On our second trip to Papua New Guinea, we travelled an hour and a half by dinghy to Wabumari village. We were welcomed by Frazer Matasi and his father Basil. Here’s what Basil Matasi told us about the issues his community face, and why they want to work with Cool Earth:
“Our country is rich with mineral resources such as oil, gas, gold, copper, nickel and other minerals. Beside mineral resources, we have our forest resources such as animals, flora and fauna as well as timber.
Our country also has rich soil where plants grow naturally and when cultivated we may have a rich harvest. Our waters and rivers also have fish and marine resources such as sea cucumbers, pearl shells and some others.
We are proud of our unique, rich culture and traditional heritage, which our forefathers have so beautifully fashioned and passed on to us.
For many years our country its people and resources are subject to manipulation and exploitation by both our legislators and foreign interests. Our country’s natural resources are being extracted at an alarming rate by large mining industries and also huge land developments.
Projects are taking place, such as oil palm industry and logging industry, where huge areas of our forest in parts of our country are cleared. Masses of animal wild life are either destroyed or forced to migrate elsewhere. It bothers us that these days we are putting less fish, less meat and even less vegetables on our meal tables. Our hunting and fishing grounds in our country are becoming scarce.
Our livelihood depends on our land, forests, rivers and waters.
We are confused, we do not know where, or whom to turn to for help. Our resources are being used without any direct benefits to our people. Even our legislators are greedy and selfish. They make laws that mean that we have no say or power over our mineral resources or how they are to be developed.
We are in dire need to preserve and protect our land, sea and other natural resources. We want to develop our resources sustainably, but our know-how skills are limited. We do not have the technical skills and knowledge. We therefore invite Cool Earth to become our partners. We need your assistances to help us develop our own natural and human resources, sustainably in order to raise the standard of our living to a higher dimension than the present.
We are willing to work together with Cool Earth, because we understand that Cool Earth organisation is a charity organisation. That it aims to help the underprivileged like us. We believe that we will build mutual understanding between us as we work alongside each others’ interests to build a better world for our people.”