home someday.
I just hope my dreams come true.
To my Kalimantan ( Borneo) and orangutan
Updated from The Jakarta Post
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Indonesian Ecolabelling Institute (LEI) have launched an 18-month collaboration to explore potential areas of cooperation regarding responsible forest management and forest certification in Indonesia.
The agreement, signed in Bonn, Germany, recently by representatives of the two organizations, marks an important measure in the global efforts to facilitate responsible forest management in the tropics, and builds upon previous collaborative initiatives to advance forest certification in Indonesia, LEI said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
As biodiversity hotspots of the world, tropical forests are vital to the existence of millions of indigenous people, and possess a unique set of social and environmental attributes, the statement said.
The rainforests of Indonesia rank among the most extensive and biologically significant in the world. However, these forests are under tremendous pressure. Deforestation from illegal logging and forest conversion continues to threaten vital habitat and critically endangered species such as the Sumatran orangutans.