It was an emotional moment when Greenpeace passed the keys of the Climate Defenders Camp to local communities and our NGO partners in front of more than one thousand villagers on Monday. The history of the camp, despite only five weeks old, is imbued with activism, solidarity and tough diplomatic work, its solid wood planks stuck together by a shared conviction of the need for greater environmental justice that spells – STOP DEFORESTATION, SAVE THE CLIMATE
This message from deep in the Indonesian forest must now resonate with the delegates that are packing their bags for the Copenhagen Climate Summit held early next week. They must help fulfill President Yudhoyono’s commitment for a 41 percent reduction in carbon emissions with international help and strive for bigger reductions, sooner. Delegates must demand funding from developed countries to protect Indonesia’s forests while expecting an immediate moratorium on deforestation at home.
Greenpeace provided a clear example to all delegates on how grassroots empowerment and direct action can help halting deforestation and in doing so save the planet from runaway climate change. Local communities in the Kampar area have worked tirelessly alongside Indonesian and international Greenpeace activists to set up the camp from scratch, their sweat contributing to the building of a dam that prevents the drainage of peat land and the subsequent release of tons of greenhouse gas. Finally, they showed their unfaltering support by rallying in more than 300 when police threatened the closure of camp.
The two direct actions Greenpeace activists took in the Indonesian forest against climate criminals APP and APRIL raised international awareness regarding not only the plight of the threatened Kampar Peninsula but also the inextricable connection between forest destruction and global climate disaster.
Greenpeace will maintain its presence in the Kampar area and will support local communities for the coming years in the concerted effort to protect biodiversity, sustainable livelihood for communities and prevent the emission of millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas.
In the words of an activist that brought to a halt one of the cranes of the pulp mill late last week: “I hope other people all over the world will join us in defending Indonesia's forests. From the top of the crane I can see how companies like APP who owns this facility have actually decimated the peatland forests in this area. Because we¹re near the port, we've also seen how much (and it's a lot!) timber they've been hauling to this facility‹and that's just for today. It would be nice if President Yudhoyono could see what we can see from the top of the crane. He should come up here and see it with his own eyes.