When I was a child, papa always took me back to his hometown to see Oma, my grandmother, every Christmas. The town papa is from is called Manado, in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, and it’s so beautiful. Like Bali, where I study now, but less well-known.
Once, papa invited us to travel far out of the city to Lembeh Island, famous for its underwater riches. When we were on the island we could enjoy the view of the city of Bitung in the distance, with a beautiful view of Mount Klabat on the other side.
This memory from my childhood makes my heart wince, knowing that Bitung has since become a home for forest destruction.
When I also consider that my favourite brands are contributing to the loss of the home of the Cenderawasih bird in Papua, the cute orangutan in Kalimantan, and the Sumatran Tiger, which is getting closer to extinction, I feel even worse.
I was enjoying the sunset on Kuta Beach, Bali, where I study now, thinking this over, when I realised I can’t keep quiet. I want to act. I want to take direct action, to stand up to these famous brands and tell them to immediately #DropDirtyPalmOil.
Today, my breathing is unsteady and my scalp is prickling. When the rubber boat slides from Lembeh island, my body will move from where I keep the good memories. I’ll see Bitung in the distance, with its tanks of dirty palm oil. I’ll shout: “This is not the scene I want!”
I want to see the green expanse of canopy forests. I want to see the wildlife of Indonesia’s pride move swiftly and dance freely in our forests. I want my life to be clean from dirty palm oil. I want dirty producers to change straight away and no longer damage our forests.
I am Waya Maweru. I am an Indonesian woman of Manado blood. With full awareness, I will stand to fight for the future of Indonesia’s forests.
And today, I will say directly and loudly to Wilmar – with other Greenpeace activist friends from around the world – that Wilmar will #DropDirtyPalmOil right now.
I hope you are also willing to participate with us.
Waya Maweru is a student, barista and Greenpeace Indonesia activist