Tag Archives: Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate

Monkeying Around

I am so thrilled to have made the acquaintance via the computer with some  new and exotic creatures this week.  I’m sure you’ll love them too.

Yoda Bat from PNG

The first one is the Yoda Bat from PNG. A recent expedition of scientists to the jungles of PNG unearthed quite a few unusual creatures. Considering that Indonesia intends to raze millions of hectares of PNG jungle to grow palm oil and soy plantations as part of its Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate project it is wonderful that scientists are drawing attention to these rare species which will be destroyed if the jungle is burnt down.  Here is a picture of the charming creature. Hopefully it won’t meet the same fate as the monkey below.

If you’d like to see more of the creatures that were discovered in the PNG jungle recently go to http://www.conservation.org/fmg/pages/galleryplayer.aspx?galleryitemid=97

and

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/8100118/scientists-find-200-new-species-in-png

And a friend has just alerted me to the blue faced snub nosed monkey of china which is unfortunately on the endangered list due to loss of habitat. They live in the mountains of south central China. They look like Yeti, don’t you think? So we have Yoda and Yeti this week!

blue faced snub nosed monkey of china

And how about this one –

Tonkin Snub Nosed Monkey

The Tonkin Snub-Nosed monkey is one of the most endangered primate species in the world. They are a species of monkey that are native to Vietnam, and they have in the past 50 years lost about 90% of their lowland rainforest habitat, which means that their population has been reduced to about only 200 individuals. It is one of the smallest monkeys and it is thought that the numbers are dwindling so rapidly because often conservation efforts go towards the more well-known primate species, such as orang-utans. One of the greatest characteristics of the snub-nosed monkeys is that they really love to sing. The males and females of the species sing in pairs, in harmonies, to mark out their territories in the mating season.

If you’d like to see more unusual monkeys go to http://www.picsearch.com/pictures/animals/mammals%20sorted%20by%20order/primates/old%20world%20monkeys%202/snub-nosed%20monkey.html

And how about these baby Tenrecs –

Baby Tenrecs

In late June, the WCS Bronx Zoo welcomed two baby Lesser Hedgehog Tenrecs, which are natives of Madagascar. While they might look like hedgehogs, and even have hedgehog in their name, they are actually a totally different family of mammals. Tenrec species come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, with some looking like hedgehogs, some like mice, and some even like otters! See http://www.zooborns.com/zooborns/2010/08/a-handful-of-baby-tenrecs.html

And scientists have also found some new sea creatures recently.  http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/10/04/science/20101005-marinecensus.html Have a squizz to see the unusual sea creatures that have been recorded in the marine census.

AT LAST A COMPANY WITH ETHICS

This week I was overjoyed to read about a business with morals – one that places their ethics above money.

How refeshing! Basically the story is that Dreamworld refused to accept a booking from a gun company (Nioa) to host their Christmas party on Tiger Island which is owned by Dreamworld. Dreamworld was not impressed by the company’s website which proudly features photos of exotic animals being shot.  Of course Nioa is most indignant as all shooters would be! How dare Dreamworld stop them having their Christmas party surrounded by a few tigers that got away!

Luckily Dreamworld is standing firm and they have my vote of support. I will always have difficulty understanding how anyone can find it good fun to shoot a beautiful (or for that matter, ugly) creature just for fun. Amazing!

http://www.news.com.au/business/business-smarts/no-tiger-island-party-for-gun-company/comments-e6frfm9r-1225934977128

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I’m not inviting you to my Planet!

If mankind disappeared today

What would all the animals say?

Birds, koalas and even bees,

Would sing with joy – they’d now have trees!

Tigers, elephants, all kinds of bear,

Could now roam free- without a care.

Their rivers would run unpolluted

Man and Earth are so unsuited! 

If you inherited a perfectly good planet with lovely oceans and jungles and fascinating animals, birds and fish, would you invite man onto it?

If you did you’d be crazy.

Picture the movie ‘Avatar’ and you’d see what I mean. Of course that’s only a movie, but why does it ring so true?

That’s because deep in our hearts we know that man can’t be trusted. Of course we’re all complicit, but somehow individually we all feel powerless.

As governments do extraordinary things that are not in their own country’s interests and as multi national corporations trash the planet with their slovenly work practices, we can only sit back and ‘cop it sweet’ as they say in Australia.

Only a couple of weeks ago we heard that Australia, which has ample home grown apples and pears, is opening the floodgates to Chinese grown apples and pears and all their attendant diseases. Yippee.

On a global scale we watch as oil spews into the oceans right across the globe.

The BP disaster in Mississippi is just one of many, many disasters. Oil spills are an every day part of life in the Niger Delta in Nigeria where oil pipelines have destroyed the livelihoods of  Nigerian farmers by poisoning the air, soil and water. Here oil pours out of oil wells continually, rendering swamps lifeless. Just recently a burst pipe belonging to Shell spewed out oil for two months, killing all the life in the local mangroves. It was only stopped a couple of weeks ago. The Gio Creek is still black from an oil spill in April.

Everywhere fish are dead and prawns and crab, once abundant, are now non existent.

I dread the day when there is either an explosion or oil leak in the British oil wells in the waters off the Falkland Islands or a ship crashes in Antarctic waters and drops its oil into the ocean. One day I fear we’ll be seeing photos on the front page of our papers of Emperor penguins, seals and whales coated in oil.

On land the mass extinction of plant and animal species proceeds at up to 1000 times the natural rate. As every country chops down their jungles, forests and spare trees as fast as they can, thus effectively destroying the habitats of every wild animal on earth, I don’t think many of us have much hope that anything except cats, dogs, caged budgerigars and farm animals will be alive by the end of the century.

Indonesia is now preparing to clear 1.6 million hectares of land in the Merauke district of south-east Papua for development, but this could expand to 2.5million hectares.

 The rainforests, which include swamp forests that are ecologically fragile, contain stores of peat that absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The land has been earmarked for agricultural projects including palm oil plantations, soy bean plantations, sugar cane, corn and rice farms. Already, throughout South-East Asia, palm oil plantations have been responsible for destroying millions of hectares of jungle. Throughout the world, soy bean plantations have been responsible for the destruction of huge tracts of the Amazon jungle and Argentinian forests. Environmentalists claim that up to 2 million hectares of jungle in Merauke are under threat.

There is no guarantee that the project will be successful even if the jungles are razed. A similar Indonesian project – the Kalimantan mega rice project that caused the devastation of peatland forests in Kalimantan – did not produce a single bushel of rice.

As the earth watches the small amount of its remaining jungles and forests being slashed and burnt to the ground, one wonders what price will be paid in years to come.

In the Zamfara state of Nigeria, in a village close to a gold mine, numerous children have recently died from lead poisoning. The ore that the gold is found in has a very high percentage of lead which has contaminated the soil in the village, and inside the households.

Across the globe mines have destroyed the landscape in all countries.

Our own Blue Mountains in New South Wales have collapsed in different spots due to coal mining beneath them.

New Guineans have long rued the day that gold miners entered their territory, poisoning their waterways and destroying their land.

One of my acupuncture patients, a Philippino, sadly recalled the beautiful natural scenery and waterfalls of his childhood which have now been destoyed by mining. For that matter, I believe that nearly 95% of original jungle has been chopped down in the Philippines since the end of World War Two.

I would like to think that earth’s glass is half full rather than half empty (make that three quarters empty). Unfortunately it does seem that while we’re all cruising along in a state of materialistic bliss, our planet is being trashed.

Let’s put it this way – I won’t be inviting mankind to MY planet!

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A Step Closer to the End

Do we have enough palm oil plantations?  Has enough jungle been burnt to the ground? Have enough animals been burnt to death?

No, no, no.

Indonesia, having apparently burnt down the majority of its own  jungle, is now looking further afield for jungle to destroy. Luckily, it has found a whole heap of uncultivated land and jungle in the province of Papua.

Last month the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate targeted 1.6 million hectares of land in the Merauke district of south-east Papua for development, but this could expand to 2.5million hectares.

The land has been earmarked for agricultural projects including palm oil plantations, soy bean plantations, sugar cane, corn and rice farms. Already, throughout South-East Asia, palm oil plantations have been responsible for destroying millions of hectares of jungle. Throughout the world, soy bean plantations have been responsible for the destruction of huge tracts of the Amazon jungle and Argentinian forests. Environmentalists claim that up to 2 million hectares of jungle in Merauke are under threat.

Furthermore, the project will increase the Merauke population from 175,000 to 800,000 people and there are fears that the indigenous Melanesian population, who have already been reduced by 30% since Papua was annexed by Jakarta in 1969, will be further displaced as Indonesians from Java, and other parts of Indonesia, pour into the area.

There is no guarantee that the project will be successful even if the jungles are razed. A similar Indonesian project – the Kalimantan mega rice project that caused the devastation of peatland forests in Kalimantan – did not produce a single bushel of rice.

As the earth watches the small amount of its remaining jungles and forests being slashed and burnt to the ground, one wonders what price will be paid in years to come. The rainforests, which include swamp forests that are ecologically fragile, contain stores of peat that absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Bear in mind that although we are located not that much further from the sun than Venus, the temperature on Venus is 477 degrees C. The reason for this super hot temperature  is that Venus has a massive greenhouse effect. The super-abundance of CO2 in Venus’s atmosphere (96% of the atmosphere is composed of carbon dioxide) has resulted in this effect, which occurs when carbon dioxide is released (most probably from the rocks) and not re-absorbed.

Venus once had water, just like earth. In fact, astrological  research shows that Venus once had continents and oceans. It is likely that billions of years ago Venus was habitable.

The surface of Venus

Did Venus have a civilization that acted with the same lack of foresight as we have on earth?  Venus is made from the same material as earth and had approximately the same initial temperature 4.5 billion years ago. But something went wrong to cause the current unlivable situation.

Are we on the same crash course for destruction as Venus?  Only time will tell. However, who wants to find out?

To read more about this project, go to http://wildsingaporenews.blogspot.com/2010/04/jakartas-plan-for-farm-in-jungle.html

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