Rainforest Protection Issues

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May 16, 2009

RELEASE: Malaysia's Hollow Democracy: Government Censors Internet Criticism of Global Rainforest for Oil Palm Land Grab

Government documents regarding planned Amazon oil palm project by Malaysian government agency removed from Internet, and all email messages into country regarding the project are being delete

By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet (EI)
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

Oil palm destroying rainforest ecosystems for cheap cooking oilEcological Rather than respond substantively to criticism over the Malaysian government and industry's expansion of deadly oil palm plantations into Brazil and Liberia's rainforests [1], the Malaysian government is resorting to despotic censorship to stifle dissent. References to plans by Malaysia‘s federal land agency to establish up to 100,000 hectares of oil palm plantations in the heart of Brazil's Amazon rainforest are being systematically removed from the government's Internet servers. And all emails referring to Malaysia's global rainforest for oil palm land grab flowing through Streamyx, the monopoly Internet service provider in Malaysia, are not being delivered.

"It is clear that Malaysian citizens do not enjoy freedom of information, which is tragic, because their government is leading the destruction of Earth's rainforests with their tax money," asserts Dr. Barry, Ecological Internet's President. "For decades Malaysian timber companies have behaved like timber Mafia across the Asia-Pacific, bribing and waging violence to rip out millions of year old rainforest ecosystems for timber. This once off raping of the land is now being followed by planting of oil palm, in what can only be described as south-south neo-colonialism. We demand that the Malaysian government respond to our criticism, cancel the projects, and commit to freedom of expression regarding their rainforest policies."

Sime Darby, a Malaysian palm oil producer planning to invest $800 million for 200,000 hectares (500,000 acres) of palm oil and rubber plantations in Liberia, described Malaysia expansionist foreign policy perfectly. "It is increasingly difficult to acquire arable plantation land in Asia and thus it is imperative that new frontiers be sought to meet increasing demand," said Ahmad Zubir Murshid, chief executive of Sime Darby. "Sime Darby will also have the first mover advantage over future entrants into Liberia in terms of securing choice land."

"This flood of land grabs by emerging nations, mostly of land under local customary land tenure, is eerily reminiscent of past and ongoing European and U.S. colonial practices," states Dr. Glen Barry, who is a practicing Political Ecologist and hold a Ph.D. in Land Resources. "We are witnessing the intensification of social turmoil caused by climate change, land and water scarcity, and over-population and inequitable consumption. Until these root causes of global ecosystem collapse are addressed, there is no chance of achieving equitable and just global ecological sustainability."

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Globally, oil palm development continues to clear some thirty square miles of carbon and biodiversity rich habitat a day to provide cheap cooking oil and transport biodiesel. Oil palm agrofuel is heralded as a climate change mitigation measure, yet the initial rainforest clearance leads to much more carbon release than its production and use avoids. Establishment of toxic, monoculture oil palm plantations in the Brazilian Amazon and Liberia's West African rainforests would be a global ecological tragedy for biodiversity and climate, and a crime against local peoples and humanity.

Large scale biofuel and intensification of industrial agriculture production in general runs counter to urgently addressing climate change and threatens to cause more deforestation, hunger, human rights abuses, and degradation of soil and water. Globally there are not enough old forests to maintain climatic and hydrological cycles, meet local forest dwellers' needs, and to maintain ecosystems and the biosphere in total. Global ecological sustainability and local well-being depend critically upon ending all industrial development in the world's remaining old forests -- including plantations, logging, mining and dams. Ecological Internet's global Earth Action Network will continue to campaign aggressively against all those carrying out and apologizing for such senseless and deadly rainforest destruction.

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[1] Action Alert: Malaysian Oil Palm Threatens Brazilian Amazon
Thus far 2,310 people from 68 countries have sent 75,570 protest emails

Ecological Internet provides the world's largest and most used climate and environment portals at http://www.climateark.org/ and http://www.ecoearth.info/ . Dr. Glen Barry is a leading global spokesperson on behalf of environmental sustainability policy. He frequently conducts interviews on the latest climate, forest and water policy developments and can be reached at: glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org


How about hitting Obama and Rudd with this issue.

There needs to be a Global Council managing the Earths natural resources, real quick.

We demand that the Malaysian government respond to our criticism, cancel the projects, and commit to freedom of expression regarding their rainforest policies.


Kim bailey