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Indonesian floods/Tsunami

pinnopinno Posts: 38,214
edited November 2018 in The cake stop
I'm in a bit if a moral quandary with this one.

I can't help feeling that the massive deforestation in the region has been a factor in how mobile the soil became.
Then there is the dwindling Orang-utan habitat; a fraction of what it was.
Plus, that a lot of the deforestation was/is to produce Palm oil for mainly 'bio' diesel. Hardly 'bio'.

So with all of the above in mind, there's television ads asking for charitable donations.
Do we blame the Indonesian government for the deforestation (if it was a factor) and say that the people are innocent of this tragedy or do we take the line that the people get the government they deserve?
Do we bail out a country that has shown scant regard for the environment?
Surely care and concern for the rainforest is a collective notion.

I have no idea what to think.
S - The Brazilian beach volleyball team
W - Wiggle Honda

"This year will be harder than last year. But that is good news; this year will be easier than next year."
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Posts

  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I don't see that they brought it upon themselves. They're human beings who need help. It doesn't matter how censored their government has been.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 16,894
    Do you refuse healthcare to someone who maybe should eat better and take more exercise? I'm not sure wondering who is to blame (for the tsunami?!) is the top priority right now. I'm also not sure whether the problems of deforestation make that much difference in the face of a 400mph tsunami.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    1980s BSA 10sp

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • craigus89craigus89 Posts: 861
    Bit of a weird one this post. Solely blaming the Indonesian government for the massive deforestation seems like a big jump when the demand for the products that requires it is coming from the western/developed world.

    Unless everyone who reads this actively avoids palm oil in all the products they purchase then they can't even begin to think about blaming the government of a developing nation. No nation has ever become developed by being 'green'.

    The tsunami is another matter entirely.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 7,321
    Pinno can be a bit sensitive sometimes, I agree in some ways that Palm oil production has made things worse, however since the whole thing was caused by seismic activity and not deforestation then I don't feel so guilty. But I do feel as a human being that we should help in some way. I would also like to think that if things where the other way around they would help us. I do however draw the line at supporting politically or religiously caused disasters.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • pinnopinno Posts: 38,214
    What you need is a bit of devil's advocacy and then people will start talking (or getting on the moral band wagon).
    I asked the question whether the deforestation had been a factor (i'e mud slides). There may be no evidence of that.

    It's not my opinion. However, it seems that given the massive spending in defence, the government have been slow to respond.
    S - The Brazilian beach volleyball team
    W - Wiggle Honda

    "This year will be harder than last year. But that is good news; this year will be easier than next year."
  • craigus89craigus89 Posts: 861
    Even if deforestation had been a factor you can't lay the blame solely with the Indonesian government for letting deforestation happen. The world doesn't work like that. Just because you (consumers, governments, whoever) fall into the latter part of 'supply and demand' doesn't mean you are inculpable.
  • pinnopinno Posts: 38,214
    craigus89 wrote:
    Even if deforestation had been a factor you can't lay the blame solely with the Indonesian government for letting deforestation happen.

    No?! It's just the way of the world is it?

    If there was a hint of Fracking in an area in the UK, there is resistance. If the government decided that 2/3rds of the New Forest was going to be felled, there would be uproar.
    S - The Brazilian beach volleyball team
    W - Wiggle Honda

    "This year will be harder than last year. But that is good news; this year will be easier than next year."
  • There was an article on the benefits of palm oil and how it seriously helps the poor improve their lot as the one of the main contributors to GDP in SEA.

    The same thing you describe above is occurring in South America to clear land for cattle farming or general agriculture, particularly Soy and crops to go into anaerobic digesters.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,959
    pinno wrote:
    craigus89 wrote:
    Even if deforestation had been a factor you can't lay the blame solely with the Indonesian government for letting deforestation happen.

    No?! It's just the way of the world is it?

    If there was a hint of ******* in an area in the UK, there is resistance. If the government decided that 2/3rds of the New Forest was going to be felled, there would be uproar.

    We've already felled over 90% of our forest. New Forest is a tiny fragment of managed, somewhat naturally unsustainable forest. Lucky for us we don't live anywhere susceptible to tsunamis.

    Do you try to avoid Palm oil based products? Cheap biscuits etc go hand in hand with taking some responsibility for that deforestation.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • pinnopinno Posts: 38,214
    The same thing you describe above is occurring in South America to clear land for cattle farming or general agriculture, particularly Soy and crops to go into anaerobic digesters.

    Soya to feed cattle to supply the ever growing red meat market, particularly in North America. That is a huge driver.
    After 2 crops of Soya, the land is fallow, so chop some more forest down.
    Great.

    It is nigh on impossible to avoid the consumption of certain vegetable oils particularly hydrogenated vegetable oils. Though we cook all meals from scratch (this helps) and we do not buy margarine, ready made pies, ready meals etc. That still leaves soaps, paper, packaging, toothpaste, chocolate...
    Without political will, this is going to continue.
    S - The Brazilian beach volleyball team
    W - Wiggle Honda

    "This year will be harder than last year. But that is good news; this year will be easier than next year."
  • craigus89craigus89 Posts: 861
    pinno wrote:
    craigus89 wrote:
    Even if deforestation had been a factor you can't lay the blame solely with the Indonesian government for letting deforestation happen.

    No?! It's just the way of the world is it?

    If there was a hint of ******* in an area in the UK, there is resistance. If the government decided that 2/3rds of the New Forest was going to be felled, there would be uproar.

    I see that you conveniently cut out the important part of my post that actually answers your question, so here it is again:
    craigus89 wrote:
    The world doesn't work like that. Just because you (consumers, governments, whoever) fall into the latter part of 'supply and demand' doesn't mean you are inculpable.

    You can't blame a developing nation for trying to develop as Shirley says...
    There was an article on the benefits of palm oil and how it seriously helps the poor improve their lot as the one of the main contributors to GDP in SEA.

    You can't just go around making purchases without a care in the world, then find out you that in doing so you are indirectly negatively affecting something and suddenly be outraged by it.

    And to assert that they are partly at fault for the tsunami because of their own actions is quite frankly laughable.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 16,894
    Rolf F wrote:
    pinno wrote:
    craigus89 wrote:
    Even if deforestation had been a factor you can't lay the blame solely with the Indonesian government for letting deforestation happen.

    No?! It's just the way of the world is it?

    If there was a hint of ******* in an area in the UK, there is resistance. If the government decided that 2/3rds of the New Forest was going to be felled, there would be uproar.

    We've already felled over 90% of our forest. New Forest is a tiny fragment of managed, somewhat naturally unsustainable forest. Lucky for us we don't live anywhere susceptible to tsunamis.

    Do you try to avoid Palm oil based products? Cheap biscuits etc go hand in hand with taking some responsibility for that deforestation.

    Britain lost most of its forest in the Bronze Age. The New Forest was originally a managed game reserve and only later became what we would think of as a forest.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    1980s BSA 10sp

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • chris_basschris_bass Posts: 4,913
    I was listening to something on the radio today and they were talking about child labour, and it is kind of similar to this (in a weird way!)

    their argument was, child labour in those conditions is terrible, but going in and just closing all the factories down would just mean those kids would be on the streets begging whereas before they had a bit of money and food. you can't just stop one thing without an alternative.

    It is similar with palm oil, stop it's production would stop/slow the deforestation but then what would the people who live there do for money? how would they support their families?

    I don't know the solution but blaming them for making the best of what they have (admittedly without much regard for the consequences) seems pretty harsh without suggesting what they could have done instead?
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • Internet of Things, obviously. It’s the future.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 19,583
    Have there been significant mudslides? Movement of soil due to liquefaction resulting from seismic activity is a very different thing...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • pinnopinno Posts: 38,214
    Rolf F wrote:
    pinno wrote:
    craigus89 wrote:
    Even if deforestation had been a factor you can't lay the blame solely with the Indonesian government for letting deforestation happen.

    No?! It's just the way of the world is it?

    If there was a hint of ******* in an area in the UK, there is resistance. If the government decided that 2/3rds of the New Forest was going to be felled, there would be uproar.

    We've already felled over 90% of our forest. New Forest is a tiny fragment of managed, somewhat naturally unsustainable forest.

    That was historic - i'e way before we became aware of the environmental impact.

    [Greenpeace]

    "Indonesia’s forests are a treasure chest of incredible wildlife. The country is home to between 10 and 15 percent of the world’s known plants, mammals, and birds. But in the last half century, more than 74 million hectares of Indonesian rainforest—an area twice the size of Germany—have been logged, burned, or degraded.

    Indonesia has already lost 72 percent of its intact forests. This is threatening the habitat of species like Sumatran tigers and orangutans, as well as harming the millions of people who depend on Indonesia’s forests for their food, shelter and livelihoods.

    It’s also bad news for global warming. Peatlands—including those that form the wetland-like floor of Indonesia’s rainforests—are one of the world’s largest carbon sinks. Indonesia’s peatlands store about 35 billion tons of carbon.

    When these peatlands are drained, burned and replace by plantations, it releases thousands of tons of carbon dioxide and sets the stage for devastating forest fires."

    So who is the Palm oil production really helping?
    S - The Brazilian beach volleyball team
    W - Wiggle Honda

    "This year will be harder than last year. But that is good news; this year will be easier than next year."
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 16,894
    I don't think anyone is suggesting palm oil farming is great. Doing things that are not in our best interests - even when we all know that - is pretty well a defining characteristic of humanity. Ruining our environment is nothing new either - look at Easter Island or Dartmoor - so unfortunately yes, it is the way of the world. That's not to say we shouldn't try to change that.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    1980s BSA 10sp

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • pinnopinno Posts: 38,214
    We will, we are (and future generations) will pay for our environmental destruction.
    This is the bit that I cannot reconcile. We are actively (or by inaction), undermining the very fabric which we rely on to survive.
    Saying things along the lines of "...it's just the way of the world..." is actually naive, apathetic and ultimately, suicidal.
    S - The Brazilian beach volleyball team
    W - Wiggle Honda

    "This year will be harder than last year. But that is good news; this year will be easier than next year."
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 16,894
    It's not apathetic and it's certainly not naive. History is full of examples of humanity over-exploiting an environment to its own detriment. It's only by understanding that tendency that we can work to overcome it, perhaps by finding ways to point our baser instincts in more productive directions. Hoping for mankind to suddenly have some kind of epiphany after tens of thousands of years of acting like this seems far more misguided to me.

    There's a very good documentary by Chris Packham which covers this subject.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09qjlfs

    It's about him trying to track down a girl from a tribe of hunter gatherers, who he briefly met in the Sumatran rainforest 20 years ago. At the start of the film he has quite a black and white view about the rights and wrongs of the transformation that Sumatra has undergone, and this evolves over the time he spends in Sumatra. It's well worth a watch.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    1980s BSA 10sp

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 11,057
    pinno wrote:
    We will, we are (and future generations) will pay for our environmental destruction.
    This is the bit that I cannot reconcile. We are actively (or by inaction), undermining the very fabric which we rely on to survive.
    Saying things along the lines of "...it's just the way of the world..." is actually naive, apathetic and ultimately, suicidal.
    I've said it many times over the years. This planet will be much better once human beings are extinct. Though not good news on a personal front...
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • pinnopinno Posts: 38,214
    No you get me wrong (RJSTerry).
    Apathy is the view that '... it's the way it is and it's down to evolution, finance, progress or the way of the world..." or whatever and there's nothing we can do about it.
    I'm not expecting an epiphany, i'm hoping that consensus reaches critical mass and political will can be altered but i'm not optimistic.

    Yup, PB, I know you've said that before and I totally agree.
    S - The Brazilian beach volleyball team
    W - Wiggle Honda

    "This year will be harder than last year. But that is good news; this year will be easier than next year."
  • robert88robert88 Posts: 2,706
    Britain is the home of the industrial revolution. An island of fish surrounded by coal, what could possibly go wrong?

    Surprisingly this may be due to the reformation when we broke loose from the influence of the Church of Rome. An early Brexit.

    If we'd stuck to farming we'd be more in tune with the planet.
  • robert88 wrote:
    Britain is the home of the industrial revolution. An island of fish surrounded by coal, what could possibly go wrong?

    Surprisingly this may be due to the reformation when we broke loose from the influence of the Church of Rome. An early Brexit.

    If we'd stuck to farming we'd be more in tune with the planet.

    And Indonesia may well suggest that if we care about trees so much we return our country to it’s preindustrial revolution levels of forest action.
  • pinnopinno Posts: 38,214
    robert88 wrote:
    Britain is the home of the industrial revolution. An island of fish surrounded by coal, what could possibly go wrong?

    Surprisingly this may be due to the reformation when we broke loose from the influence of the Church of Rome. An early Brexit.

    If we'd stuck to farming we'd be more in tune with the planet.

    And Indonesia may well suggest that if we care about trees so much we return our country to it’s preindustrial revolution levels of forest action.

    Relativism again!

    We now know much more about how critical forest and particularly rain forest preservation is to the planet, to global warming, to carbon absorption.
    Deforestation in Indonesia may be beneficial in terms of generating money but it has simply displaced who the money goes to at the expense of all those who once relied on the forest for their existence and living. It's also at the expense of the forest and the species within it.
    The argument that we had an industrial revolution and in the process diminished our forests, therefore Indonesia have a right to do the same, is flawed.
    Firstly, huge deforestation occurred way before the industrial revolution. It took 250 Oak trees to build the HMS Victory for example (1620).
    Secondly, it is moral/environmental relativism.
    It's in the same politically correct vein of thrashing ourselves for having had an empire and feeling guilty about the sins of our past.

    What was acceptable then is not acceptable now.

    I would suggest (without categorical knowledge and evidence of Indonesia), that the production of Palm oil is in the hands of big business. It's exploitative. Local communities and indigenous peoples who once existed in harmony with their natural environment have been disconnected in the name of progress and commerce.

    We are also the architects of environmental destruction in terms of global capitalism and the huge, obscenely unbalanced distribution of wealth.
    It requires the cooperation of the countries involved and it also requires us in the West to curb consumption. So If we sit here in apathetic resignation of the fact, then you are in denial of our role in the exploitation and destruction of the environment.
    S - The Brazilian beach volleyball team
    W - Wiggle Honda

    "This year will be harder than last year. But that is good news; this year will be easier than next year."
  • pinno wrote:
    We now know much more about how critical forest and particularly rain forest preservation is to the planet, to global warming, to carbon absorption.
    Deforestation in Indonesia may be beneficial in terms of generating money but it has simply displaced who the money goes to at the expense of all those who once relied on the forest for their existence and living. It's also at the expense of the forest and the species within it.
    The argument that we had an industrial revolution and in the process diminished our forests, therefore Indonesia have a right to do the same, is flawed.
    Firstly, huge deforestation occurred way before the industrial revolution. It took 250 Oak trees to build the HMS Victory for example (1620).
    Secondly, it is moral/environmental relativism.
    It's in the same politically correct vein of thrashing ourselves for having had an empire and feeling guilty about the sins of our past.

    What was acceptable then is not acceptable now.

    I would suggest (without categorical knowledge and evidence of Indonesia), that the production of Palm oil is in the hands of big business. It's exploitative. Local communities and indigenous peoples who once existed in harmony with their natural environment have been disconnected in the name of progress and commerce.

    We are also the architects of environmental destruction in terms of global capitalism and the huge, obscenely unbalanced distribution of wealth.
    It requires the cooperation of the countries involved and it also requires us in the West to curb consumption. So If we sit here in apathetic resignation of the fact, then you are in denial of our role in the exploitation and destruction of the environment.

    Brilliant post Pinno and exactly my thinking (you just put it across better than I could).

    FYI - the wife and I and many of our friends actively stopped using palm oil products many years ago. It's been tough, because producers hide it under various names, but once you know their tricks it's not that hard. It also means you can reduce the amount of processed [email protected] that you eat.

    What's happening to the Indonesian rainforest is a total tragedy. It's just staggering.
  • robert88robert88 Posts: 2,706
    We now know much more about how critical forest and particularly rain forest preservation is to the planet, to global warming, to carbon absorption.

    When you say 'now', when was before 'now'?

    Cycling in some mountains a year ago, I noticed a lot of terracing had been done but it appeared very ancient and overgrown. A bit of research showed it had been a state-organised operation, not as I'd thought for agriculture but because the dangers of deforestation and benefits of the trees had be recognised. Over 150 years ago.
  • My point is that you can not stop them from developing their economies without in some way compensating them.

    Or we could replant forests in our country acre for acre for what they cut down.
  • Or we could replant forests in our country acre for acre for what they cut down.

    That's really going to help the ecosystem.
  • robert88robert88 Posts: 2,706
    edited October 2018
    Or we could replant forests in our country acre for acre for what they cut down.

    That's really going to help the ecosystem.

    Could be tricky that one:
    Indonesia, 1.905 million km²
    UK, 242,495 km²

    ALthough a great deal of the English woodland was consumed for shipbuilding and iron smelting (and sheep farming in Scotland) in the 18th and 19th centuries so we have done at least our fair share of de-forestation.

    The UK has 3.138m hectares c.13% forestation; by way of contrast, Germany has forests of 11.4m hectares or about a third of the country and France has 16.9m hectares c. 30%.


    ps

    When I look at the globe using google I notice the UK no longer exists, only Ireland appears.

    https://www.google.fr/maps/@39.8290351,-0.8049243,2.62z
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 16,894
    robert88 wrote:
    Britain is the home of the industrial revolution. An island of fish surrounded by coal, what could possibly go wrong?

    Surprisingly this may be due to the reformation when we broke loose from the influence of the Church of Rome. An early Brexit.

    If we'd stuck to farming we'd be more in tune with the planet.

    And Indonesia may well suggest that if we care about trees so much we return our country to it’s preindustrial revolution levels of forest action.

    Historical point of order: Britain was not deforested by the industrial revolution or even 18th century shipbuilding (although that did use up a lot of what was left). It's been mostly farmland with pockets of woodland since the Bronze Age. It's reckoned that at the time of the Roman invasion, forest covered about 25% of Great Britain. By the 1086, this was down to 15% and by 1905 a low point of 5.2%. By the 18th century we were already having to import significant quantities of timber from America and the Baltic. Woodland coverage is now back up to 13%. As R88 points out mainland Europe has also significantly re-forested since the 19th century.

    Just to knock the tsunami connection on the head, 96% of Indonesia's palm oil production is on Borneo and Sumatra, not Sulawesi.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    1980s BSA 10sp

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
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