Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Great Apes - A Fate of Our Making. BORNEO ... revisited.

A fabled world, of mythical beings.

And so it is.

It is also poignant ... stirring, uplifting yet painful. 

Nineteen months since my first emotional glimpse of an Orangutan in this living Eden, I was returning to Borneo ... more educated, and humbled by the daunting task that lay ahead for humanity...

Can we Save the Great Apes?

Great Apes are a family of primates in Africa and Asia - Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Gorillas and Orangutans

This photo and news, at International Animal Rescue 

Great Apes are in serious danger of extinction from habitat loss, poachingwildlife trade, and human conflict.

Orangutans are disappearing, with the relentless growth of the timber, paper, and Palm Oil industries.


Studies by IUCNWWF, CITES, UN-GRASP, indicate that Palm Oil is so ubiquitous today .. from body products and packaged foods to biofuels .. that its cultivation has resulted in vast rainforest destruction and greenhouse emissions.

Forest fires, set to clear rainforest, destroy orangutan habitat killing many of these gentle, arboreal creatures.

This horrific incident, a day after I left Pontianak, elicited an unperturbed response from a local I texted. I quote:  "We usually hear and see the news from tv, it's not shock to us b'cause the goverment and company did it to open palm trees garden and so the people can get a job (for money n profit) that can make our country grow..."

When a great ape's life is less valuable than a fruit tree ...
the need for a socio-cultural-economic shift becomes apparent

The human need for survival and personal advancement cannot be ignored ... rather, it might be the key to saving the Great Apes of the world. 

I had traversed Sarawak, Sabah and Kalimantan... it was the human condition that struck me as most pressing.

These are communities, just like ours back home, with dreams and aspirations

Green Economy, Global Technology

The fabled Great Apes ... need a 21st century Green Economy.

Sustainable alternatives must be provided to people, else they will remain enslaved to globalized resource exploitation. Leading world technologies for human empowerment, with 'Green' economic opportunities, should offer direct incentives to protect nature.

I would humbly ask world organizations to help alongside current initiatives such as REDDThe Green Economy must include every person.

  1. Technology must be leveraged for global alternatives to timber, pulp and palm oil from rainforests.
  2. We must assist Great Ape nations adopt a Green Economy - where technological investments will 'reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity' as defined by the UNEP
  3. Conservation technologies - forest management, satellite GPS monitoring in environmental protection, solar, sustainable farming, computerized networks, mobile devices - must be funded by wealthy nations, to advance employment and preservation. 
  4. Mobile money is transforming Africa already. A mobile app should create a 'Green Guardians' network of accredited nationals, with e-payment remunerations from state and abroad.
  5. Payments to locals for ecotourism and green biospheres must be economic incentives, in exchange for becoming a part of conservation technology and habitat protection.

Technology, with its effect on a society's economics, must save the Great Apes.

They need us .. we must understand them - and become a part of them