A Virtual Flight Over Sumatra

by Rolf Skar

October 22, 2010

My recent flight over southern Sumatra was not one I will soon forget.  Our small aircraft could only take a handful of Greenpeace staff and journalists, but now you have a chance to share in the experience.

A collection of evocative images by photographer Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert have been paired with reflections from Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo and me during and after our journey.  Come along for the ride and see what forest-destroying companies like Sinar Mas do not want you to see.

At the same time we are bearing witness to destruction, Greenpeace is also working hard to promote solutions to deforestation in Indonesia.  Of course, no solution will work if it does not ensure a better life for the Indonesian people.  While Indonesia’s economy is growing and some Indonesians are enjoying the benefit, but there are many millions in this – the world’s third largest democracy – who are desperately poor.

For years, our Indonesian staff has advocated for a deforestation moratorium – a “time out” – to allow Indonesia time to develop long-term strategies to leapfrog dirty development, benefit from forest protection, and achieve a clean, prosperous future.

The good news is that Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) took a big step in that direction by announcing a partial two-year moratorium on deforestation earlier this year.  The details of the moratorium, which was announced through a bilateral deal with Norway, should be finalized by the end of this year.

As Kumi recently observed, we have a chance now to make history.  Our efforts in the next few months are critical to make that history one we will be proud to look back on.

For the forests,


Rolf Skar

By Rolf Skar

Rolf Skar is the Campaigns Director at Greenpeace USA. Since 2007, Rolf has contributed to international Greenpeace campaigns to stop deforestation in the Canadian boreal forest, the Paradise forests of Southeast Asia, and the Brazilian Amazon.

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