The message four activists brought from atop a crane in Indonesia after a 27-hour occupation is clear: “Climate change is happening all around us, it affects us all regardless of where we live and halting deforestation is fastest and cheapest way to pull the brakes on this down spiraling madness.”
The crane, along with another three occupied until yesterday, overlooks vast and desolate stretches of destroyed Indonesian forest and peat land that have been systematically razed and burned by companies like APP to convert the land into acacia and palm oil plantations. In doing so massive stores of carbon dioxide are unlocked and released into atmosphere, driving climate change to new and dangerous highs.
Despite overnight attempts by security to get the activists down, which included swinging the crane and various other threats, they held tight their position until 10am this morning. Now police have detained them and brought them to Pekanbaru Police Headquarters for questioning. The group – formed by a German, a Dutch, a Filipino and an Indonesian national – has demonstrated to world leaders that immediate action is possible and necessary and that exposing climate criminals like Sinar Mas, of which APP is a subsidiary, is a crucial starting point to avert runaway climate change.
Now it’s up to Obama and other leaders of developed nations to put the money on the table and help less developed countries to protect their forests. At the same time President Yudhoyono should turn his commitments into action and implement an immediate moratorium on deforestation in Indonesia to make sure what is left of its once mighty green lung does not succumb forever.
The Climate Defenders Camp that opened five weeks ago in the Kampar Peninsula still stands strong and Greenpeace will keep its presence in the heart of the Indonesian forest.