Protecting forests saves our climate

Feature story - September 2, 2008
Greenpeace 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 showing how deforestation contributes to climate change.

The crew of the Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, is welcomed into Port Moresby by traditional dancers as we begin the Forests for Climate tour.

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.

View the arrival slideshow

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.

Loggers in the forest

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

Read testimonials from the forest 

Deforestation also releases around 20% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions each year, fuelling climate change. 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.

We need vast tracts of forest to 'soak up' greenhouse gases and combat climate change.

Greenpeace Forests for Climate tour

The Esperanza carries a banner reading "Banisim bus abrusim klaimet senis", which is Pidgin for "Protecting forests saves our climate".

Greenpeace will tour the Paradise Forests region, while asking governments for zero deforestation by 2015.

On our arrival in Port Moresby we were formally welcomed by the Governor of National 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."

Take action

Help protect forests and save our climate

View the slideshow

Images of our colourful welcome in Port Moresby