Muhamad Adhonian Canarisla (we call him 'Adhon'), from Indonesia, is an inspiring person to many Southeast Asian activists, especially in his country. In 2008, Adhon stopped a huge palm oil ship from leaving Indonesia by hanging on its anchor chain for three days. Indonesia suffers from massive deforestation -- the fastest deforestation rate in the planet -- from producing palm oil, palm kernel (PKE used in New Zealand as supplementary cattle feed) and pulp and paper (used for glossy magazines, toilet paper and packaging). This is why many young Indonesian activists like Adhon are passionate about protecting their remaining forests.
I interviewed Adhon on boar the Rainbow Warrior recently...
Q: Do you think Taiwanese people are interested about Greenpeace and what kind of questions did you get during open boats?
Adhon: Yes, very much. Here in Taiwan a lot of people came to visit the ship just by getting information from our website. We have many more visitors here than what we had in Indonesia when we had a ship tour there for the first time. Many people have questions about life onboard or if the crew get seasick too. I told them yes, getting seasick is quite normal on a ship. Sometimes if I get seasick I cannot work at all, I just stay in my cabin.
Q: When you were younger, what type of activities were you interested in?
Adhon: Well I'm really into all sorts of sports. I got involved in mountaineering, which I did a lot, and competitive sport climbing. I have also done industrial climbing too. So when my brother, my friends and I heard that Greenpeace is looking for volunteer climbers, we got involved.
Q: What can you say about the power of an individual to create positive change?
Adhon: Each of us, as individuals, can contribute an important part in changing our world for the good. But it is necessary to believe that our contribution is important no matter how small, and that we do it really well.
More from Adhon about involvement in Greenpeace ships:
This is my first time to be a crew member on the ship but I have been volunteering in Greenpeace for 6 years since our Indonesian office invited volunteers to be part of its climbing team. One of my unforgettable experiences with Greenpeace is when I stopped a palm oil ship from leaving Indonesia for three days. I climbed the ship's anchor chain while two fire hoses sprayed water straight into my face. I spent the entire day in wet, heavy overalls, and feeling cold because of the strong winds. After three days when the ship crew wanted to leave, they tried to lower the anchor chain but I kept climbing up whenever they lowered it until someone from the port authority came and took me away.
I joined Greenpeace because I believe what Greenpeace is doing will create change for a better future. And I have climbing skills that I can use during our non-violent direct actions. I try to make people realise that terrible environmental destruction is happening around all of us. I’m just doing whatever I can do to help save the Earth right now. The simple reason for this is: I just want my child or my grandchild to feel what I can feel and see what I can see of this beautiful world right now, and hopefully there will be an even better world in the future.
Adhon is currently a deckhand and activist onboard the Rainbow Warrior. The ship is currently in Taiwan on the Defending Our Oceans Tour of East Asia.