A GLIMMER OF HOPE FOR THE RAINFOREST
By REX SUMNER
Like me, I am sure that you have heard so many times about the rainforest and how important it is, but nobody actually seems to be doing anything. There is always news of more forest being cut down, of fires sweeping though the forest and the animals disappearing.
If you go on Google Maps satellite vision, you can see for yourself that it is too late, all gone. The rain forest that does so much to combat global warming, that keeps the air clean for us all throughout the world, that holds so many secrets for medical science … all gone.
But is it?
The answer is no.
A remnant is safe – I say a remnant, but that is just in comparison to what we have lost. This area is huge, 25,000 square kilometres, the size of Belgium.
It is in the north western tip of the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia. Not only is it safe, but secure in its vastness are the last viable populations of Sumatran Elephant, Orang-utan, Tiger and Rhinoceros plus all the myriad other species that live in the rainforest.
How do you save a rainforest? Not a quick job. We’ve been working on it for the last 30 years, and it is only in the last few years that all those efforts have really born fruit.
The first thing you need to do is to create a political solution, which means years of meetings, socialising, lobbying and research, until the laws that are needed are passed. Having the laws in place isn’t enough – they must be enforced. So you need a local government agency in place that is dedicated, committed and corruption free.
That’s what we have done.
We have started Force for the Forest because right now we are in need. You need to understand how much money the loggers make from the rainforest – our forest, the Leuser Ecosystem, generated US$500 million dollars a year as it was being cut down. An oil palm plantation on the site of the old rainforest makes US$1600 a year from each hectare.
So you can imagine that the loggers are not pleased with us.
They have already made death threats to all our personnel and indeed they have made one assassination attempt. But our recent successes in preserving the forest, has led to a more insidious, effective attack on us. They have cut off all our funding.
For the last year our work has been funded by the pockets of the personnel involved, but now that has run out. So we have formed Force for the Forest to provide a source of funds for the essential work that cannot be compromised by the loggers. We don’t want to just save our rainforest in SE Asia. We want to show the world how it is done, and make sure conservationists the world over know what works and how you can combat the huge financial forces of the loggers even on a pittance.
What can you do to help?
1. First and most important – send this link to as many people as you can, spread the word that some of the rainforest is saved and it CAN be done!
2. Then join us! Be a force for good, be part of the Force for the Forest. Join our email list so you can receive regular updates on what is happening.
3. Donate! £10 may not sound like much, but it goes a long way to paying for a ranger to go on anti-poaching patrol.
Read our story and see more about us at www.forcefortheforest.com
More About The Author:
Rex Sumner is a co-founder of Force For The Forest and works tirelessly to help preserve our rainforests and the animals that live there.