Skip to main content

Deforestation - the cruel reality

On 27th June I saw a private pre-screening of a BBC programme about orangutans, to be screened on TV on 6 July at 7 pm in the Saving Planet Earth series. The BBC isn't allowed to be political, but this is a political issue. Watch the programme! See what the word deforestation really means.
I came close to despair watching the programme. There is a lot of evidence about the importance of rainforests not just for the creatures that live in them but for the world's climate systems. The trees absorb rainwater and carbon dioxide and put water vapour and oxygen into the atmosphere. It is not just Borneo rainforest but all rainforest that performs this vital role. Once the trees are gone, that process stops. Fertile topsoil is washed away, the land becomes sterile desert and the atmosphere is affected.
What the BBC didn't talk about, but we ought to talk about, is how to get the authorities in Borneo, where orangutans live, to stop the deforestation. If anyone has ideas on how to do that, please get in touch. Even if you don't like animals, it is in all our interests to save the rainforests and indirectly to save the orangutans that live in them.
The programme was about an orphanage for young orangutans which looks after them and reintroduces them to the wild. See or call 08456 521528. They are being orphaned because each orangutan (they are vegetarians) needs the equivalent of about 10 football pitches of rainforest to live. The rainforests are being bulldozed at a rate of 3 football pitches per minute to make way for palm oil plantations. To avoid starvation, the mothers forage for food in the plantations and are macheted to death by local people.
The long-term solution is to find a way for the local people to benefit from the rainforests staying, but since that involves politics, the BBC didn't talk about it much.
The scale of the destruction is vast. About 80% of the apes' habitat has been destroyed in the last 20 years. At this rate it is predicted that they will be extinct in the wild in 10 years' time. But if the Borneo rainforests are saved, so will be the orangutans.


Tristan said…
There is hope. As people become richer the rate of deforestation reduces drastically. To the point of reforestation in many countries.

You do hit the nail on the head with finding ways for people to benefit from keeping rainforest - the solution here is to allow people to own it. Just as with the common fisheries policy, common ownership or state ownership means that people have no incentive to preserve habitat, they take all they can as quickly as possible so nobody else does. Governments are not capable of preventing this.
If someone owns the land however, they will look after its resources. Harvesting some wood, but ensuring that they can make a living off the land for the rest of their lives which means preserving habitat.

Popular posts from this blog

My #Remainer's Diary Day 300: constitutional crisis is coming

My #Remainer's Diary Day 300: I mull over a joint statement from the First Ministers of Wales and Scotland, Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon about the repeal bill. It says: “We have... put forward constructive proposals about how we can deliver an outcome which will protect the interests of all the nations in the UK, safeguard our economies and respect devolution.  “Regrettably, the bill does not do this. Instead, it is a naked power grab, an attack on the founding principles of devolution and could destabilise our economies.”  So a constitutional crisis that was latent ever since 23rd June 2016 is due to be thrashed out in Westminster debates.  A spokeswoman for the Maybot said she was not aware of a contingency plan for what might happen if Scotland or Wales refused legislative consent.  That is apart from the rows there will be about the bill's Henry VIII clause powers and putting human rights in doubt.  As the clock ticks, businesses act to protect themselves.  EasyJet announced…

My Remainer's Diary Day 299

For 298 days I have kept my #Remainer's Diary on Facebook. Two nights ago my FB account became inaccessible without explanation. So I'm back on Blogger.
Diary Day 299: the UK's Office of Budget Responsibility published its first Fiscal Risks Report, a 312-page tome, in accordance with a requirement introduced by Parliament in October 2015 that the OBR must produce a fiscal risks report at least once every two years. It is freely downloadable by anyone.  Fiscal is a fancy word for pertaining to government finances. Derivation: 16th century, from Latin fisc─ülis concerning the state treasury, from fiscus public money, the public purse. It is about government income and spending.  The Fiscal Risks Report refers to a wide range of "fiscal pressures", and says that the risks posed by Brexit "do not supplant the possible shocks and likely pressures that we have already discussed, but they could affect the likelihood and impact of many of them."  It states that imp…

Iran: the minority that will not let go

I am thinking about places in the world where women are oppressed. Iran for example. There, I gather, militia roam the streets intimidating and attacking women who behave or dress in ways of which they disapprove. In my country, such militia would be arrested and tried for public order offences. It is not that the British have no opinions about what is acceptable dress or behaviour in public and what is not. Of course we have opinions. But individuals behave in a way that is their own choice, provided that it does not contravene a specific law, and it may be a poor choice, but it is the individual's and not imposed. Live and let live, and mind your own business, are mottos here. And gangs who roam the streets trying to impose their own ideas on others tend to get arrested.
So what essentially is different about Iranians? I suspect, nothing is. A minority of society suppose they have a superior social and ethical code but that is normal in any society. The trouble is th…