A Beautiful Past, and a Future for the Indonesian Forest Worth Fighting For

by Waya Maweru

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.

Activist Waya Maweru

Activist Waya Maweru

© Dhemas Reviyanto / Greenpeace

I remember when I was a kid, 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.

Documentation of landcover and oil palm plantation development in Papua.

Documentation of landcover and oil palm plantation development in Papua.

When I also consider that makers of everyday products like Ritz, Colgate and Dove 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, thinking this over when I realized I can’t keep quiet. I want to act. I want I want do something about it, to stand up to these brands and tell them to immediately #DropDirtyPalmOil

Young orangutan hanging on a liana vine near Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan.

Young orangutan hanging on a liana vine near Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan.

Today, my breathing is unsteady and my palms are sweating. 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 beautiful rainforest. 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 trash our forests.

Greenpeace activists unfurl a banner reading "Drop Dirty Palm Oil Now" at the Wilmar International refinery in Bitung, North Sulawesi. The refinery, on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, processes palm oil from major producers that are destroying rainforests in Kalimantan and Papua, Indonesia.

Greenpeace activists unfurl a banner reading “Drop Dirty Palm Oil Now” at the Wilmar International refinery in Bitung, North Sulawesi. The refinery, on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, processes palm oil from major producers that are destroying rainforests in Kalimantan and Papua, Indonesia.

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, standing at the doors of the world’s dirtiest palm oil giant – me and other Greenpeace activist friends from various parts of the world – are asking makers of products like Ritz, Colgate and Dove to #DropDirtyPlamOil, drop Wilmar.

I hope you are also willing to participate with us.


By Waya Maweru

Waya Maweru is a student, barista and Greenpeace Indonesia activist

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.

It's time to resist Trump and the oil industry!

Donate Now
Close