Sunday, December 6, 2009

An Orangutan's Best Friend

Suryia and Roscoe live at the T.I.G.E.R.S sanctuary in Myrtle Beach , South Carolina.

The orangutan was in the rescue center and was not doing well. This old hound wandered in truly emaciated and the orangutan took to him the moment the dog arrived.

He stayed with the hound night and day until he was well and during the process found a reason to live.

They are now inseparable.

[Images forwarded by Hari Ho]

Oil palm cultivation has brought in a vast amount of revenue to Malaysia - but most of it ends up in the hands of a privileged few. The rapid proliferation of oil palm plantations in the last 30 years has resulted in disastrous deforestation.

As a monoculture, oil palm cannot be considered an eco-friendly cash crop. Artificial fertilizers, weedkillers and insecticides used in oil palm estates have poisoned the land and made it infertile. Many indigenous cultures have been displaced and endangered because of oil palm greed. In Kalimantan and various other parts of Indonesia, Malaysian oil palm interests have caused huge tracts of rainforest to be cleared for oil palm cultivation.

Open burning to clear the felled forests has caused atmospheric pollution throughout the region - and there is no political will to stop the problem because many top government officials in both Indonesia and Malaysia have vested interests in the palm oil industry. In Sarawak, logging companies work in cahoots with oil palm cultivators to rape not only the precious rainforest, but also gentle indigenous tribes like the Penan.

Palm oil products may actually be quite good in terms of nutrition - but oil palm cultivation on such a colossal scale is definitely deleterious to our long-term environmental well-being and must be stopped.

Oil palm-based biofuel more harmful than fossil fuels: Researcher
Tue, December 8, 2009

PALEMBANG: The programme to develop palm oil as a non-polluting biofuel is a “myth” to justify expansion of oil palm plantations in Indonesia, a researcher from Sriwijaya University Julian Junaidi said.

“The burning of palm oil-based biofuel might not generate enviromment-damaging gas, and the process of turning palm oil into biofuel was much more harmful than the use of fossil fuels,” Indonesia’s Antara news agency reported, citing Julian as saying.

Speaking at a dissussion on biofuel organized by the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) here Monday, he said the burning of one tonne of premium gasoline would cause 3.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide (C02) to escape into the atmosphere. However, the process of turning one tonne of palm oil into biofuel would produce 33 tonnes of CO2.

These facts showed that the use of palm-oil-based biofuel would contribute enormously to global warming, he said.

“Tragically, most of the activity to turn palm oil into biofuel is taking place in developing countries, where the oil palm plantations are located,” Julian said.

Apart from damaging the environment, he said, the programme to develop biofuel from palm oil was also causing land disputes in the community.

“The drive to expand oil palm plantations has already led to hundreds of land disputes because the expansion was done not on no- man’s land but on people’s farm land,” he said.

“Oil palm is not a renewable energy source. The price people have to pay for palm oil-based biofuel is too high. Millions of hectares of forests are being cut down for a crop that eventually only contributes to ecological disasters,” he said.

Meanwhile, Anwar Sadat, director of Walhi’s South Sumatra chapter, said the programme to develop biofuel from palm oil had induced the large-scale expansion of oil palm plantations.

The oil palm growing frenzy to produce palm oil not only for households but also as biofuel for industry and transportation had led to degradation of people’s forests and protected forests in South Sumatra’s low lands.

“The oil palm planting drive has also increased the frequency of social conflicts in the province.

According to Sawit Watch (an NGO), in 2003, oil palm plantation-related land disputes happened 140 times but the number rose almost four-fold to 513 in 2007,” he said. — BERNAMA