South East Asia

Rice up against the twin threats of genetic engineering and climate change

Posted by jossc — 15 September 2009 at 12:38pm - Comments

Last March hundreds of Thai Greenpeace supporters, volunteers and farmers took part in an amazing experiment - to create a giant, beautiful organic work of art in the rice fields of Thailand's Central Plains.

Less peatlands, more palm oil, says Indonesian government

Posted by jamie — 20 February 2009 at 1:12pm - Comments

Greenpeace supporters remind Hillary Clinton during her visit to Jakarta to 'cut emissions now'

Volunteers in Jakarta get the climate message to Hillary Clinton's convoy (not pictured) © Greenpeace

Our colleagues in Indonesia have been very busy this week - with visiting foreign dignitaries and an outrageous decree from their own government following in quick succession.

Palm oil companies talk while the rainforests burn

Posted by jamie — 23 December 2008 at 11:23am - Comments

Fire burns through forest in Sumatra, clearing the area for plantations © Greenpeace/Novis

Fire burns through forest in Sumatra, clearing the area for plantations © Greenpeace/Novis

It's been a few weeks since the Esperanza's tour of Indonesia wrapped up with an exhausting but thrilling week of direct action focused on various palm oil tankers, and I've since left those humid equatorial climes to return to a chilly British winter. But even though the ship has moved on to other countries and campaigns, the palm oil campaign continues and in the past few weeks there have been some developments.

The most obvious has been annual meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in Bali - this could have been the moment the industry got its act together and did something other than spin the usual load of greenwash over its involvement in the destruction of south east Asia's rainforests. Sadly, it was not to be. Although our ship painting/blockading actions drew a lot of attention, as did our earlier revelations about United Plantations and their 'sustainable' palm oil, no real progress was made.

Broken promises in Papua New Guinea

Posted by jamie — 22 September 2008 at 5:31pm - Comments

Following the recent fun with a timber cargo ship in Papua New Guinea, the Greenpeace team on the Esperanza has sent through some more material which throws the spotlight on what's happening in the country's forests. The video below explains how local communities are being short-changed by logging companies, with things like schools and medical centres promised by these companies simply not materialising:

Meeting with the makers of palm oil

Posted by jamie — 5 September 2008 at 3:56pm - Comments

Oil palm saplings

Oil palm saplings waiting to be planted © Behring/Greenpeace

Last week, campaigners from Greenpeace South-East Asia met with palm oil producers and traders to discuss the challenges faced by the industry if it's going to get a grip on the problem of deforestation. The seminar was designed to get these companies thinking about the impact their trade is having on forests in the region, and working groups brought together industry reps and campaigners to discuss the issues involved, particularly our demand for a moratorium on clearing forest areas for palm oil plantations.

Rainforest timber shipment blocked in Papua New Guinea

Posted by jamie — 3 September 2008 at 5:49pm - Comments

A banner hangs from the Harbour Gemini which is carrying illegal timber from Papua New Guinea

A Greenpeace team occupies the Harbour Gemini, carrying illegal timber from Papua New Guinea and bound for China
© Sutton-Hibbert/Greenpeace

As we wait for the European Commission to consider legislation to prevent illegal timber from entering Europe, a Greenpeace team in Papua New Guinea have stepped in to prevent a ship from loading up with wood of dubious provenance.

The ship, Harbour Gemini, was loading timber at Paia Inlet in Gulf Province, when four activists from our ship the Esperanza climbed a loading crane to hang a huge banner reading 'Protect Forests, Save Our Climate'. Looking on were groups of local people in boats, while others held their own peaceful protests at the port and nearby logging camps.

Nutella, with this deforestation you are really spoiling us

Posted by jamie — 4 July 2008 at 12:11pm - Comments

Palm oil, an ingredient in Nutella, is responsible for the destruction of rainforests in south-east Asia

We're still working to build a coalition of companies which are determined to reform the palm oil industry so no more forest is lost due to the expansion of their plantations in South East Asia and with Unilever's help we're in contact with other major players in the palm oil trade. However, some are less keen than others to co-operate and need some persuading.

Undercover video throws light on illegal timber trade

Posted by jamie — 2 April 2008 at 10:19am - Comments

The undercover experts down the road at the Environmental Investigation Agency have released this short video exposing the trade in illegal timber from the forests of Laos. Shady deals and corruption allow large amounts of dodgy lumber to be processed in Vietnam and Thailand, where it's made into products like garden furniture for export to (among other places) the UK. Yet another reason why we need laws in Europe to ban the import of illegal timber.

Green bulbs switched on in the Philippines

Posted by jamie — 14 February 2008 at 6:25pm - Comments

Excellent news reaches us from the Philippines where a ban on old-fashioned incandescent bulbs has recently been announced.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced plans for phasing out inefficient bulbs by January 2010, adding the Asian archipelago to the growing list of countries, including Ireland and Japan, which are slashing their emissions by shifting to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). So pressure is building up on our own government - and indeed the entire EU - to bring in their own mandatory efficiency standards for light bulbs.

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