Originally posted by Lisa on making waves

Greenpeace Australia-Pacific has launched our Forests for Climate tour with a colourful welcome in Papua New Guinea. Our ship, Esperanza, will tour the region protecting forests and highlighting the effect of deforestation on global warming.

To the sounds of beating drums and singing, the Esperanza docked in the tropical heat of Port Morseby. The ship’s crew was welcomed by traditional Huli, Kairuku, and Oro dancers along with Asaro mud men from coastal and highland regions. Dancers' costumes were made from the fibres of tapa and pandanus trees, leaves, bird of paradise feathers and, naturally, mud.

The ship's crew was formally welcomed by the Governor of the capital district, Powes Pakop, who praised Greenpeace, saying the Esperanza brings hope to Papua New Guinea. He noted that the impacts of climate change can already be witnessed, adding, “Now is the time to act. We don’t have to wait for the Kyoto protocol to take action.”

Indigenous clans own the vast majority of land in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Their extraordinary cultural diversity supports over 800 languages. They have a deep spiritual connection to their forest, which is their home, supermarket and source of medicine and water. But they are losing it all to unscrupulous multinational logging companies.

The Paradise Forests of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are being felled faster than any other forest on Earth. Deforestation of this fragile region destroys communities, cultures and biodiversity.

Tropical forests trap carbon beneath the soil and in trees. Like a sponge, they soak up carbon dioxide gas that is released when people burn fossil fuels for energy. Deforestation releases around 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions each year, fueling climate change.

We need vast tracts of forest to 'soak up' greenhouse gases and combat climate change. The Esperanza will tour the Paradise Forests region - asking governments for zero deforestation by 2015.