My Tears Aren’t Enough to Protect the Rainforest. That’s Why I’m Taking Action

by Waya Maweru

During the weekend, a group of brave Greenpeace International volunteers boarded a ship loaded with Wilmar’s dirty palm oil – the world’s largest palm oil trader. The activists held up the ship for a total of 36 hours. Meet Waya Maweru, an Indonesian activist that participated in the action and tells why she is personally invested in fighting for Indonesia’s forests.

Waya as she prepares to leave the Esperanza to begin their peaceful boarding action on a giant tanker ship carrying dirty palm oil from Indonesia to Europe, in a peaceful protest against rainforest destruction.

© Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / Green

I can’t help but cry when I think about the destruction I’ve witnessed in my native Indonesia.

Where once there was a thick, green rainforest teeming with life, now is desolation. Where orangutans used to swing and birds used to sing, now is silent. Where people used to be able to depend on the forest for food and medicine to live, now there is nothing.

Our precious rainforests are being destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations, endangering species and exploiting our people.

 © Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace

There should be a jungle here. ©Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace

That’s why I’m here. Right now, me and five other activists are on board a massive shipment of dirty palm oil in the Atlantic Ocean, which is likely headed for products on European supermarket shelves. Wilmar, who owns this shipment, is the largest and dirtiest palm oil trader in the world.

Am I scared? No.

This is risky, and scaling the side of the ship was tough, but not taking action is riskier for our planet. And I can’t be quiet anymore.

People in Indonesia are sick and tired. We are still recovering from the brutal 2015 fires that choked thousands of people in our cities and displaced communities in our forests. Wilmar has been turning its back on deforestation and human rights abuses for too long.

This ship is bringing palm oil from forest destruction into people’s homes. We have lost so much rainforest already, but this is our chance to stop the next bulldozers before they get started.

Crew members of the Stolt Tenacity tanker ship confront six Greenpeace volunteers who boarded the giant tanker ship carrying dirty palm oil from Indonesia to Europe in a peaceful protest against rainforest destruction. Trained Greenpeace volunteers from Indonesia, Germany, the UK, France, Canada and the U.S. have safely scaled the side of Stolt Tenacity. The 185-metre long cargo ship is loaded with palm oil from Wilmar, the largest and dirtiest palm oil trader in the world.

Much loved household brands like Oreo, promised their customers they’d only use clean palm oil. But they haven’t kept that promise.

Brands that buy dirty palm oil from Wilmar are not only contributing to an environmental and social disaster, they’re also failing their customers. Palm oil can be produced without destroying rainforests and we won’t settle for anything less.

Waya's story

HAPPENING NOW: 6 climbers are delaying a shipment of dirty palm oil from reaching European markets. Waya, a student from Indonesia is one of them. She is risking everything to stand up for our rainforests and our planet. SHARE this video to stand with Waya. #DropDirtyPalmOil

Posted by Greenpeace International on Sunday, November 18, 2018

I am taking action because companies who promised to fix the problem are not. By being on this ship, I’m making sure that Wilmar can’t ignore our call to clean up their act.

I don’t want to look back at the destruction and feel like I didn’t do anything about it. We have to stop them now. Otherwise, this destruction will continue and spread to other parts of the world. And that is not a world that I want.

Will you stand with me?

By Waya Maweru

Waya Maweru is a student, barista and Greenpeace Indonesia activist

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