(ABDUL QODIR/AFP/Getty Images)
I have refrained from writing much about this fire/haze cataclysm in Indonesia, mainly because it happens every goddamned year and STILL the Indonesian government does NOTHING to stop it before it gets out of control. And all for what?! Clearing the land for yet more palm oil and timber plantations. Here’s a photo of supposedly activist Indonesian president Joko Widodo touring the hit areas:
(Photo courtesy of Andie Abbas)
However, this year’s perfect storm of El Nino, recalcitrant actors, and downright bad luck has conspired to make this probably the worst year ever on record (and that’s saying a lot, considering how bad it was in 1997 and 2013 (see previous posts from 2013)). Pollution is many, many times over a baseline hazardous level.
At any rate — not only are the rainforests threatened — but so are the endangered species, like the orangutan, in Sumatra and Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, not to mention those NGOs that serve as the haven for displaced orangutans, like the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation’s Samboja Lestari haven. Story here.
(In my previous career in the movie business I remember reading a book for possible movie adaptation around 1999. It was an adventure set in the wilds of Borneo — which at that not-so-long-ago time was one off the last untamed jungles on earth. But no longer. Much of Borneo (Indonesian Kalimantan) and Sumatra is plantation land now. Disgusting. Oh for the good ol’ days when palm oil was just a niche commodity.)
Here’s a good primer from the Wall Street Journal on these fires. Yes, the conservative WSJ covered this when the rest of the US media just turned a blind eye toward Trump.
And a great piece by conservationist Eric Meijaard: