Friday, 9 January 2009

Borneo - Refreshed

Back I am going - again.

But with a new focus.

On the train trip from Vancouver to Jasper (it was scheduled at 19 hours but was in fact 26 hours), I met an amazing lady.

As the sunset on the Canadian Rockies, we discussed the environment in the world today. We discussed that we have this huge time bomb ticking away - and that the world has never come together to fight for a single cause - ever.

I discussed how angry I got that people in other parts of the world discuss deforestation in third world countries like a text book issue - something that can be stopped by the signature on a piece of paper - or a petition, or legislation.

We discussed how countries like the US try to push nuclear power on places like China (and Indonesia also have plans for one) - thinking that the building, maintenance and auditing of these places will be at the standard of what they are used to - but the sad reality is that they will be of a condition that defies imagination (and I'm not talking positively).

I told her how I go into parts of Borneo that tourists don't get to go to - I see the forests that have been burnt down (causing the huge smoke issues in Singapore/Malaysia etc) during the dry season. I told her how annoyed I was that the environmental groups don't seem to grasp that the people causing these fires aren't doing so because they are selfish or environmental terrorists. They are doing it because in this country - if you don't work - you don't eat.

Stop the logging = provide another source of income. Stop the rubber trees = provide another source of income. Stop the fires = provide another way for people to clear some land for them to grow food for their families.

It isn't black and white. There isn't a simple solution. But I am sure there is a solution.

Anyway. This lovely lady happened to have gone to Columbia in her youth, she has a Masters in the Environment and she is working with a group of people who are trying to put together a plan that will help all of the seperate environmental groups (something like 6000 individual groups) work together for a common cause.

She suggested that people living in the western countries didn't understand the issues that are happening in third world countries that are affecting the environment.

They don't understand that as you fly into Jakarta you can actually see the line in the ocean between the clean sea water and the dirty polluted water (it is as if there is a net containing the polution the line is so clear). That the line seems to be going further and further out every time you fly over.

She suggested that I look at my role going to these places as a source for people to gain information and that maybe I should write about it.

So this is how I am looking at my trip on Monday. I am on a fact finding mission. I want to take photos of these environmental terrorists. Living in their 2m x 2m huts, working hard at feeding their families. No pension, no retirement savings, living day by day.

I want to bring back some photos to post that will show people the picture that my eyes are seeing.

Not trying to be philosophic. But everyone in this photo is very important to me. And those little people need to know that the colour grey exists.

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