About Oceans2Earth

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Oceans2Earth strives to assist with local solutions to global problems. O2E was founded in Melbourne, Australia in 2010 for the purpose of providing resources and financial assistance to animal welfare and conservation projects including elephant sanctuary land in Kenya, cat and dog rescue in Africa and community recycled product projects in Asia and Africa. The O2E Foundation aims to facilitate people’s awareness of the impacts of animal tourism, trade and human intervention on the welfare, sustainability and general health of wildlife populations.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Indonesia's Shame

Shame Shame Shame Indonesia!

The rainforest is being felled for Palm Oil and other crops at an overwhelming rate with the remaining forest being degraded by drought and forest fires. Extinction of orangutans in the wild is likely in the next 10 years for Sumatran Orangutans and soon after for Bornean Orangutans.

Orangtuans are 97% genetically identical to humans. Orangutans are highly intelligent animals. Their intelligence is comparable to that of a five or six year old child. The blatant hunting and torture of these animals is absolutely abhorrent. Companies incentivise plantation owners and workers for productivity. Removing the "nusiance" orangutans is an ongoing and unobstructed activity. Government and corporate corruption know no bounds when the almighty dollar is at stake.

And what drives these shameful actions? Us.

We eat food and use products every day made from palm oil and its derivitives. The majority are unknowing - trusting that the world's corporations are "doing the right thing" by us. Some folks even subscribe to the "survival of the fittest" mentality. It's better us than them. I can't even continue with this thought; it gets me so frustrated and annoyed at the short-sightedness in the world.

Protecting the orangutan also protects the surrounding ecosystem and myriad of endangered and exotic species. Saving the orangutan saves the forest.

So sadly, the fight to save the orangutans goes on.

On 15th April 2012 we posted this video by Carlos Quiles. Saving Leuser, Tripa.

Recently, Australian Orangtuan Project Victorian State Representative Amber Partington visited Tripa. Here we share her story and her plea. Yes it's an Australian perspective but the message is global.

"On June 6th, I recently visited Sumatra, in particular an area called Tripa Peat Swamp Forest. Words cannot describe the devastion of what Jess and I witnessed.

Tripa Peat Swamp Forest

Three weeks prior, forest stood right where I am standing in this photo. Canals have gone in draining swamp, killing trees. Large hardwood trees, logged and sold. Rest of forest burnt. Palm Oil plantations planted where forest once stood. Local people kicked off land, threatened with their lives if they talk. All protected land under Indonesian law. MAJOR corruption = MAJOR problem.

As Australia (and other parts of the world) does NOT import Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO), [this has a direct effect], forest is destroyed, local people displaced and many animal lives lost. [Goodman Fielder is one of Australia's largest companies and the largest importer of Palm Oil. Their products including Meadow Lea margarine includes Palm Oil.]

Therefore we are asking Goodman Fielder to make a public commitment to use Certified Sustainable Palm Oil in their products by 2015.

It would mean the world to me if you could add your name to this important issue. Every name that is added builds momentum around the campaign. And hopefully, more likely for us to get the change we want to see. (Blog note: Hey! It worked for KFC changing to canola oil - we can do it!)


After you've signed the petition please also take a moment to share it with others."

Amber Partington
Victorian State Representative
orangutan.org.au| facebook.com/australianorangutanproject | twitter.com/ausorangutan

For you to appreciate these amazing great apes even more, here's a couple of videos.

1 - Shawn Thompson is a writer passionate about orangutans. His book The imtimate Ape is a must read. In preparation for his second book, Shawn heads back to the orangs. There's some funny bits in this and whilst it is a bit warm and fuzzy, it's a tear jerker for me!

2  - Ami (Borneo tour guide) and Jana join forces for this cute song celebrating not only orangs but the primates of Borneo. Stunning video footage shows those fun loving macques dive bombing into the river and gibbons leaping great distances, and a gorgeous orangutan stealing pen and paper and using them!

This video clearly demonstrates how much humans are encroaching upon wildlife habitat and how encounters are more and more common. The chorus repeats a bit but by the end of the 4 minutes I was singing along.

These videos and more can be found on our youtube channel right here

If these tasters haven't got you sold on these amazing creatures, perhaps a ONCE IN A LIFETIME TRIP will do it.



5th - 14th November 2012

See orangutans up close and personal the way they should be seen - in the jungles of Sumatra, and make a personal difference by directly contributing to the organisations helping to save the red ape from extinction.

Under the auspices of eco tourism group, Orangutan Odysseys, raising funds for the Australiam Orangutan Project, who in turn support the local NGO, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, you will be guided through jungles, on an exclusive expedition led by two men who know orangutans and this location like few others in the whole wide world; Leif Cocks, one of Australia's foremost authorities on orangutans and the other guide, the most respected orangutan rescuer in Indonesia.

You will have to fight me for a space I think!

Please contact the Australian Orangutan Project directly:
Amber Partington
Victorian State Representative



The impact of the Palm Oil industry in Indonesia spills over. Read Celine's article posted June 17th 2012.

Southeast Asian Haze: Who’s To Blame?

By Celine Fernandez  WALL STREET JOURNAL

Just when it seemed safe to take a deep breath in Southeast Asia, the smoky haze that envelops the region each year is wafting up from Indonesian forests again.

Increasingly, though, experts aren’t just blaming Indonesians, who in the past have been accused of recklessly burning forest land on the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan to make way for palm oil plantations – a practice that produces the smoke that then drifts northward over Singapore and Malaysia. Indonesian authorities have typically said they are doing their best to police the problem, which is hard to do given the country’s vast size and limited enforcement resources.

The question is whether other actors are fanning the flames, says Anthony Tan, executive director of the Centre for Environment, Technology & Development, Malaysia (CETDEM).

 “The haze comes from Sumatra and Kalimanthan. Which companies own the estates? Malaysian and Singaporean as well as local plantation owners,” he said. As a result, “Malaysian and Singaporean companies in Indonesia also have to bear the responsibility of open burning, of slashing and burning, that is happening within their estate territories.”

Moreover, he added, “it is the respective governments’ responsibility to take them to task. Just because they operate in a foreign country, they can’t wash their hands and say it does not affect us” when it actually does.

The issue is flaring up again because the smoke, which tends to appear at least once a year, is intensifying again.

According to Malaysia’s Department of Environment, satellite images show the number of “hotspots” producing smoke in Sumatra increased to 122 on June 13 from 67 the day before. The image also showed haze drifting from Riau in central Sumatra en route towards the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. Satellite images released by the Asean Specialized Meteorological Centre on June 18 June showed hotspots in Sumatra had risen further to 310 from 163 the previous day.

The sun rises through a thick haze over the skyline of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on June 17.

Malaysia’s DOE also said that on the morning of June 15th, air quality readings in three areas reached an unhealthy level of 131. Air quality readings improved by Monday, June 18.

In Malaysia, at least, authorities agree that it’s not entirely Indonesia’s fault, and they say they are doing what they can to help alleviate the situation, including reducing burning within Malaysia’s own borders. The DOE has imposed a temporary ban on open burning in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor except for religious purposes and barbecues with a fine up to RM500,000 or imprisonment of up to five years or both.

Still, “from the trend of hotspots monitored through satellite imagery, it has always and clearly shown that most of the hotspots originated from Indonesia and (then) the smoke plumes trespass the neighboring countries,” a DOE official said in a written response.

That doesn’t necessarily address the issue of Malaysian companies operating in Indonesia, though. According to Indonesia’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur, as much as 25% of the palm oil plantations in the archipelago nation are owned by Malaysian companies. This is largely because scarcity of land in Malaysia has forced big plantation companies there to expand abroad.

Many of Malaysia’s biggest palm oil companies, including Sime Darby Bhd., IOI Corp. Bhd. and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd., are members of the Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which is dedicated to making palm oil production more environmentally-friendly, and which has a zero burning policy. Its members must be certified by RSPO as responsible producers. Moreover, many analysts say they doubt many of the biggest companies would want to engage in burning because it could be too detrimental to their reputations.

But last year, the London based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and its Indonesian partner Telapak said they had documentary proof that KLK subsidiary PT Menteng Jaya Sawit Perdana was burning land. KLK denied the accusations. In a statement, plantation director Roy Lim said “KLK has long abandoned using fire to clear land for new planting or replanting. Our policy and practice is zero burning for such activities.”

Whatever the case, Indonesian officials say it’s hard to police an industry that covers so much terrain and they suspect some other producers might be burning land, or buying land from farmers who burn the trees themselves.

“Of course we don’t know who does it,” said Suryana Sastradiredja, an Information, Social and Cultural Affairs Minister-Counselor at the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur. But it’s hardly surprising some land owners would want to set fires, he says. After all, “burning is the traditional method – the cheapest way to open new land.”

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