Re-posting from forestheroes.org
Why all the fuss about palm oil to begin with? Well if you’re new to the campaign and this blog, the palm oil industry is currently one of the most environmentally destructive on the planet. The rapid spread of palm oil plantations is responsible for rampant deforestation, endangered species habitat loss, and severe climate and local air pollution. Though there are now hopes that today’s announcement could begin to change that.
Wilmar’s new “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation Policy” would, if implemented, catalyze a wholesale change in how palm oil is produced, and where plantations are sited.
So what exactly does the policy entail? Basically, it calls for numerous provisions to change the way commodities are sourced:
- No Deforestation: No more cutting down the rainforest for agricultural production.
- No Exploitation: Protect the rights of workers and communities, including the right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.
- Protects High Carbon Stock landscape: Including peatlands of any depth.
- Protects High Conservation Value forests: No more clearing of forests that are habitat for endangered species, such as orangutans, Sumatran tigers, elephants, and rhinos.
Up until now, the largely unregulated — and rapidly growing — industry has laid waste to more than 30,000 square miles of tropical rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia alone. Palm oil is a $50 billion a year commodity that winds up in roughly half of all consumer goods for sale, including snacks and sweets and soaps and detergents and countless other packaged goods. Over the past decade alone, palm oil imports to the U.S. have increased nearly fivefold. The incredible loss of richly biodiverse rainforests to clearcutting also threatens the 400 or so remaining Sumatran tigers, as well as orangutans, elephants, and rhinos. Not to mention the tens of millions of people who depend on the forests to survive. Then there’s the climate impact of stripping the world of some of its most important carbon sinks. Factor in forest loss, and Indonesia is the world’s third largest source of global warming pollution.
Last week, I gave yet another talk on orangutan conservation, with student presentations about the problems with palm oil, deforestation, mining and the bushmeat trade and how these threaten nonhuman primates. Today there’s another urgent plea to save one of our most endangered relatives:
Earlier this year, more than a million people around the world called on the Governor of Aceh to abandon plans to carve up the irreplaceable Leuser Ecosystem with new roads, plantations and gold mines. The global outcry succeeded in delaying the province’s new spatial plan.
But it hasn’t been abandonned – yet. The decision will be made this month. The plan must be rejected. Please read about the campaign here, and sign the new petition today, there’s no time to lose.
Please share this urgent campaign far and wide – the wildlife, forests and people of Aceh need you now more than ever before.
re-posted from SOS Newsletter
Long-time population maven Paul Ehrlich just published a post called Overpopulation and the Collapse of Civilization on the blog for the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (MAHB).
“Food is just the most obvious area where overpopulation tends to darken the human future – virtually every other human problem from air pollution and brute overcrowding to resource shortages and declining democracy is exacerbated by further population growth.”
“A popular movement is needed to correct that failure and direct cultural evolution toward providing the “foresight intelligence” and the agricultural, environmental, and demographic planning that markets cannot supply. “
This timing is good, as I just taught my Biological Anthropology lab unit on population. I’ve made the student and instructor materials for this module available, as part of my work on a grant for Engaged Interdisciplinary Learning for Sustainability.
I also continue to hear from the folks at Californians for Population Stabilization. I know, it sounds like exactly the kind of sane thinking that Dr. Ehrlich was talking about. That’s what I thought it was at first, too. Unfortunately, it turns out that they’re on an extreme anti-immigration kick. I tend to think this is antithetical to the actual goal of GLOBAL population stabilization. After all, as Hans Rosling shows, increasing prosperity and child survival reduces birthrates and population growth; immigrants in the US definitely follow this trend. In fact, something like the DREAM Act is likely to lead to exactly the kind of improved education and opportunity for girls that leads to reduced fecundity and zero population growth. So yes, a narrow, parochial approach to population stabilization in California might be served by reducing immigration, but it would probably just exacerbate the global population problem.
Let’s focus on the big picture, people! You’ve got to think global while you act local (or global). And remember, Dr. Pongo sez “Copulate, Don’t Populate!”
Do something amazing for orangutans in Orange October!
Sumatran Orangutan Society‘s Orange October Guide has 31 ideas – one for every day of the month – from having an Orange Day at work or school, to carving an orangutan pumpkin for Halloween. There are lots of suggestions that would be great for younger OranguFans too.
By helping spread the word and raising funds for SOS, you will be helping us to protect orangutans, their forests and their future. Thank you … and have fun!
Orange October – Sumatran Orangutan Society.