Global environmental challenges
Forests are the lifeblood for millions of people around the world. Murniah, a 40-year-old mother of one in Mentaya Seberang village in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan Province, knows this only too well.
Large areas to the west of her village on the Mentaya river have been converted to palm oil. Good for a short-term boost in incomes but not so good for the environment.
“The forest is very important,” she said. “There are many examples where the forest has been opened up, such as for palm oil, and this has caused flooding. We only care about rubber and rattan,” she said during a village meeting to discuss a project to save a vast peat swamp forest just to the east.
Clashes in the Amazon between indigenous protestors and Peru’s army that killed some 60 people last week throw some old issues into sharp new relief: development versus the environment and local versus foreign control of natural resources.
Indigenous tribes, worried they will lose control over natural resources, have protested since April seeking to force Peru’s Congress to repeal new laws that encourage foreign mining and energy companies to invest billions of dollars in huge tracts of pristine rain forest.