September 14, 2015

The Perfect Conditions for Deforestation

Poverty, corruption, and global consumption are creating a perfect storm in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea.

On paper, Papua New Guinea has some of the strongest community and forest rights in the world. People have legal rights to the land they have traditionally lived on and depended on for food, shelter and livelihoods.

In practice, things aren’t so rosy. There’s two things at play here. First, many of the people of Papua New Guinea are extremely poor, living on less than $0.60 a day. Rights to the land you live on mean very little if you can’t afford basic necessities like medicine, education, and clean water.

Secondly, Papua New Guinea is under immense pressure from big business who want to exploit the tremendous natural resources of the world’s third largest tropical rainforest.

Add to this corrupt politicians and an ever-increasing global demand for cheap palm oil and timber, and you have the perfect conditions for runaway rainforest destruction.

Indigenous groups, living in crippling poverty, are offered cash from loggers to give up their land. Bribes, coercion, and sheer desperation mean they often have no choice but to give in.

Cool Earth can’t stop demand for palm oil. We can’t cure corruption in politics. But we can do a very important thing. We can give funds directly to communities, tipping the balance in their favour and allowing them to reject offers of cash from loggers.

You can help us do this, and stop rainforest being destroyed in Papua New Guinea.

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