A rash of wildfires in Indonesia and the resulting toxic haze of smoke and smog may be the worst climate crisis on Earth right now, NASA scientists warned this week as Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla announced that the administration was considering declaring a state of emergency.
I flew in that area of the world in the late 70's. Knowing we were at least a thousand miles from any land, I asked the pilot where all the smoke was coming from..volcano? He said no, "they're burning Indonesia, always happens this time of year". Guess some things haven't changed.
A few years ago this same situation (apparently even worse) was big news. It is worrisome that people and the media forget so easily. Once news drops down the memory hole, it's as if it never existed. I remember because I have followed environmental/habitat destruction issues for decades. There was also a National Geographic story of indigenous (former head hunters) tribes that had been ousted from their ancestral jungle lands by oil palm development (fires). There was a poignant photo of a naked except for a thong tattooed head hunter and his family standing on a city street (looking dazed and at a total loss) as a taxi cab and cars ride by.)
I am amazed that there is any jungle left. How pathetic we are concerning our world. How many trillions of revenue have burned away for future generations in medicines from rare plants, tourism and all the rest that such diverse and beautiful nature could have provided. Instead a few well connected (to corrupt officials) plantation owners destroy and plunder by a form of internal imperialism.
You get the sense that even if we came up with a solution that if someone powerful could make money by preventing it that they would do so.
We burn away paradise to make cosmetics.
We can say that more precisely. American, European, Japanese, Chinese and Russian make-up artists & their patrons are burning Indonesia.
The disbelief, in the stupid shit we do, is beyond me.... really, there are days, that I do not believe we are really even intelligent... hedonistic?... yes.... very much so...
It's way past make-up. Palm oil is in about half of all packaged goods on grocery shelves, including chocolate bars. Here's a clip from a crappy pandering article about "sustainable palm oil":
"Palm oil has overtaken soya as the world’s number one source of vegetable oil. It is found in everything from biscuits to biodiesel, detergents to potato chips, cookies to shampoo, and candy and cosmetics. In fact, palm oil is now found in about half of all packaged goods on the shelves."
But i'm sure the industry- (and World Wildlife Fund-) led "Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil" will ease everyone's mind at their next meeting in Kuala Lampur on November 16-19.
Here's an organization calling not for "sustainable palm oil" but for an end to deforestation and palm oil imports:
So if "we" (or any of us) who are privileged to live as "consumers" learn that the palm oil industry is on the one hand murdering the rain forest, the orangutan (and all other wildlife), and the humans; and on the other hand producing "consumer goods" that range from laundry detergent to chocolate; do "we" (or any of us):
- Stop buying anything that we do not ACTUALLY NEED to live?
- Organize resistance to the established "ownership" of the Earth?
- Pretty much go on with our consumerist lives?
i mean, i NEED chocolate bars and detergent, right? It's only the Earth we're talking about. And it's capitalists who actually make the decisions to burn Indonesia (and Brazil and Africa), so at least we know i'm not "to blame" for anything, which is the most important point in this discussion?
Should we live differently than we do? Should we face down capitalism differently than we are doing?
yes! we can find products without palm oil or derivatives. one product at a time--it's an inconvenience and it can be more expensive--each of us can do what we can. it might surprise us how good one little shift can feel.
viva orangutans, et al! :O)
Take a look at the show The Operatives on Pivot TV
In The Operatives, Pete Bethune and his team of extreme conservationists fight for oceans, for forests, and for wildlife, but they need your help.
Inspired by the series, Pivot has teamed up with a group of NGOs to help protect the wildlife featured in the The Operatives. Learn more about these incredible animals and find out how you can make a difference by taking action below.